Nasrallah: I screwed up

28 Aug, '06

Shaikh Hassan NasrallahOne facet of a leader in any stream of life is the capability of foretelling what an action or inaction could produce to a reasonable degree of certainty. Another is the capability of weighing risks to rewards.

Nasrallah, by his own admission last night on the Lebanese NewTV, and as I have written before, has suffered a huge lapse of judgement at best; at worst, he has declared his incapacity to continue to run a militia organization or even culpability in killing over one thousand human beings, and causing various injuries to thousands more, the destitution of over a million, and the destruction of a country already limping into what would have been a rosy future.

To me listening to him stating categorically that he “would not have done it” if he thought kidnapping a couple of soldiers would have resulted in such an overwhelming response by the Israelis left me in shock and bewilderment…

“We did not think that there was a 1% chance that the kidnapping would lead to a war of this scale and magnitude,” Sheikh Nasrallah said.

“Now you ask me if this was 11 July and there was a 1% chance that the kidnapping would lead to a war like the one that has taken place, would you go ahead with the kidnapping?

“I would say no, definitely not, for humanitarian, moral, social, security, military and political reasons.”
BBC News

Is this person worth being called a leader? One that cannot even envisage the possible scale of retaliation of a strong enemy in response to an act of war by kidnapping combatants? That means that one more of Nasrallah’s failing is the complete collapse of his intelligence apparatus, or at least wrongly listening to unworthy advisers.

All in all, he would have been served much better should he have kept his mouth shut. At least then, the Arabs and Muslims will have continued to sanctify him and continue to believe that he is the defender of the faith and the champion of the Arabs and Palestinians, the upholder of the Arab dignity and all the other nomenclatures he has been given.

The truth of the matter is he screwed up, but in doing so also demonstrated that his militia could stand up to the Israeli onslaught; and with his charisma and the already boiling passions in the Arab world against Israel, he has created a political victory none of his Arab compatriots have ever done before.

Even with that political victory, and in light of this interview, I contend that he should step aside and concentrate on his religious research and fatwas and let the government to decide how best to defend its country’s territories.

A personal cult does not a country make, and most certainly winning a battle does not a war victor make.

Or does he truly believe that Israel will not attack again when threatened?

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Comments (124)

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  1. The Joker says:

    Faux Pas.

    Although I disagree with him, A leader never shows weakness. How is he going to explain his next expidition?

    “Maybe, perhaps, after all these people die.. there’s a 50 – 50 chance we might walk away with it?”

  2. Sorry Mahmood,
    I don’t Agree with you that Nusrulla is not a leader.

    what he say about the 1% precentage of starting a war because arrest two soldiers is build on statistics and what hizbulla do before.

    as you know when they kill three soldiers and arrest one. help them to free more than 1000. and the way the isreal was when the mission done not really help them to start a war.

    and you know when condy say what she say about the new middle east. and that isreal fight for bulding the new middle east. so all of us know that America help Isreal to start this war.

    As a good leader you have to say the true always. and that’s what Nusrulla always do.

  3. Grace says:

    Mahmood, I applaud you for voicing your opinion on this. I wonder what those that have walked the demonstration lines, hailed his name on their blogs, held the yellow flag and sworn by him, will say.
    Now that he has openly retracted his decision, what is to happen to those that thought their kin had died as martyrs but to find that they died for a mistake. A mistake made by someone who thought he had the right and the ability to fight for the nation in a moment of haste.
    He should change his name from Nasrallah, to Al-muntasar alaih.
    Tut Tut,

  4. Lorena says:

    OMG …Wondering why he say so ?

  5. Lujayn says:

    Grace, the people that died in Lebanon didnt die because of Nasrallah. They died because Israel bombed them indiscriminately. That keeps getting lost in the blame game. Whatever Nasrallah’s mistakes, that does not exonerate Israel for the actual killings. If Nasrallah had another lapse in judgement, does that give Israel the right to kill civilians by the thousands?

  6. Hisham says:

    I haven’t seen the interview, but it seems from the BBC article that some of us here are reading Nasrallah’s comments while grossly entertaining our own biases.

    True, he did say that if on 11 July they knew that there was a 1% chance of all out war they would not have kidnapped those two soldiers.

    The thing is, was Israel justified in going for full out savagery to rescue their soldiers? In a sense, some people who are burning Nasrallah at the stake are saying Israel was justified.

    Then how come Hizballah is not justified in seeking the release of the hundreds of kidnapped and otherwise prisoners in Israeil jails?

    Again, the question begs, are we Arabs to feel any lesser in worth than others? Two Israeli soldiers kidnapped justifies Israel’s aggressiveness, while this war is seen as perpetrated by Hizballah, instead of it being seen as Hizballah’s sooner or later stand against Israel’s prisons and attacks on Gaza? (Don’t tell me we have forgotten Gaza now, eh?)

    True, Nasrallah did say that he would not have kidnapped those two soldiers if he knew better. But did Israel say that it has over-reacted? Has it now?

    Personally, I’d rather see all these millenia old qualms settled diplomatically. What peeves me off is the fact that Arabs always sell themselves short.

  7. na9rawi says:

    I do not believe that Nasrallah’s admission on Lebanese TV last night makes him less of a leader. On the contrary, he is today more a leader than before.

    It takes a real leader to admit mistakes, to take responsibility and to acknowledge the probability of loss.

    When he spoke on Manar during the conflict, he said – ‘I want us to be successful and I believe we will be successful. But there is a chance we could lose’.

    That friends, is a leader.

    (And Nasrallah didn’t kill over a thousand Lebanese. Israel did. And they are continuing with over 127 murders in Gaza since the capture of their soldier, Gilad Shalit on June 25).

  8. mahmood says:

    Who said that Arabs are selling themselves short Hisham? They are not, they are abrogating their responsibilities of thought by blindly following anyone who claims leadership and if that person is proven a disaster they make excuses for him!

    Let’s stay on topic and deal with facts here:
    1. Here’s a link to an article which has the part of the video interview embedded. I am sure the full text and video will come out in the next couple of days if it’s not out already.

    2. If a leader admits that he could not see – even one per cent – chance of a reaction, and a massive one given the state of affairs at the time in Israel, well, I think something has gone lost there.

    3. The Israelis mounted a massive response which was unjustified and through which hundreds of people lost their lives. Nasrallah must take some responsibility for that action. He was part of the equation.

    4. Looking at it from the Israeli point of view, and the number of comments from them we have already received, and the thousands which have been entered in other blogs, if they are something they show the Israeli public mood and their support for their government to eradicate the threat on their Northern Border. Nasrallah and his other 14 experienced military Hizballah leaders should have seen this response coming. That, apart from Israel having a new government which wants to show the world how tough they are.

    So now we are already writing excuses for Nasrallah’s failure? What? Can’t we accept that he too can screw up? And shouldn’t we have the courage to call things as they are and ask him to concede power to his government?

    He screwed up and hundreds lost their lives. Is Israel also to blame for this? Of course they are, but don’t tell me that Nasrallah should come out of it completely unscathed.

  9. Gizmo says:

    Hisham, well said! I couldn’t agree more.

    Let me summarize my thoughts on this issue

    Isreal imprison palestinians and lebanese and maybe few arabs and we have no right to retaliate about that, fine.

    Israel retaliates and destroy the fucking shit out of lebanon and we stand against those, maybe the last arabs with dignity, who are standing up and taking risk to ensure to Israel that our blood is not wroth two kilos of onions.

    Hizbollah is not like the so called resistence in iraq that is killing iraqis.. They are not fighting civlians, there intention is not killing civlians unlike israel.

    Its funny, its always our own fault of starting some shit up. Someone like NassrAllah is not a leader but the dirt bags that rule our country are.

    And by the way who the fuck stole my lighter?
    damn!

  10. Bilbo says:

    Mahmood you should have watched the interview rather than read the BBC report, although you may have watched it I’m not sure. It was actually very good and covered much much more ground than the BBC article.

    Of course if he had known it was going to cause that much destruction to Lebanon he wouldn’t have gone ahead with the kidnappings. No good human being would ever wish that upon his people. Hizbollah have kidnapped SOLDIERS before and they’ve used them to bargain for many lebanese who are stuck in Israeli jails, many of them unjustly.

    I don’t understand why people are happy he has said that. He’s never claimed infallablity. As you said yourself he’s created a political victory that no one’s been able to do beforehand. When I see Sunni and Shia embracing each other across the Islamic world because of this, then I would say surely that’s a good outcome from all of this?

  11. Ramy says:

    Well,

    If you win, there are people who criticize you and when you lose there are people who will criticize you.

    My explanation to what Nasrallah said is trying to keep the country together….trying to take a certain responsiility to the consequesnces of the war. all his speech yesterday was about taking responsibility, the victory, the field intelligence, the Israeli lies……

    This interview was adressed to the Lebanese people and government in an attempt to contain the situation and reflect the national philosophy of the Hezbollah.

    I think that he made the right thing by saying the truth, this is transparency….and we all know the benefits of transparency. and i tell you guys, his popularity hasn`t dropped at all after this interview, instead it increased.

    What do you need more than taking the responsibility of housing and providing furniture to over 15.000 residential units which were destroyed?

    What do you need more than rebuilding the destroyed residences?

    He may have mis-calculated the consequences but he still is the hero, the winner and an honest man.

    I don`t know where you got the information that he will be stepping out of leading the militia….

    Mahmood, you say: ‘That means that one more of Nasrallah’s failing’

    What are the other failings?

    “he has declared his incapacity to continue to run a militia organization”

    Where did you get this from i was listening and watching the interview, he never mentioned such a thing!

    At the end, the failure of his enemies was much bigger, why didn`t you highlight that? Why didn`t you put the spot on the Israel which has lost a strategic political loss? a loss which showed the dark side of Israel, its hatred and racism, its war crimes…

    Ramy

  12. mahmood says:

    okay, before this pandora’s box goes into a thousand comments, let me ask you all to please leave emotions out of the equasion and think logically and be on-topic. I would appreciate everyone staying off flames etc.

  13. mahmood says:

    Ramy, my article is concerned with Nasrallah rather than the Israelis and their war crimes etc which is a topic of another discussion, not this one.

  14. Grace says:

    Watch your mouth Gizmo, alot of us have A LOT of respect for our leaders.

    We aren’t mercenaries, by heart, and live to take things by violence, or by following ridiculous cults, that portray islamic values and hide devious intentions to rule the majority!!!

    We believe in our leaders, in ourselves as honest law abiding citizens, and in the strength of our nation, that will work together hand in hand to reach to a situation where EVERYBODY excersises their rights in the best way possible at the best possible time.

  15. Shachar says:

    Mahmood,

    While Nasrallah’s admittion is, indeed, surprising on the tactical front (i.e. – it wasn’t expected that he’d admit it), it also exposes the core reason behind why Israel did an “unproportional response”, or behind why I, personally, don’t see it as an Israeli defeat.

    Over the course of the past six years, since Israel pulled out of Lebanon, there has been constant violations of inernational border. These has always been local, and Israel’s response has been “proportionally” local too. The reasult was that what we call “Israel deterrance force” has seriously deteriorated.

    The deterrance force is what keeps Israel out of war five years out of six. It what allows it to lead reasonable economy that is based on polishing diamonds and producing software, rather than on producing weapons. In short, the fear Israel’s enemies have of “what will happen if we attack” is the only thing keeping the ciese fire going for the periods of time it does, and the only reason Israel managed to form piece agreements with two initially hostile neighbours. This is also the only reason any of the other neighbours even consider piece with Israel at all. Without it, they would rather wipe Israel of the map than accept its existance.

    Unfortunately, this wonderfull thing, allowing piece and prosperity (no sarcasm) is not bought cheaply. On the Israeli side, it is bought at the price of maintaining an army budget that is a substantial part of the entire countries budget, and of maintaining a society where everyone are a soldier in reserve. This has a very high price, both economically and socially, but it is beared with understanding because we have seen the alternatives during the pre-Israel years, and during the wars up to 1967, when Israel’s military superiority was first convincingly demonstrated.

    And then there is the price on the other side of the border. As demonstrated in 1967 (and again, purely military wise, on 1973), none of Israel’s immediate neighbours have the capacity to wipe it out using traditional war techniques. Neighbouring armies are simply not strong enough. There has been two kinds of responses. The first was Egypt’s and Jordan’s, who said “We cannot destroy it, might as well accept it”. Problem was, the rest of the Arab world would not accept such an attitude. For Egypt, it is a matter of interpretation when this point arrived, exactly. Sa’adat sent a piece offer before the Yom Kipur war (1973), but insisted it was non-negotiable, take it or leave it, return Sini, get piece. This offer was rejected by both Golda and the Americans. You may claim he truely wanted piece, it seems that he needed a face saving manuver, and he would have it as either “do not negotiate” or as “win the 73 war”, and in the end it had to be the later. Another way to look at it is that the pre-73 offer was not a serious one. Who would offer a serious inter-country agreement as a “take it or leave it” deal? After the 73 war, when Sa’adat saw that even when Israel is successfully surprised and loses a lot of ground initially, they still manage to turn it into a military victory, he decided that the only way to settle this is by pieceful means. Either way, 67 or 73, it is obvious that a strongly armed Israel played a major role in the fact Israel has a lasting piece agreement with Egypt.

    With Jordan things were more subtle. King Hussein realized that he cannot have public piece with Israel, so he went for de-facto. 1967 was the last time that the Israeli and Jordanian armies clashed. Right before (a couple of days) the 73 war he actually went inside Israel to meet with Golda (then – the Israeli PM) and warn her about the war. When the Palestinians began public talks with Israel, so could he. However, compared with Araffat’s “one step forward, two steps backwards, one sideways” tactics, eventually Jordan got fed up with waiting and went ahead and signed a piece treaty without the so called “partners”.

    And then there was the other reaction to the 67 Israeli victory. This reaction said “we cannot win army vs. army, so we’ll use guerilla and terror tactics”. Just like the 73 war was an Israeli defeat despite being a victory from the military standpoint, so has this tactic failed to bring any actual results to their perpretrators. Using terror you can kill people you couldn’t reach otherwise, but there is no long term objective that is served by doing it. The more you apply terror, the less the terrorized population is likely to give in to what you want.

    Of course, this is also true in the opposite direction. The more Israel presses the (keeping it relevant to this discussion) Lebanese population, the less likely it is to be liked there. So why does Israel do it anyways?

    The answer is in Nasrallah’s speach. After six years of constant prodding, and recieving restrained response, Nasrallah considered Israel to be weak, and was certain it will not defend itself no matter what he does. He saw weak Israeli leaders, and arrived at the only logical conclusion as far as he could see it – it’s time to attack. I’ll just remind you that Sa’adat thought a weak Israel was a good time to offer piece.

    Well, here’s a lesson for you. If you try to rob, using a gun, someone who has a black belt in any reasonable martial art, whether he is or he’s not armed himself, you are likely to have your hand, and possibly some teeth, broken. If you try to rob, using a gun, someone who has no defense other than his own gun, you are likely to end out dead. The weaker your opponent, the more violent his response is likely to be.

    As I have said before on this blog, Isreal may have lost on the militray front in this war, but it has not lost the actual conflict. Israel CAN attack again inside Lebanon if Nasrallah deviates from the ciese fire agreement (as it has, after the agreement was reached, when arms were struggled to Hizbollah from Syria). Nasrallah, on the other hand, cannot kidnap more Israeli soliders anytime soon. That, to me, spells a clear winner.

    But the real point I was trying to make is this. Israel had no choice but to “overreact”. The mere fact Nasrallah dared kidnap those soliders means that deterrence was lost. The only way to restore it, at that point in time, was to “over react”.

    And for all those accusing Israel of being agressive, I have this to say. If, when Israel is weak, you say “now is a good time to try and destroy it”, Israel’s only course of action is to never be weak. Since things come and go, as things do, the only way to achieve this is to strive to be overly strong. Action – reaction.

    Shachar

  16. Vincent says:

    Hizb’Allah’s “intention is not killing civlians”, eh? Every Israeli civilian living in a bomb shelter for the last month and a half might disagree…

    At any rate, Nasrallah is a hubristic fool who got more than he bargained for. Now he’s in full damage-control mode.

  17. Abukhalid says:

    Well let’s look at it this way. Suppose he said I don’t regret what I’ve done despite the thousands killed and the huge destruction that Lebanon had suffered, would you respect him this way? I think his response was very mature and responsible. The response by Israelis was not expected by any one. Israel was criticized for its exagerated response and excessive use of force by almost the whole world. Should we blame the Japanese when they’ve said that they did not expect the Americans to drop a nuclear bomb on them? Israel has simply destroyed Lebanon while the whole world was watching. Israel could have dropped a nuclear bomb on Lebanon, should we blame Nassrallah for not expecting that? The response of Israel was not expected simply because it’s not rational. That’s why all Lebanese, including Nassrallah’s opponents, decided to back him during the war.

  18. Gizmo says:

    Watch my mouth? Trust me, my words would be much worse than that if i didnt keep my shit to myself.

    And, hahahah, actualy ALOT of you have no respect for your leaders, and which leaders are you talking about, we dont have any grace, we have kings, and long long long, actualy permanent presidents. Not that much of leaders, eh? You have the right to have respect for any NOT choosen leader you want, but I also have the right to shit on all of them. Starting from the happy cow in eygpt and the mad fuck in jordan, his majesty.

    Between, I am also abiding the laws just liek you, but when laws that are only influenced by religions, ISLAM, its not fair for non muslims to abide the laws. And yeah im a muslim too.

    *and in the strength of our nation*

    hahahah what nation are you talking about?
    I hope its not arabic nation.

  19. Grace says:

    Gizmo,
    you must be one of the very many that have run away from their local burdens to find rescue in, and make use of, someone elses home, whilst we stay where we are and try to work towards making a better life for ourselves and the generations to come.
    You call yourself Arab do you?
    Bull xxxx

  20. Jasra-Jedi says:

    Mahmood,

    Interesting topic. I actually think Nasrallah did a shrewd tactical move by saying that. If he wasn’t prepared for the israeli attack, and he still manage to last 33 days and do some damage to the Israelis, and at the end of it too responsability for his decision by providing the necessary funds to rebuild homes and communitites … then imagine if he had instigated this whole thing knowing full well and being prepared full well for what would happen.

    I think its interesting. He showed up Bashar Al Assad, who came out claiming victory. And he also gave Iran some breathing space.

    By saying that this was not premiditated, he has, de facto, made it harder for the US or Israel to justify a hit on Iran …

  21. Gizmo says:

    Lol you are a typical arab. And yes i call myself a very proud arab. Plus dont worry you can type in bull shit, mahmood is very clear on his stance on freedom of expression/speech he wont ban you. No need to censor some stuff up.

    As I hate to be the party pooper here and change the subject but I believe I have to respond to you making it a discusstion between me and you. Others may go on with the topic presented above.

    Who said I ran away, the key term must be forced away. Trust me sometimes living in someone else’s home is much better than living in your own home. I am a proud american as much as i am a proud arab.

    And I hope that the laws made here were to be made in our countries were there is actualy some respect to the minorities. And you go on trying to make a better life for urself and generations to come, try hard, because many before you tried and never been found again.

    You are in the status of denial and you havent realized the big problem you are in, keep denying and time will fly by.

    GOOD LUCK.

  22. mahmood says:

    Jasra I haven’t thought of it like that. I see what you mean.

    However, the 33-days thing is not really apples-to-apples as he does not have a regular defined army, because if it had been that sort of conflict, I am sure that Israel would have wiped them out in a few hours, let alone days. By the definition of militias who fight in pockets, it’s much harder to fight and weed them out, so that worked in his favour, of course.

    So could it be by him declaring that he “didn’t know” about the kidnapping at the time (only a while later) and still does not know the number of dead in his ranks is also a political ploy, or is it that he is disconnected from the operational aspect of the operation and that someone else is really pulling the strings?

    I don’t know… I’ve thought a lot about this conflict and the more I think about it the worse it appears to my mind in that it is a political game which started sectarian, then when it appeared that Hizballah was ‘winning’ it became an encompassing ‘Arab’ movement regaining what was lost of its face, now after the hostilities have ended and after last night’s interview, it looked to me like a true basket of wrong decisions that the Lebanese people have paid and will continue to pay for.

    And still no one is willing to call a spade a spade.

  23. Shachar says:

    Jasra-Jedi,

    I think Nasrallah has no choice but to claim he did not expect this response. Like someone else said, he is in damage control mode now. This does not contradict the fact that he should have seen a reaction coming sooner or later. Like I said before, this was not an isolated operation by Hizbollah.

    And, yes, it is a “damn if you do, damn if you don’t”. All I can say in sympathy is “Next time, don’t start a war”.

    Shachar

  24. Ash says:

    I disagree with you on this. I think it takes a big man or woman to have the honesty and humility to admit publicly that they have made a mistake, and a very big man or woman indeed to admit to such a disastrous mistake. Far from making Nasrallah less of a leader, this admission makes him more of one – particularly in the context of the Middle East, where belligerence and intransigence on all sides are a major factor in the endless strife there.

  25. F says:

    Shachar – no one really wins wars.

    you stated ..’ I think Nasrallah has no choice but to claim he did not expect this response. Like someone else said, he is in damage control mode now.’

    I think Olmert has not choice either but to claim he did not expect this
    response. Like someone else said, he is in damage control mode now.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/26/AR2006082600801.html?referrer=email

  26. Anonymous says:

    equation

  27. Jasra-Jedi says:

    Mahmood,

    I dont know what the full repercussions are going to be. But, Hizbollah’s antics have definitely established new rules for the game. The problem is that there are so many strings; there is Iran, Syria, Sunni-Shia, the US, Palestine, Israel, etc … It is very complicated, if not impossible, at this stage to determine who really won and who really lost and what changed. I think that certain things were set into motion .. but we are yet to really determine whether the decisions were wrong or right .. or by what measure we can really honestly judge ..

    The Lebanese people is some way lost. They lost civilians. They lost infrstructure. But, they also gained. Siniora and the rest of his crew managed, against tremendous odds, to keep the country together. And it is a very fragile government that they kept together. They also managed to keep Syria out of the equation. A first. And, they also gave the US the right formula for ceasing hostilies, and more significantly, removing the legitimacy of Hizbolla’s exitance which is for the Shebaa farms to be returned. They were ignored. Because of Israel’s hubris, I think.

    The Israelis also lost somewhat. They realized for the first time that military superiority will not guarantee stability and they also realized for all thier attempts at peace treaties in the last 50 odd years, they are still back to square one in terms of guaranteeing peace for their own citizens. Also, the reservists in the army are questioning the leadership. There is questioning of their own president for sexual harrasment. So, Israel is going through the growing aims of any society. Exccept, their status as the ‘victim done good’ is being questioned. And in the west, they definitely lost the PR war.

    Jordan is worried about being turned into a homeland for the Palestinians. Which the Israelis might push for if they are pushed against the wall.

    Syria lost a tremendous amount. As did Egypt. Remember the Baker/Assad meetings in Paris? Syria was not even consulted this time round. And its obvious that the son is not in control. Egypt? Where is Hosni? Totally silent. And the only voices that will grow louder are the voices of the brotherhood. Not a good sign.

    The GCC is entering a very difficult stage. The possibility of a Shia crescent is scaring everyone. Every other month or so we hear about some gun battles in Saudi Arabia. Bahrain is very vulnerable. Dubai not as much. Iraq is in civil war. And Iran .. I dont know. For all everyone’s fear about Iran, we forget that since 1979, Iran has not declared hostilites on anyone. Iraq atacked them first. Iran is exercising influence, for sure. But .. I am not convinced that Iran has an ‘Eretz Iran’ endgame.

    So, Nasrallah’s recent spat with Israel has changed alot of things. And has released alot of momentum in some of the battles that are intrinsic and have nothing to do with the Israelis and the Palestinians.

    The bright side of all of this is that if someone is wise and shows effective leadership, these times may well be the catalyst for change that is needed. But, first some self introspection. And some honesty. My biggest fear is that we ae going to be drawn into a sectarian battle that is totally useless. But, like the very bloody battles of Europe that resulted in the separation of church and state, this may well be exactly what is needed in order for us to move on .. both politically and religiously.

    Time will tell.

  28. mahmood says:

    And time has cheated us once and again since the Umayyads to actually make change to a democratic society and make the change stick! Of course I agree with you regarding the huge flux that the whole area is experiencing, and yes, I agree too that it is destablising. Unfortunately our leaders are either truly asleep or feinting sleep as they are not preparing the ground for ensuring their own survival, let alone inculcating democracy in our individual countries. Witness for instance the debate of the week we have here regarding the much contentious naturalization program. I especially liked Abdulla Janahi’s research in three parts in Al-Waqt where he touches about some of these deep seated problems.

    Bringing my thoughts back to today, I too am unsure of who won and who lost, and I am really not concerned about that at the moment. My concern is how would anyone view Nasrallah’s declaration anything but an admission of lacking leadership? Fine, one cannot expect everything as planned, especially in war and international relations, but this is a person who is heading a council of 15 ‘battle-hardened individuals,’ commanders and politicians and tacticians of the Hizballah machine and he comes out and he simply says he didn’t realise that the response could be as large as it has? That’s a cop-out as far as I’m concerned. Further, he says that he would not have gone into war had he realised the amount of damage… excuse me, this is war for God’s sake! What does he really expect? What did the other 14 expect?

    Okay so war is waged and it doesn’t take more than a few hours to understand the seriousness of the situation, why didn’t anyone stop the war and declare an end to hostilities? Why did they wait for 34 days before doing so?

    I know some would say that all who died are in Heaven now, they’re all martyrs so they should be happy with their fait. I’m not! And neither are a lot of their families I think.. if the war was preventable at several stages, and the “leaders” realised that it is an error of judgement, why didn’t they stop and just address it? Why do they wait for over a month and all those people dead and dying before it is stopped?

    Yes, there are a lot of interacting actors in the Middle East, and it is probably one of the most unstable regions in the world and it is probably about to explode courtesy of the various factional/sectarian/egotistical fighting we’re having, and as you said maybe it should boil over in order to get rid of cobwebs and historical baggage and come out ready to integrate ourselves into the world at large and be a productive member of the world community. I can guarantee you; however, that before that would happen, the first thing that the Middle East will really suffer from is the huge migration of intellectuals, scientists, doctors, businessmen – in other words, a complete brain drain for other countries to benefit from, and then to let them really rip themselves apart!

  29. M says:

    “And in the west, they definitely lost the PR war.”

    It probably looks that way from the ME but not from “the West”. Out here, it looks like just more of the same stupidity that’s been going on for years and years at least on the surface. I think Mahmood’s post says it all, and he has been presenting it in different ways over the last few weeks with his posts about patriotism and the like.

    People should be upset with a clown like Nasrallah as he plays with his countrymen’s lives. After all these years in Lebanon and interactions with Israel, the man admits he is playing games with the most powerful military in the ME and expects, apparently rightly so, that people will continue to support him. Damn! He is good.

    The world has chided Americans for the last few years about blindly following her leaders and their madness, and to Nasrallah’s credit he didn’t make any claims about WMD. No. He only has to say he got it wrong; so sorry, and it’s OK with his supporters. What no calls for being tried for war crimes? Talk about double standards. Sorry, forgot that it’s Israel’s fault for making Hezbollah attack her so she could earn a few brownie points with the US so they could attack Iran, France and Spain.

    “But, like the very bloody battles of Europe that resulted in the separation of church and state, this may well be exactly what is needed in order for us to move on .. both politically and religiously.”

    I hope you are not right, because unlike Europe, the “church” is going to win most of the rounds in your case, and the process to move on is going to be a very long and painful ordeal.

  30. Aliandra says:

    Bilbo;

    This isn’t just about two kidnapped soldiers. There have been on-off rocket attacks from southern Lebanon ever since Israel left. Seems that the Isrealis decided to put it all to an end.

    Jasra.

    The Israelis also lost somewhat. They realized for the first time that military superiority will not guarantee stability

    They’ve also realized that ending an occupation somewhere, like southern Lebanon, or Gaza, will not guarantee stability either. In fact, they might make that a justification for keeping whatever other land they’ve already grabbed. How are all these stupid provocations by the Gazans and Hezbollah going to end the occupation?

    M,

    I agree, It’s just the same tiresome stupidity as usual. I just don’t see an end to it..

  31. Nour says:

    i’m not Forrest yet, but once i realized that an asshole walking was going much further than a couple of brains sat down and trying to make the light cum from their mutual talk.

  32. Henry says:

    Hi
    Is it not possible that Israel just used the soldiers as an excuse to attack.

    The USA might have said to Israel some thing like we cant attack in the middle east any more but you can as they have your soldiers don’t worry we will give you the arms and will pay for any damage don by Hezbollah to your country

  33. Kiwi Nomad says:

    Abukhalid, you mentioned “That’s why all Lebanese, including Nassrallah’s opponents, decided to back him during the war.”

    I don’t think so… from what i hear from a Lebanese friend, half of the Lebanese population (that would be the non-Shiites, I guess), didn’t necessarily switch sides to backing Nassrallah, so much as kept quiet as it doesn’t take more than a few hours to understand the seriousness of the situation, why didn’t anyone stop the war and declare an end to hostilities? Why did they wait for 34 days before doing so?any anti-Hezbollah or anti-Nassrallah sentiment was/is viewed by the non-tolerant other half as support for Israel. So, it isn’t PC in Lebanon to do what Mahmood has done here and come out in public and denounce Nasrallah as the nutter, sorry, the poor leader he is.

    The usual story in the Arab world… one face for the public, another for the private. Shame people can’t be true to themselves and speak their minds… except in this type of forum!

    Mahmood says “…it doesn’t take more than a few hours to understand the seriousness of the situation, why didn’t anyone stop the war and declare an end to hostilities? Why did they wait for 34 days before doing so?”

    I’m surprised there’s been no mention of the allegation that the USA had already sanctioned Israeli action to go after Hezbollah when it got the chance. It certainly looks that way when USA delayed their involvement in reaching a peace accord, and appeared to give the green light for Israel to continue.

  34. Jay Jerome says:

    He didn’t expect Israel to react as it did?

    Sounds like he’s a candidate for a future Darwin Award, given to those who improve the human genome, by doing something so stupid they kill themselves in the process.
    http://www.darwinawards.com/
    Unfortunately, the award is generally bestowed posthumously, but it gives us something to look forward to.

    And by the way, did anybody ask Nasrallah where his family was when his ‘one in a hundred’ ploy flared into a major blow-back – were they in Southern Lebanon, or were they ‘coincidentally’ somewhere else at the time, out of harms way?

  35. milter says:

    There’s another angle to this war (or whatever you’d like to call it) and Nasrallah’s motives, which hasn’t been discussed much, yet.

    My suggestion is that Hizbollah and Nasrallah will utilize whatever means they find suitable to create an Islamic state. Hizbollah’s leaders feel a big devotion to their faith and, as such, they will and can only recognize a society built on Islamic principles, i.e. Shari’ah. They have seen Lebanon as a good place to start, but, when the time is right they will try to expand their mission to the rest of The Middle East.

    Nasrallah is very opportunistic in his speeches. If he thinks he can gain more followers by admitting he made a mistake, he will do that. If he thinks a fiery, hateful speech will help his cause, he will make one. If he thinks he can win by attacking those leaders and people of The Middle East that don’t support his fight, he will tell them there won’t be any seats for them in the next life.

    And, if he thinks he can gain momentum for his cause, he will help create chaos, like he did in this case.

    These excerpts are taken from Hizbollah’s “Open Letter to the Oppressed of Lebanon and the World”, ” published in 1985 in the Lebanese paper, As-Safir.

    Our Identity
    We are often asked: Who are we, the Hizballah, and what is our identity? We are the sons of the umma (Muslim community) – the party of God (Hizb Allah) the vanguard of which was made victorious by God in Iran. There the vanguard succeeded to lay down the bases of a Muslim state which plays a central role in the world. We obey the orders of one leader, wise and just, that of our tutor and faqih (jurist) who fulfills all the necessary conditions: Ruhollah Musawi Khomeini. God save him!

    By virtue of the above, we do not constitute an organized and closed party in Lebanon. nor are we a tight political cadre. We are an umma linked to the Muslims of the whole world by the solid doctrinal and religious connection of Islam, whose message God wanted to be fulfilled by the Seal of the Prophets, i.e., Muhammad

    As for our culture, it is based on the Holy Koran, the Sunna and the legal rulings of the faqih who is our source of imitation (marja’ al-taqlid)

    Hizbollah come up with a new definition of their aims in 1998, their Statement of purpose which on the outset seems to be a lot more pragmatic. It came at a time when Hizbollah had decided to join the political game and it caused a few unhappy comments from Iran.

    Some will say that the aim and aspirations of Hizbollah had changed.
    However, if you read between the lines, it is just a toned down version of the earlier one.

    I think Hizbollah just introduced a new “charter” that would be more palatable to the people of Lebanon.

  36. zalmahro says:

    Mahmood,

    I can understand your frustration as an Arab who probably was praying for a victorious outcome only to be faced with a regretful Nasrallah after the blood had been spilled. After careful thinking, I realized that he might have admitted miscalculation as a tactical thing. Check out this article:

    http://www.mathaba.net/0index.shtml?x=542234

  37. We Arab / Muslims are very emotional,
    we’ll never grow until we use our brains to think

  38. Anonymous says:

    You couldn’t be more of a hypocrite. A short while ago you were glorifying the King and Prime Minister more so than God and yet you find it difficult to acknowledge the man in question as a leader.

    Please go back and fix your garden and stay away from issues that you have no knowledge of.

  39. M says:

    “Unfortunately our leaders are either truly asleep or feinting sleep as they are not preparing the ground for ensuring their own survival, let alone inculcating democracy in our individual countries.”

    Not to change the subject, but what is up with that? Want the nutters to cut off my head so they can have my power, or do I want to be the wonderful beloved retired monach? Seems like a no brainer and a good topic for another post.

  40. milter says:

    Anonymous wrote, August 28th, 2006 at 10:48 pm:

    and yet you find it difficult to acknowledge the man in question as a leader.

    What qualities is it in “this man” (and I assume you mean Hassan Nasrallah), that you seem to consider good for a leader?

  41. Shachar says:

    F,

    There is no doubt in my mind that Olmert did not win here. His actions were inapropriate and inadequate in picking the staff, understanding implications of actions, taking care of military and civilians, and just about any other aspect of this conflict. He is getting huge criticism for his (in)actions, and there is little doubt he is, indeed, in damage control mode. As far as Olmert goes, unless something drastic happens, he is highly unlikely to be PM come next elections, and the chances that those will be in three years as planned are also very slim.

    However:
    1. This is no surprise, at least not to me. I would have told you the same thing the night before the last elections.
    2. As far as Israel goes, we gained (I’ll accept that calling it “winning” is going too far) several years of quiet. If Lebanon becomes a soverign state as a result, we actually gained even more come a few years from now.

    The thing that I truely wanted to say in my first post, and didn’t manage to expressly say, was this: Slightly rephrasing, what Nasrallah said was “if Israel had not “overreacted”, we would have done it again and again”. All I was trying to say is that what Israel was trying to do was not only retaliate against this act of war, but also prevent the next one and the one after.

    Considering that, maybe it wasn’t true to call it “over” reaction after all. A proportional reaction would have been an invitation to Hizbollah to act again.

    Shachar

  42. Nasser-Allah says:

    A leader is the man who could say the truth and nothing but the truth, a man who leads the nation into victory and takes the initiative to victory. there are risks for every action, including sleeping. A man will not succeed and prosper without taking risks. Obviously it needs to be measured risk, as the Sayed mentioned.

    The leader Sayed Hassan Nasser Allah, has united all muslims with all sects and including Atheists, this is a victory on its own.

    The leader has defeated the Zionists from achieving their goals and showed them that the time for defeats is over. and that the Zionist country will have to think 100X before doing anything stupid.

    A good leader is also ready to admit, the mistakes that were made, admitting mistakes is a key factor of good leadership. Unlike the ruling families in most arab countries that do not admit any kind of mistakes.

    A leader, as Naser-Allah, depends on a comittee of experts to take decisions, so he did not wake up one day and said, let us do it for fun.

  43. Anonymous says:

    Some people are fighting for freedom and others are wanking on keyboards. This is what is happening on this topic.

  44. a Duoist says:

    The key to understanding leadership is that ‘leaders’ lead people, while ‘managers’ simply manage numbers. An honest admission of personal error in a leader is not demonstrative of a lack of leadership; in fact, self-criticism is one of the features of a strong leader. The insecurities of weak leaders–the managers–gives them a poor regard for introspective self-criticism.

    The manager will stand close to the tree to be cut down and command, “We’ll start here.” The leader will first climb to the top of the tallest tree and call out, “Hey! We’re cutting down the wrong side of the forest.”

    Mr. Nazrallah’s leadership is not in question. His maturity of judgement, however, very much is. So long as the Lebanese are not sovereign in their own country because Hizbollah refuses to disarm, or donate its weapons to the Lebanese, or to join the Lebanese Army, another war is certain.

    Another Lebanese war will occur due to the failure to lead. Someone in Hizbollah needs to climb the tallest cedar they can find, and look around. Their operative philosophy is catabolic, not anabolic, and many more “numbers” of innocent Lebanese are going to die unless there is a tough, self-critical introspection by Hizbollah’s leadership.

    ‘Be free,’ Mahmood.

  45. Pamela says:

    I would hhve liked to see Nasrallah own up to the fact that he put his rocket launchers in nieghbohoods where children lived and played, and own up to the fact that his forces wore civilian clothing and hid thier arsenal in peoples homes. He used people as human shields.

  46. Will says:

    I find Nasrallah’s admission surprising because it essentially means that he wont do it again. Which means that the Israeli response was effective. I agree with Shachar on this point.

    How does Nasrallah marry a statement like

    “I would say no, definitely not, for humanitarian, moral, social, security, military and political reasons.”

    with claims of victory.

    It is exemplary for a leader to admit his mistakes but this is not the same as taking responsibility. Hundreds of people are dead and he is saying oops..ah sorry about that miscalculation. This is not an accounting error.

  47. Jay Jerome says:

    “He used people as human shields.”

    Not his own family, I’ll wager.

  48. Anonymous says:

    “He used people as human shields.”

    Replying to some of the posts here is futile. Your memory either doesn’t extend far back (the guy’s been around for decades and not weeks right?) or you simply want to think categorically like the owner of this blog for convenience’s sake.

    The unique thing about politics is that everyone’s an expert. Truly amazing.

  49. mahmood says:

    Jay, Nasrallah’s commitment is not in question here. His own son, Mahdi, was killed while fighting the Israelis several years ago and was martyred. Hours after his son’s death, Nasrallah said that he now can look into the eyes of other parents who have lost sons and daughters in the fighting and can say that he now knows their pain.

    So get off that topic you’re on a loser. Get to the topic that we’re discussing and you’ll learn something.

    To all of those who have taken this personally and turned to attacking me, thanks, you prove my point. Now get off your bankrupt way of thinking and debate!

  50. billT says:

    Mahmood. I dont believe in martyrs, if I did I’d remember the 241 American martyrs in Lebanon in 1983 and hate. What I do hate is politicians who twist kids minds and send them off to war like Bush and Nasrallah. I’m so sick of hearing people talk about reasons for the war and justify kids deaths.

    billT

  51. Coffee Lover says:

    Mahmood, In my opinion, the only reason your being attacked in this particular post is because you have criticized some peoples spiritual leader.

    I think they prefer you to stick within the lines of their usual mumbo jumbo; “we don’t get what we want, the land of arabia sucks”.

    Booo hoooo, if your not happy where you are, just leave, I didn’t see any of these Nasrawis, as they like to call themselves, jump to go and fight for lebanon, no!!! why should they put their lives on the line???? it makes more sense for them to stretch their legs a couple of hours on Friday afternoon and hold up the holy yellow flag.

    You know what the real problem is with the land of Arabia? the decline of the middle class (the class from which, the scientists, intellectuals, writers and thinkers comes from). Nowadays, anybody with a foreign accent and a few pennys in their pocket considers themselves to be intellectual and capable of analyzing and even influencing politics.

    Others do so through religon. I don’t know how the system works in Lebanon but I’ll bet Nasrallah is one of them!!!!

  52. Shachar says:

    A Duist,

    I guess it’s a matter of interpretation. What you call “Nasrallah cutting down at the wrong end of the forest”, I call “Nasrallah cutting down at the right (for him) end of the forest, while claiming he is on the other side”.

    We both agree Nasrallah is bad for Lebanon, but we may differ on the question of whether this is intentional or not.

    Shachar

  53. Ash says:

    Oh for pity’s sake. Some of the comments on this thread really demonstrate why the Middle East is in such a state. All these nonsense, macho, posturing ideas about what constitutes a “real leader”! Good grief.

    Firstly, kidnapping the two Israeli soldiers was never anything but the feeble, petty act of a weak force. Kidnapping a couple of soldiers wouldn’t help win a war against a country as poor as Chad, nevermind against a wealthy military machine like Israel.

    Secondly, all the chest-banging about how Hizbollah “defeated” Israel was as absurd as it was wrong. Lebanon rolled over and was smashed in a matter of days. The death toll extremely low, as wars go, because Israel chose to keep it so – for humanitarian reasons and iin response to international pressure, not because Hizbollah was successfully keeping Israel at bay. Is there really anyone on this blog who believes that Israel wouldn’t win an all-out war?

    Thirdly, a good leader is NOT one who stubbornly continues to insist that he was right when events patently show otherwise. Nor is a good leader necessarily one who achieves “victory”. There are many many instances in life when “victory” is impossible; a good leader recognises this and seeks the best deal he can get for his people rather than relentlessly pursuing an unachievable “victory” that will only leave his people devastated.

    Leaders are not there to massage your egos and make you feel like big brave tough guys who’d rather die than lose face. They are there to ensure that those they lead get to have decent lives. Sometimes this can mean war, but not where the war is so unnecessary and so unwinnable. Most of the time it means political, social, and economic stability; diplomacy; boring stuff like that.

    Stepping away from belligerent posturing is the best thing Nasrallah has done to date. He seems to have learned an important lesson in maturity and humility. It’s a shame that so many others seem incapable of taking that same step, because until more people do the violence will continue unabated.

  54. Silent Bob says:

    Interesting post guys, now time for my two pennys worth.

    Nasrallah is weak, naive and incredibly stupid if he thought that by attacking Israel and kidnapping two soldiers would not result in a revenge attack.

    By this action, he handed a green light to Israel to attack his postions and logisitcs in southern Lebanon. Israel had every right to destroy the infrastructure in this campaign, as this infrastructure was used by Hizbollah to deliver missiles and arms to their postions in civlian areas. By destroying infrastructure this reduces the fighting power of their enemy and thus protects their innocent civilians.
    Because Hizbollah bury themselves in civilian areas is no fault of Israel and if civilians die becuase of this then again this is no fault of Israel. This is the fault of cowardly Nasrallah who uses civilian areas to fight from. He is responsibe for all the deaths that resulted from the war and I think his admission fell short of taking responsibility for the deaths of hundreds of innocent Israelis and Lebanese.
    I dont undertsand how people can support this way of thinking, it worrys me deeply and I fear for the future. It worrrys me that some of the more intelligent contributors to this post show support for this ignorance.
    Come on guys, put the age old excuse of “we hate Israel and the West discriminates against us” behind you and get on with working out how to improve the tarnished name of your “peaceful religion” that is stunting your growth.

  55. Skeptical says:

    First time to comment on a post ever! (Except for techies)!
    few good thoughts have been put down already. Just dropping mine;

    1) I’m quite amazed I have to admit, not by Naserallah’s statement but by all this shock/critique/debate it did trigger.
    13 days after the humiliating kidnappings took place Sayyed Heseen (as pronounced in southern Lebanese accent) was interviewed by Ghassan Jiddo of Aljazeera TV, an interview that have received orgasmic attention and praise amongst the Syed’s fans regardless of sect.
    I do recall him explicitly stating that the Israeli overreaction was not expected at all and insisted that the thing he intended the least was to provoke a massive Israeli revenge campaign. I’m sure many of you (the critics) have accidentally witnessed briefs of this interview and have probably shown the screen the finger and changed the channel for good.
    You even might have had listened to the part highlighted in specific. Why didn’t it catch much controversial attention back then? Well I guess we’ll have to try and go with the whole package of emotions back to that day. Before attempting to do that lets all admit something: Those who are critical to Hezbollah now held the same opinion before July 12th, during the so called war and after NewTV’s manifestation of Sayed Hasan, NOTHING he might have said would’ve resulted in less condemnation, Nothing at all.

    Back then, during the course of retaliation, the uncertainty of the outcomes, specifically after the Israeli ground intervention, was far too complex for many free thinkers to come up with one clear worthwhile statement of their standings not to mention the fear of misjudgment. It’s just that now that he made his first statement after things boiled down to what it is, we’re all back to rephrasing our beliefs and grab a seat back.

    Now to answer the initial question, the man’s leadership standing can only be assessed by his follower; I don’t see us getting anywhere far Mahmood.

    2) An extremely insightful article titled “Watching Lebanon” was published in the “The New Yorker” by Seymour Hersh, you can find it here:

    http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/060821fa_fact

    For those ho don’t know Hersh I encourage you to Wiki him before reading the article, it will help put things into perspective.

    I know I probably didn’t make any sense, thanks for your time.

  56. mahmood says:

    To me it was a question of degrees.

    I gave him the benefit of the doubt back then when HIS doubt was unquantified. When it was and I found out that he wouldn’t have bothered to kidnap those soldiers had there been even a ONE PERCENT chance of the massive attack it resulted in, is when I got angry.

    The “1% chance” was not worth the hundreds of lives lost and the destruction of a country.

  57. M says:

    “Now to answer the initial question, the man’s leadership standing can only be assessed by his follower; I don’t see us getting anywhere far Mahmood”

    Now, now; no double standards. His leadership standing can be assessed by a whole bunch of people on the planet, because we could have had an international crisis on our hands fairly quickly. Besides, certainly those Lebanese who are not his followers should have the right to say something and assess his leadership when it involves their lives.

  58. Ahmad says:

    The true mark of a great leader is the ability to admit to a mistake. Have you ever heard Nasser, Assad, Hussein, or any of the other retarded leaders of the Middle East ever admit that they made a mistake? No. Arabs don’t want leaders who oppress them, and they don’t want leaders who show any weakness.. so lets create a magical leader. Humility should be seen as a good thing, its something that has long been missing with our leadership.

  59. mahmood says:

    except when the price is a over a thousand lives and a destruction of a country.

    at the very least, now that he has admitted his “error”, is to stand aside. resign.

    will he? will people demand that he does?

    I personally doubt that very much, reading and listening to people making excuses for him. He will probably be installed as the president of Lebanon very soon after their constitution magically gets “amended”.

    Where have we seen this sort of thing before?

    But then we – Arabs – are pretty used to this sort of thing. Did anyone demand the removal of Saddam due to his various crimes?

    I give up.

  60. Ethan says:

    Did anyone demand the removal of Saddam due to his various crimes?

    The Americans did. In fact I seem to remember a bit of a kerfluffle over his removal.

    And the Americans caught a lot of flak about it, and still haven’t recovered in the eyes of the world.

    Meh, what do I know?

    On a personal note – I’m finally in a permanent position – Tampa, FL – just in time for the first US-bound Hurricane to hit me 😛

  61. Jasra-Jedi says:

    M:

    I had stated: “But, like the very bloody battles of Europe that resulted in the separation of church and state, this may well be exactly what is needed in order for us to move on .. both politically and religiously.”

    You responded: ‘I hope you are not right, because unlike Europe, the “church” is going to win most of the rounds in your case, and the process to move on is going to be a very long and painful ordeal. ‘

    Why do you think that? Dont you think that eventually, even if the church or the mosque wins in the short term, eventually, secular leadership will win? It will take years. It will also take may more thousands of deaths. But, it will happen.

  62. Jasra-Jedi says:

    Mahmood,

    I have been thinking about your post. Is acknowledging a mistake enough to ask someone to resign?

    Clinton lied to the US public about Monica Lewinsky whilst in office. He also admited that he lied and that he made a mistake in lying. He stayed in office and has possibly become one of the most powerful ex President’s. So, historical precedent shows that acknowledging a mistake is not enough grounds to be removed from office.

    Having said the above, I will acknowledge that jeapordizing one’s marriage and jeapordizing the lives of thousands of families should be mesured differently.

    On a separate, but similar note, I read today that Jewish families were suing SNCF in France for transporting them out of France during the Nazi Occupation. I find that unbeleiveable.

    Imagine today, if the families of those who had died in the war in Lebanon chose to sue the cargo airlines that transported the bombs from the US to Israel. Would the thought ever even fly?

    One man’s mistake is another man’s fortune.

  63. mahmood says:

    JJ, yes it is a question of degrees, again.

    Clinton lied, but no one died, at least in that particular situation you referred to. However I am sure that we can dig up much more decisions he has taken which did result in destruction or death directly and indirectly.

    As to Nasrallah, yes, he stood in the face of his enemies; yes he did bleed them; yes he did humiliate them, but in the end – to me at least, his was only a Pyrrhic vicrtory.

    And he confirms that, yet everyone is still clapping, swearing by his name, and naming their newborns after him.

    Am I missing something here?

  64. mahmood says:

    Ethan, congrats on the move and the settlement. And welcome back!

  65. Anonymous says:

    Clinton got in trouble because he lied in court, not because he lied to the public. Politicians lie to the public all the time – it’s a matter of degree. But when you’re in court, it’s a different situation altogther.

    Perjury is a crime that would get any American subject to penalties. The President is no exception.

  66. Jay Jerome says:

    “Jay, Nasrallah’s commitment is not in question here. His own son, Mahdi, was killed while fighting the Israelis several years ago and was martyred.”

    Mahmood – Nasrallah’s son wasn’t killed ‘several years ago’ – he was killed in 1997 – almost a decade ago, before Nesrallah intentionally began salting huge arsenals of missiles throughout Southern Lebanon. Nasrallah intentionally put those weapons in densely populated areas, where civilian casualties were inevitable if they were launched at Israeli cities. He put them adjacent to and under hospitals, schools, apartment buildings – a cynical strategic asymmetrical decision to sacrifice civilians for a future public relations victory.

    A day or so after his son was killed Nasrallah showed up at a Hezbollah celebration, telling those assembled there that “we win honor for ourselves when we send our sons into battle… and we stand upright when they die.”

    So, my question is a valid one – was he standing upright when he sent all those civilian woman and children into the battle when he initiated the war with Israel by invading their country and killing and kidnapping their soldiers and immediately launching great numbers of missiles into Israel as soon as they responded? Or was he ‘sitting in safety’ elsewhere, with his own family, including women and grandchildren (if he has them)?

    Where was he when he ordered the missiles to be launched? Safe in Northern Lebanon, or Syria (numerous news reports had him in Damascus the next day)?

    And his son wasn’t ‘martyred’ – he was killed in a fire-fight with Israeli soldiers (some of them may have been killed as well). For you to ascribe religious significance to his death is unconscionable. It’s that kind of religious babble that secularists like myself find so repugnant – a variation of the same kind of superstitious claptrap Muslims spout that soldiers fighting and dying for Islam will go directly to heaven and do the nasty with 72 dark-eyed virgins (by the way – what happens when Nordic Muslims get to heaven – do they get 72 blue eyed virgins?).

    Anyway, here’s a cartoon to put your blog thread in perspective (it seems to sum up your position, from a U.S. pov).

    http://editorialcartoonists.com/cartoon/display.cfm/23040/

  67. mahmood says:

    I understand your position now, you should have phrased the initial question as you have here as I thought you were just being flippant.

    Thanks for the cartoon, it does sum up my position rather nicely!

    Would they mind if I used it with this article do you think?

  68. Anonymous says:

    God called, and he’s kinda pissed that people have been using His association with a certain ‘party’. He doesn’t like his name put next to an AK-47, since He’s the creator and all that, He thinks that people can be more creative. The only thing that comes out of martyrdom is riger mortis.

    Speaking of creativity, God is also wondering how the Israelis happened to screw up so badly, especially since they’re the most powerful force in the middle east and all . . . aided and supplied by the world’s most powerful country led by George Dubya, whose not the brightest of the bunch, but the most eloquent . . . okay, sorry, not so eloquent . . .um. . . how the hell was this guy elected, anyway? A hundred plus Israelis died and what was the end result? No Israeli hostages rescued, but many came back in bodybags, so I guess undertakers had a busy month where the ‘war’ generated a lot of business.

    So who benefits? Lebanon? No. Israel? No. Hizbullah? No, they might be popular, but their neighborhood got blown to bits. I guess its the undertakers and funeral parlors.

  69. M says:

    Ethan,

    “On a personal note – I’m finally in a permanent position – Tampa, FL – just in time for the first US-bound Hurricane to hit me”

    Some people have all the luck; nothing like surviving a hurricane to make you feel invincible! Good luck in your new home.

    JJ,

    “But, it will happen”

    I am not so sure anymore. You know when I first started “visiting” here a couple of years ago, I clearly didn’t have a clue what people were up against and why they couldn’t change the status quo on their own with alittle time. I likened it to the civil rights movement in my mind, but it sure isn’t that. It also isn’t the reformation; it’s a different kind of battleground that doesn’t lend itself to any “quick” resolution if any resolution at all. The world is actually smaller now in some ways. I really fear for where the Lebanese could be headed as well as Iraqis; it will tell a lot about how long the road is going to be. Bets?

  70. GOD says:

    Okay guys, sorry, I was out running some errands and I come back and see the world turned to shit over two hostages. I mean come on! What the hell, man?!? Didn’t I e-mail you guys those ten commandments? ‘Thous shalt not covet thy neighbor’s ass’ I said. And what do you do? Take two asses hostage!

    And speaking of asses, Israel, you go ahead and unleash hell over all of lebanon and what do we get in the end? NOTHING! The nightclubs were cool and the women were hot, so thanks for doing humanity an favor and destroying all the nice places. You guys suck.

    -God.

    ps. Anyone watch Desperate Housewives? Those women make me wanna wish that I never created Eve!

  71. M says:

    Sorry, about that. I clicked before I was finished. Gotta wear those bifocals more often. Short version…..once the “church” starts winning some of the battles, as they already have, there is no way you can ever win because the power base is too large and to overwhelming.

  72. Ethan says:

    Thanks Mahmood and M for your kind words!

    Sorry, about that. I clicked before I was finished. Gotta wear those bifocals more often. Short version…..once the “church” starts winning some of the battles, as they already have, there is no way you can ever win because the power base is too large and to overwhelming.

    The Church only holds power over people who have been conditioned not to think (either through fear of temporal punisment or Divine punishment). The first cracks in the facade of the Roman Church occured when the Bible was translated into the local vernacular, so that anyone could read it. Protestantism started up when folks realized that the Bible did not support the Roman vision of Christianity.

    So what of Islam?

    Koranic Arabic is dense, complex, and incoherent at times. Most Muslims cannot even read it correctly since Arabic isn’t their native language.

    So where is the Gutenberg of Islam? When will the Koran be translated officially? It has! But since the original language is bizaare and unfinished in a lot of places, interpretations are liberally added in many translations to give verses flavor.

    And a big problem comes about because when people DO read the Koran in their translations, they can be persuaded to see whatever the translator wants. Classical Arabic, unlike Latin, is a poet’s language, filled with inferences, not a scientific one with complex declination.

    I will pose this – only when ‘rational’ thought takes over the Middle East will there be a chance for forward motion. ‘Emotional’ thought has led only to blind violence in that part of the world since well before Mohammed made it religious.

  73. Anonymous says:

    As a standard bearer yourself, you crossed the no man zone on few occasions, were a very sharp shooter, scored perfect hit, and returned to base with spoils to the love and cheers of many and the chagrin of select few. Say few months later, heavens forbid, a chagrined inner circle decides enough is enough with this whole free wheeling business and baits mtv to cross the broder again for it to leap to throwing him and loved ones out of site, sight, business and schools a la 80’s and 90’s. A thoughtful soul pays a visit and poses the hindsight question: how did you manage to screw it all up? mr.

  74. Jay Jerome says:

    “Would they mind if I used it with this article do you think?”

    They encourage you to use it. There’s a link at the bottom-right side of the cartoon, click it, and you can copy the code to post a thumbnail of the cartoon.

  75. Loki says:

    Is this person worth being called a leader? One that cannot even envisage the possible scale of retaliation of a strong enemy in response to an act of war by kidnapping combatants?

    I don’t agree with this statement. Hizbollah have kidnapped Israeli soldiers on other occasions and have used them for prisoner swaps. This invasion was planned by Israel, the soldiers provided a convenient excuse. If the soldiers were the real reason, they would still be fighting. Also admitting that he would not have dont it had he known the outcome is not a fault, its honesty. I have issues with Hizbollah as a whole but this guy has more b@lls than the other arab leaders combined.

  76. chan'ad says:

    Ethan said:

    I will pose this – only when ‘rational’ thought takes over the Middle East will there be a chance for forward motion. ‘Emotional’ thought has led only to blind violence in that part of the world since well before Mohammed made it religious.

    Thank you Ethan for solving the conundrum of the Middle East. Rational thought! Who would have guessed that rational thinking would solve the problem? Not me. I, along with all my friends in the Middle East, have always been arch-supporters of irrational thought until now. I and the rest of the Middle East look forward to being taught this strange and mysterious idea known as “rational thought”.

    Sound familiar? Lord Cromer as quoted by Said in Orientalism:

    The European is a close reasoner; his statements of fact are devoid of any ambiguity; he is a natural logician, albeit he may not have studied logic; he is by nature sceptical and requires proof before he can accept the truth of any proposition; his trained intelligence works like a piece of mechanism. The mind of the Oriental, on the other hand, like his picturesque streets, is eminently wanting in symmetry. His reasoning is of the most slipshod description. Although the ancient Arabs acquired in a somewhat higher degree the science of dialectics, their descendants are singularly deficient in the logical faculty. They are often incapable of drawing the most obvious conclusions from any simple premises of which they may admit the truth. Endeavor to elicit a plain statement of facts from any ordinary Egyptian. His explanation will generally be lengthy, and wanting in lucidity. He will probably contradict himself half-a-dozen times before he has finished his story. He will often break down under the mildest process of cross-examination….

  77. mahmood says:

    Anon, good advice, thanks, I shall keep it in mind. However, that could happen even without me taking prisoners or crossing lines!

  78. An American friend qouted the news ‘Nassrallah didn’t think….”, and asked me if deny Hezbollah is behind the craziness….My Answer to him was:

    No winners in wars, yes, I agree with that.. I see why America said NO to stopping it, to the UN, EU, Asia, Americas, Arab/Islamic World, and the American People!!

    I have said before that I don’t support their first-action; but whether it’s a right or a wrong decision from their part, everybody cannot deny their right of doing it!!
    If padducans occupy Murray farms and keeps thousands of murrians as prisoners; Murrians have the right to fight back, whether it’s the right way or not…

    Only a naive would think that what caused this craziness is the Hezbolla’s act; this act was used as a cause; but this craziness has been there for a decade! If you listen to Galloway’s answer to Skynews, you’d easily undertand this: Israel was forced out of most of Lebanon in 2000, and is still their, and resistance to it is just legitimate! What Israel’s offense was a rehabilitation to their defeat in 2000; and to return the prestige to of the invincible-army…

    Israel’s actions, that’s been called “self-defense” is the unjustifiable on all aspects; because its “actions” cannot be considered “actions-back/defense!!” Lebanese actions are the “Actions-back/defense” nonethless, even if it seems like actions!
    If you read Olmert’s strategy and announcement everyday of the war, the only term you can give is “Terrorism” to their actions.. Terrorism’s Defintion? go dictionary.com: “Mass-destroying a country to change Lebanese mind on hezbollah,” is like “mass-destroying the world trade center to change Americans minds on Israel!!” Fighting civilians, to create horror, and get to what you want is exactly what they did, and exactly what you understand and don’t wanna admit.. Not to forget the illegal cluster bombs that nobody talks about!!!..

    My justifications are valid; but regardless of how hard I try, a pro-Israel doesn’t listen because his/her mind is locked with one idea, and wants it through!
    monline.wordpress.com

  79. Jasra-Jedi says:

    chan’ad .. very funny! made me laugh.

    ethan, m .. it will happen. its human nature. it wont happen in the next decade, but it might happen in the next few centuries. the mosque will evolve from where it is on the sideline to becoming center stage in politcs to being sidelined again.

    mahmood .. its too early to tell whether nasrallah won or lost. its too early to tell whether he changed anything on the ground or not. this is not over. this was just a ‘mezze’, a few appetizers. the real issue is iran vs israel. watch this space.

  80. billT says:

    So who benefits? Lebanon? No. Israel? No. Hizbullah? No, they might be popular, but their neighborhood got blown to bits. I guess its the undertakers and funeral parlors.

    Lets see. Here in the US those who own stock in munitions companys. Boy those cluster bombs are good for business.

  81. Anonymous says:

    one needs to put the “dots” on the letters, as we say in arabic. Isreal is a racist, Fascist country, it does not care who dies, and does not care what happened in lebanon. One thing, for sure, they learnt the lesson very well. They now know that arabs are different. It was a hard war, but we came out with our heads high up. Everyone who wants to stay under the blanket, or with the classic music on, stay as you are. For the those who want to put an end to all the tragic and horrific life our people in Lebanon and Palestine, i say, go for it.

    Let us rebuild Lebanon now, let us learn from our mistakes. and the most important lesson to learn is not to think that the US or the Zionists are our friends. let us learn who are our enemies. The weapons we buy everyday, the money we spend on “strategic plans” should not be spent on suppressing our own citizens, and on neutralising the whole country, like what is happening in Bahrain for the last century.

  82. Ethan says:

    Odd that I’ve never read anything orientalist and I’ve come to a similar conclusion.

    I mean, seriously. Having looked at the news over the past years, there’s only one real solution: Government sponsored air conditioning EVERYWHERE. Desert heat makes people crazy. 😛

  83. Ibn says:

    Ethan,

    Classical Arabic, unlike Latin, is a poet’s language, filled with inferences, not a scientific one with complex declination.

    Ethan, I fail to understand your statement. Are you claiming that it is impossible to create a rational argument in the language of classical Arabic? That is, if someone decided to prove that 1+1=2 in classical Arabic, it would be impossible for him?

    -Ibn

  84. Anonymous says:

    Holy shit the yids dropped cluster bombs. Talk about dirty play, huh?!

  85. milter says:

    I just wonder how sincere and honest Nasrallah really is.

    Let me repeat Mahmood’s quotations from BBC:

    We did not think that there was a 1% chance that the kidnapping would lead to a war of this scale and magnitude,” Sheikh Nasrallah said.

    “Now you ask me if this was 11 July and there was a 1% chance that the kidnapping would lead to a war like the one that has taken place, would you go ahead with the kidnapping?

    “I would say no, definitely not, for humanitarian, moral, social, security, military and political reasons.”

    And yet, how does he imagine ever to achive this:

    One of the central reasons for creating Hizbullah was to challenge the Zionist program in the region. Hizbullah still preserves this principle, and when an Egyptian journalist visited me after the liberation and asked me if the destruction of Israel and the liberation of Palestine and Jerusalem were Hizbullah’s goal, I replied: “That is the principal objective of Hizbullah, and it is no less sacred than our [ultimate] goal.

    …found in this link:
    http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=7&x_issue=11&x_article=1158

    Does he think he can do that without any bloodshed? Are the chances less than 1%, or have I misunderstood him?

    Nasrallah is definitely a leader. The only question is, what will be the consequences of following a leader like him.

  86. M says:

    JJ,
    “it will happen. its human nature..

    I sincerely hope you are right and hope the passage is a non violent one, but I don’t think so. It is also, unfortunately, human nature for some to seek power and money. When the mosque becomes the state, the ultimate mix of religion, politics, power and money will force some to do what ever they have to do to never relinquish that power. Since revolution is not an option, you might want to add a few centuries to your calculations.

  87. Sadek says:

    Question to Anonymous – what makes you think that the Israelis will not bomb out of existence whatever is rebuilt.
    Nasrallah kind of reminds me of the late President Nasser, when he justified his defeat in ’67 by saying that he was expecting them to come from the east, but they came from the west with their air attack. Same logic, Nasrallah in this case did not expect the Israelis to react in this “brutal, inhuman manner”. Odd, he must have seen the Israeli reaction in Gaza, to figure out that they wouldn’t be using kid gloves.
    As for holding our head’s high, perhaps we should tell it to the thousand people, including the many children, that’s its ok, they made the rest of us proud. Dream on.

  88. Jay Jerome says:

    “It was a hard war”

    Really?

    Tell me, Annonymous, are you, as Arnold says, a ‘girly boy?’ Did you momma make you take ballet lessons?

    It wasn’t a hard war, it was a skirmish. Nasrallah can pretend he won a public relations advantage — but in fact, Israel suffered minor damage; Hezbollah (their homes, neighborhood, resources, lives) suffered ten times as much damage.

    Who’s paying to rebuild the destruction? Hezbollah? No, Iran. And if Hezbollah doesn’t disarm, guess what — more sound PR bites for Nesrallah, amid more rubble when Isreal levels them again, and more money out of Iran’s coffers. And more Southern Lebanese dead, because Nasrallah is a religious idiot who believes his god wants him to destroy Israel.

    Muslims should do what the Russians did when they abandoned Communism — forget about stupid ideologies, concentrate on a living a decent life with the accouterments of modernity — which means nice clothes, tasty food, access to high-speed electronics, and the availability of good-looking woman who like sex and don’t hide their bodies under dark hoods and dresses that look like blankets.

  89. mahmood says:

    Jay you started ok, but ended with unneeded insults. That negates your arguments, I am sure you realise. Unless of course that was you intentions all along?

  90. Jasra-Jedi says:

    M:

    You state: ” I hope the passage is a non violent one, but I don’t think so. ”

    It won’t be. The passage of any type of governance into another form is usually painful and there is almost always bloodshed.

    You state: “It is also, unfortunately, human nature for some to seek power and money. When the mosque becomes the state, the ultimate mix of religion, politics, power and money will force some to do what ever they have to do to never relinquish that power. Since revolution is not an option, you might want to add a few centuries to your calculations. ”

    How long did it take for the Vatican to cease being the end all and be all of political leadership? Religion is an opium for the masses; as shown by Constantine when he decided to die as a Christian in order to avoid a power clash by embracing Christianity. That was hard nosed politics, and not a ‘seeing of the divine light’.

    Islam is younger than Christianity. It took Europe a significant amount of bloodhsed to separate Church from State. And only in the recent few years has there been the first steps to unify a Euopre that does not fall under a relgious symbol.

    America hasnt had to deal with that issue as of yet, so she is not a good model.

    As for Judaism .. well, the recent establishment of Israel as a Jewish state kills any call for separation of synagogue and state.

    The Arabs are in their darkest ages now. They will, eventually, come out of it. But only after they deal with these fundamental issues of governance. Which includes relgion. It will come. It took others long enough. We will get there eventually. The moslem arab world is only 1500 years old .. about 600 years younger than the christian world.

    So, yes, you are right. It will take a few centuries. But it is not impossible.

  91. Anonymous says:

    Chan’ad,

    That was delightful. Thank you ;^)

    Scott

    Ethan, rationalize _this_:

    http://today.reuters.com/News/CrisesArticle.aspx?storyId=N30237962

  92. Anonymous says:

    Chan’ad,

    That was delightful. Thank you ;^)

    Ethan, rationalize _this_:

    http://today.reuters.com/News/CrisesArticle.aspx?storyId=N30237962

    Scott

  93. Aliandra says:

    It would be a tragedy if the Islamic world had to repeat the mistakes of the Christian world. You’d think humanity would learn from experience.

    The Vatican wasn’t really the end-all and be-all of political power. It was one of the contenders. Throughout European history there was always a struggle between the two great powers– the Church and the kings. People had to answer to two authorities, the worldly and the religious, each one trying to use the other to achieve its ends. Secularism was the removal of that influence.

    America started off as a secular state, so it doesn’t have that issue at all. There are probably a few other countries too.

    I doubt it will take a few centuries for the Islamic world to get its act together. This is a different age, and the forces of globalization and the inability for dictators to successfully censor all communication will drive reform a lot quicker. But bloodshed is inevitable.

  94. Jasra-Jedi says:

    Aliandra,

    America is a secular country? Errm … “In God we Trust”.

    Oh, and what is this “Islamic” world you are referring to? I was talking about the Arab world to get its act together. I dont want to see an Islamic world.

  95. M says:

    JJ,

    “for Judaism .. well, the recent establishment of Israel as a Jewish state kills any call for separation of synagogue and state.”

    True for right now; who knows with time. I really don’t know that much about Judaism or Israel for that matter, but I do get the sense that Israelies enjoy many of the basic human rights the rest of us do and that they are not in fear of their government. Seems to work for them. Anybody disagee; feel free.

    “But only after they deal with these fundamental issues of governance………………………. But it is not impossible. ”

    OK. So here is your chance to make me understand; serious question. I freely admit my conclusions are subjective based on my limited knowledge, but I am not sure you can get there from here. From what little I know of the Islamic revolution in Iran, freedom of speech, protests and using the “electorial process such as they choose to call it” doesn’t get it. How are these changes going to occur in the Islamic world. Going to stage a revolution, hope they throw in the towel or ask them nicely to give up? Seriously how is change going to come?

    We have just witnessed a unelected religious leader stage a conflict in Lebanon that could have torn the ME apart; and because of his efforts, he’ll probably get elected president for life. Doesn’t bode well for progress and seems like a step backwards to me.

  96. Anonymous says:

    Jasra

    The US is a secular state in the terms there is no NATIONAL STATE SPONSORED RELIGION.

  97. Aliandra says:

    Jasra;

    There has never been an official religion in the US. No official religion is written into the American constitution (in fact, God is not even mentioned). There has never been a state sponsored church and no church gets financial support from the government. Nor is anyone forced to follow a religion. That’s why it’s a secular country.

    In God We Trust was a motto that came out in 1956. It had been on US coins since the Civil War. No one is forced to follow it.

    The Pakistani world needs to get it’s act together too.

  98. jasra jedi says:

    Aliandra .. I was being silly. I realize full well that the original Europeans who went to the US to begin with went to avoid fear of persecution .. religious of course. And yes, the Pakistanis need to get their act together. As do the Americans.

    M .. I dont know how change is going to come about in the ‘Islamic’ world. I dont believe that there is an ‘Islamic’ world per se. Nor do I think any such world will ever exist because of the very very deep differences between sects insofar as they deal with governing laws.

    The Arab world, or the world of Arabic speaking peoples, has lots of issues. Primairly, the one of identity. And the struggle with religion is the struggle of where this primary identity is derived from.

    I am not Lebanese, but let me ask you this question. Why is Nasrallah viewed as a ‘religious leader’ any more or any less than, say, Elie Hobeika? (If you don’t know who he is, google Sabra and Shatila and look for the link between him and Sharon.) Is your issue with Nasrallah that he is a Moslem? Or that he is asking for a larger seat at the table and has foriegn policy views that you dont agree with? Much like Ben Gurion pre 1948, who was also a renegade ‘religious’ leader classified as a terrorist ..

    And, I don’t think that Nasrallah’s shenanigans are over. There is more to come. *sigh*

  99. Anonymous says:

    check this out!

  100. Sadek says:

    Ali Jiffri looks too much like one of these sleek, snake medicine preachers one sees on American fundamentalist channels – admittedly he has a turban. Same coin, but two sides.

  101. Aliandra says:

    Jasra, you’ve got to put those little smiley faces in when being silly
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    And yes, we Americans also need to get our act together, in too many ways to list here.

  102. Jasra-Jedi says:

    Aliandra ..

    Too right. I do apologize.

    In God and Mac smiley’s we trust … 😉

  103. Oren says:

    Ghazi Hamad, chief spokesman for the Hamas government also showed remarkable frankness when he said that “Gazans should stop laying the blame for their mistakes at the door of the Israeli occupation”.

    BBC story

    A little self criticism is good. It happens all the time in Israel (perhaps even too much). I’m glad to see more of on the other side. No, I don’t enjoy it out of some childing gloating – I see it as a true positive sign for everyone.

  104. M says:

    Jasra,

    “Why is Nasrallah viewed as a ‘religious leader’ any more or any less than, say, Elie Hobeika? (If you don’t know who he is, google Sabra and Shatila and look for the link between him and Sharon.) Is your issue with Nasrallah that he is a Moslem? Or that he is asking for a larger seat at the table and has foriegn policy views that you dont agree.”

    I didn’t see any smiley faces; is this a trick question?

    I view him as a religious leader, because he is.

    The issue is not about Elie Hobeika, Sharon or anyone else. It is about Nasrallah. He is the one who brings God into the equation. The fact that he is a Moslem is irrelevant; he could be from the religion of green elephants for all I care. We are dealing with human beings whose potential for abuse and control is unacceptable to me because of the mix of politics and religion and the depth of emotions they reach in people. I don’t find Nasrallah much different than a Pat Robertson with the exception that Pat Robertson’s “church” hasn’t acted on behalf of the government for the last 20+ years, couldn’t con anyone into electing him into office, and the first time he lobs a missle into Canada he’s going to get his sorry butt arrested as he should.

    Asking for a larger seat at the table? Guess you could call it that. Hey let me sneak and peak around and do my OBL video routines about the way life should be while my home boys tear up the countryside. I’m just doing it for your own good cause God’s on our side even though the bad guys think he’s on their side too. That is far from asking, and Nasrallah is unelected by the people of Lebanon. Yet he choses to make decisions on their behalf while he tries to expand his powerbase at their expense. He has placed himself and his organization above the people and taken the law into his own hands and used religion to do it. I think he is dangerous.

    By the way, I found no references in the three articles I read on Hobeika regarding him being a religious leader. It appeared to me he was perhaps more of an opportunist switching loyalities to accommodate his drive to seek power rather than espousing his religious beliefs as justification for what he did.

  105. Anonymous says:

    Im not

  106. Nayef says:

    Mahmood,
    It seems that you are either reading selectively or you did not watch the actual interview from beggening to end. If you did you wouldve heard Sayed Hassan Nasrallah’s reasoning behind his answer. Before answering the question he went on to explain how it was revealed by western journalists that this full scale war against Hizbollah had been planned and was going to take place with all certainty during the first week of Sept reglardless of whether there was an attack or not.

    Now not knowing this plan, Hizbollah saw an oppertunity on the 11th of July to capture two soldiers and use them as bargaining chips to free some of the thousands that are held captive in the Israeli prisons. He even went on to explain that they had realized earlier oppertunities to take civilians but didnt attack because he wanted soldiers.

    Once this happened, Israel took approval from certain key allies to move this pre planned war, that was supposed to take place in Sept, to now. The Israeli army then waged this campaign hoping to crush Hizbollah within days but found out that although they were the stongest military in the region by far, and supported by the strongest super in the world they couldnt defeat such a risilient people!!!!!

    Sayed Nasrallah goes on to explain that his assessment, along with all of his generals, of such an attack showed that there was not 1% that a war of this magnitude would be a result of kidnapping two sldiers. Had it not been for this pre planned attack by Israel none of this madness wouldve happened. Therefore, for this reason he went ahead with the operation in hopes of being able to free some prisoners.

    So in reality, this war was going to happen… It was just a matter of time!!!!

    We should all show our support for such leaders, if it wasnt for Sayed Hassan Nasrallah we would all be under the mercy of Israel, whether directly or indirectly!!

  107. M says:

    Nayef,

    Are you listening to yourself?

    You are telling me that Hezbollah didn’t know in July that they were going to be in some all out war in September, but they knew they would eventually so they kidnapped some soldiers just because they could and might need them down the road? That’s Nasrallah’s logic and yours based on some perceived threat of war from Israel in September based on some western journalists “reports”. Good enough for me. Pretty darned convenient he just happened to have some western journalist to back him up. Who was that source again by the way?

    You have convinced me that the logic Nasrallah uses in making decisions is enough to want him ruling the country because his standards are so high. Someone is going to attack me sometime so let me do something to assure he will and then blame him for being the aggressor because he probably was going to be an aggressor again someday. Sure people will buy that. Worked in America, so we might as well try it. Wow.

  108. Nayef says:

    M,

    Im sure that if it was you or one of your loved ones that was held captive in the Israeli prisons you would be very appreciative of Sayed Hassan Nasrallahs efforts.

    And to answer your question, the attack on the two soldiers was not a pre-emptive strike, in other words they didnt attack saying “lets attack before they do” these are cowardly tactics adopted by the US… The sole purpose of the attack was to ensure the freedom of the prisoners.

    I dont believe for a second that the kidnapping of two soldiers can spark such a retaliation, and history has proven it. You have to be a fool to believe such stories!!!!

  109. jasra jedi says:

    M:

    Youstate “It is about Nasrallah. He is the one who brings God into the equation.”

    But, so did Ben Gurion.

    He was a big beleiver in God and what God has in store for the Jews. He thought Zionism was mandated by God. And he did whatever he had to do to push his vision. Hence, the Irgun. hence 1948. At the time, he was an unelected leader. In fact, he was branded a terrrrist. Much like Nasrallah today.

    Sharon built on what Ben Gurion did. Hence 1982. And yes, Hobeika thought God was on the side of the Christians in the Lebanese war. And, as a true Middle Easterner, beleived in he idiom that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Therefore, he worked with the Israelis to get rid of the Palesitnains.

    So, if you have an issue with Nasrallah on the basis of him being a religious leader, then by rational logic, you have to take issue with Ben Gurion and the whole concept of the creation of the State of Israel, which was done on religious grounds. And conceptually speaking, every Israeli Prime Minister is a religious leader. My point being simply that if 1948 was an event that was justified in the name of religion, then everything that follows from it will be tainted by religion.

    Your second point about legitimacy and elections. Hizbollah did win seats in parliament. And arent there two cabinet ministers? So, … I am not sure what your point is here. Hizbollah is a legitmate party. Nasrallah is a legitimate leader. And why take issue with Nasrallah speaking for the Lebanese government and not with the illicit and complicit alliance between the US and Syria over Hariri’s death? (Who, at the time, was a legitimate member of the Lebanese government?)

    You cant have one rule for Nasrallah, and another for Syria and a third for the US/Israel. If you apply the yardstick of legimitacy – then you have to go all the way back to pre 1948. And what constituted legitimacy.

    Trust me, there will be no peace in the wretched Middle East until the Israeli-Palestinian issue is resolved. And given the fact that the issue is firmly planted in the quagmire of relgious conflict, the solutions will always be cloaked in relgion.

    You and I both know that the real issue is Power. Relgion is just what the silly fools are willing to die for. Whether its orthodox crazy jewish settlers who ‘take over’ Arab land and guard it with their guns, or fundamentalist crazy arab moslems who do stupid suicide bombings.

    It has to stop on both sides.

  110. jasra jedi says:

    M:

    You state: “The issue is not about Elie Hobeika, Sharon or anyone else. It is about Nasrallah. He is the one who brings God into the equation. The fact that he is a Moslem is irrelevant; he could be from the religion of green elephants for all I care.”

    How does Nasrallah compare to Ben Gurion pre 1948? Both men of God, both with a vision, and both trying to influence the powers that be during their times. Both had control of their own para military organizations. The differences between them are two fold:
    1. Their ideologys clash; Nasrallah is anto Zionist Shia Moslem, Ben Gurion was a Zionist Jew.
    2. Lebanon exists as a state in Nasrallah’s world of 2006. But, when Ben Gurion was around, there was no Israel. So, it wasnt even a state within a state, it was a state unto itself who drove the Brits crazy until they classified Ben Gurion as a terrorist.

    Why is this state of affairs unacceptable in 2006, when the precedent was set in 1948?

    (As for Elie Hobeika, Sharon, and every other player in Lebanon from Walid Junblatt to General Aoun etc; they all represent religious minoroties and took positions on the basis of their political religious affiliation. They weren’t ‘men of cloth’ per se, but, they used religion to maintain their staying power and their position. And they got the poor fools beneath them to become the zealots that would kill in their name. Or the name of the Bible. Or the Qoran. Or, in the case of the orthodox settlers, the Torah).

    EVERYONE in this conflict is tainted by religion. EVERYONE. But, as I tried (maybe not very well) to show above, this conflict is not about relgion. Its about zionsim. And, unfortunately, Zionism is Jewish based. So, any opposition to Zionism has got to be faith based. But, the faith is the cloak that is worn to protect/cover/hide the underlying issue : which is the existance and implantation of Zionism in foriegn territory.

  111. M says:

    Nayef,

    “I dont believe for a second that the kidnapping of two soldiers can spark such a retaliation”

    Well, it did so you’d be as wrong as Nasrallah and his generals; seems to me you’d have to be a fool to believe Nasrallah’s declarations of stupidity and still trust him with your life.

  112. Will says:

    According to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs there were at least 17 violent confrontations with Hezballah between May 2000 and June 2006.

  113. Nayef says:

    Thank you very much Will!! And none of them went as far as an all out war killing thousands, the confrontations were so minimal that you probably never even knew about them. The only reason this one went so far was because it was inevitable regardless. You might think that none of them began with kidnapping of soldiers, well guess what??? They did!!! And most of them ended with deaths on both sides. But is that enough to spark such a tremendous war?? No. Kidnapping two soldiers shouldnt.

    lets not deviate from the point of my initial response, which was that Sayed Hassan Nasrallah’s assessment of such an operation would be correct under normal circumstances. Meaning that threre was not 1% that his attack would spark such a reaction from Israel if this attack wasnt already planned. Sorry for repeating so many times but it seems that it is so difficult to understand. If there was an inevitable attack, that means that there is no way of stopping it!!!!

    Sayed Hassan Nasrallah is human, he doesnt have the ability to know the unknown, and he was man enough to admit that if he knew that it would have caused such destruction he wouldnt have gone ahead with it.

  114. Will says:

    I guess that it is an issue of accumulation. The proverbial straw. How many times can you poke the tiger with a stick before he gets up and rips your arm off.

    If Nasrallah didnt anticipate a threshold of Israeli tolerance then he is remarkably short sighted. Isnt it like saying ‘Well I ran through that stop sign ten times before and never got flattened by a cement truck.’

    I read this on Michael Yon’s site which he attributes to Ahmed Rashid.

    “The new jihadi groups have no economic manifesto, no plan for better governance and the building of political institutions, and no blue-print for creating democratic participation in the decision-making process of the future Islamic states. They depend on a single charismatic leader, an amir, rather than a more democratically constituted organization or party for governance. They believe that the character, piety, and purity of their leader rather than his political abilities, education, or experience will enable him to lead the new society.”

    Assessing someones leadership is obviously dependant on what you expect from a leader.

  115. Nayef says:

    Will,

    The fact that you are naming Hizbollah a “Jihadi group” goes to show that you really dont know what your talking about. I’d love to know where you got that excerpt from, I really dont think its refering to Hizbollah.

    Hizbollah is a legitimate party in the Lebanese government.

    I suggest you do a little more research on who Hizbollah is and what they have accomplished, please!!!

  116. Nayef says:

    Will,
    For your info.

    Hezbollah participates in the Parliament of Lebanon.[72] In 1992, it participated in Lebanese elections for the first time, winning 12 out of 128 seats in parliament. It won 10 seats in 1996, and 8 in 2000. In the general election of 2005, it won 14 seats nationwide (of 128 total), and an Amal-Hezbollah alliance won all 23 seats in Southern Lebanon. The bloc it forms with others, the Resistance and Development Bloc, took 27.3% of the seats (see Lebanese general election, 2005). Also When municipal elections were held in 1998 this party won control of about 15 percent of contested municipalities. With a proven track record by the second round of elections, in spring 2004, the party won control of 21 percent of the municipalities. [67]

    Hezbollah is a minority partner in the current Cabinet, holding two (and endorsing a third) cabinet positions[73] [74] in the Lebanese government of July 2005.
    Mohamed Fneish was appointed Energy and Water Minister in the cabinet and has been quoted as saying “We are a political force that took part in the polls under the banner of defending the resistance and protecting Lebanon and got among the highest level of popular backing … Hezbollah’s resistance (against Israel) does not in any way contradict its political role. If joining the government and parliament is a national duty, then so is defending the country.”[75]
    Hezbollah’s political success is regarded as a model for other Islamic parties in the Middle East like Hamas and United Iraqi Alliance; its actions are thought to provide strong clues as to how these other emerging Islamist forces might behave.[67]

    The government of Lebanon has accepted Al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya as a legitimate resistance organisation.[13] The Prime Minister of Lebanon said that “the continued presence of Israeli occupation of Lebanese lands in the Shebaa Farms region is what contributes to the presence of Hezbollah weapons. The international community must help us in (getting) an Israeli withdrawal from Shebaa Farms so we can solve the problem of Hezbollah’s arms;”.[76]

  117. M says:

    Nayef,

    “Thank you very much Will!!”

    You seem to think this covers your position of why it was perfectly normal for Nasrallah to not have expected a strong response. These are the comments from the Canadian UN advisor that was killed regarding the incidents that had taken place over the last nine months.
    • The first was 21 Nov 05, when the Hezbollah tried to capture IDF soldiers from an IDF observation position overlooking the Wazzani river near the town of Ghajjar on the Blue Line. This action was unsuccessful and resulted in the deaths of the Hezbollah raiding force.
    • On 01 Feb 06, a young shepherd boy was killed by an IDF patrol near an abandon goat farm called Bastarra. Hassan Nasrallah (note: Hezbollah’s leader) vowed that there would be consequences to this action. Team Sierra was tasked on 2 Feb 06, to assist in the investigation of the incident, and we sent one team to do so while the other team conducted its normal mobile patrolling activities.
    • On 03 Feb 06, a limited engagement took place initiated by the Hezbollah on several of the IDF defensive positions located in occupied Lebanon.
    • Then on 28 May, the Islamic Jihad (PLO) fired rockets from South Lebanon, into Israel, which elicited an immediate aerial bombardment of positions near our patrol base and in the Bekka valley.

    So Israel didn’t turn it’s back on incidents, and they were not, in fact, frequent particularly for the new government. You would have me believe that Nasrallah and his generals never thought they would get such a response. I would wonder what they were thinking with essentially a new government in charge with Sharon gone. How much of an idiot do you have to be to not even consider the possibility that things might get out of hand. I guess it doesn’t matter if you are willing to gamble with people’s lives.

    “The only reason this one went so far was because it was inevitable regardless.”

    Again, Nayef, that is nothing more than your opinion. While it may not have been sufficent reason for Israel to strike back in your mind, it obviously was to those in power in Israel because that is what happened.

    There is no way Nasrallah can justify his actions. Hezbollah made an intentional decision to escalate the situation. Hezbollah iniated the conflict. Hezbollah, a minority in the Lebanonese government at the moment, decided to act on behalf of all Lebanonese. Hezbollah did not obtain the release of any prisoners. Hezbollah is responsible for the deaths of many Lebanonese and Israeli citizens. Hezbollah used civilians as human shields. Hezbollah assured this one was “inevitable” by it’s actions. It’s fine if you want to give Nasrallah a pass, but raise the bar for anyone else.

  118. milter says:

    Nayef,

    I know this is a debate between Will and you, but I couldn’t help reacting to this comment from you:

    Hezbollah’s political success is regarded as a model for other Islamic parties in the Middle East like Hamas and United Iraqi Alliance

    You seem to agree with that statement, but what is it in their political program you find positive and worth copying for others?

    And as for this comment:

    The fact that you are naming Hizbollah a “Jihadi group” goes to show that you really dont know what your talking about.

    Hizbollah’s spiritual leader is Sheik Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah. Here is a quotation from him. :

    “What martyrdom is greater than making yourself a human bomb detonating it among the enemy? What spiritualism is greater than this spiritualism in which a person loses all feeling of his body and life for the sake of his cause and mission?”

    That sounds very much like the words of a jihadist. Or, maybe I have misunderstood his words?

  119. Nayef says:

    Milter,

    Hizbollah is a “resistance group” created for the sole purpose of freeing all occupied lands. It was created after the Israeli invasion

    No you havent misunderstood his words Milton, however jihad or martydom is the way in which a small resistance group like Hiszbollah is able to defeat such a great army like the IDF. How else would you suggest they fight against such an army which has support and enjoys US technologies!??

    These people are willing to DIE for the sake of freeing there lands!!! Theres nothing wrong with that.

  120. Will says:

    Nayef.

    I took that excerpt from here http://www.michaelyon-online.com/wp/jihad.htm

    You are right in saying that the author was not referring to Hezballah. I would say that the quote does apply to them.

    Tell me how the ‘liberation’ of the Shebaa farms is the most important thing for the people of Lebanon. How many schools can you build for the price of 10000 rockets. Nasrallah’s guiding lights are pride and hatred not peace and prosperity.

  121. Abukhalid says:

    Nasrallah is speaking again in an interview with Al Safeer Newspaper:

    ان اولمرت يحاول الاستفادة من هذه الجملة، وانا لا امانع بان يستفيد اولمرت منه. وانه اذا ما خيرنا بين رئيس حكومة احمق وغبي وضعيف يستمر في إدارة هذا الكيان وبين رئيس حكومة بديل عنه قوي ومقتدر فنحن نفضل بقاء رئيس الحكومة الغبي والاحمق.
    واذا كان بعض كلامي المقتطع يمكن ان يستفيد منه اولمرت فانا لا امانع في ذلك.
    لكن أنا آسف من الذين يفهمون اللغة العربية جيدا ويفهمون ان هذه الجملة جاءت في سياق موضوع متكامل وانه لا يجوز اقتطاعها عن سياقها الطبيعي، كيف قاموا باجتزاء هذه الجملة وتوظيفها بما يخدم قراءتهم غير الصحيحة لما جرى في لبنان. هذا مؤسف ولا اريد ان اتحدث عن أكثر من أسف.

    It’s along interview BTW

    http://www.assafir.com/iso/today/front/493.html

  122. mahmood says:

    fascinating. thank you Abukhalid.

  123. milter says:

    Nayef, you wrote:

    …. created for the sole purpose of freeing all occupied lands.

    What area do “all occupied lands” consist of? Does it also include Israel?

    You also wrote:

    a small resistance group like Hiszbollah is able to defeat such a great army like the IDF.

    What do you mean by “defeat”?

    Does it mean killing a few Israelis now and then, or does it mean wiping out the entire IDF completely?

    And don’t you find the words of Fadlallah a bit chilling? And the way Hizbollah glorifies suicide bombers on Al Manar TV, even among children?

    Suppose everybody on earth decided to adopt his philosophy as a way of settling disputes. How much happiness do you think that would create?

  124. khalid says:

    good thing i got a look at a nice site like this one but what i cant get is why the ppl that are saying that Hezbollah is to blame forgot THAT ISRAEL IS NOT A COUNTRY the Medea got that stuck to your heads good god ppl I’m from Palestine and i never in my life set foot on my home land so don’t go and say Israel is not to blame thy are the blame thy stole are land and killed are children thy used the 2 captives as an alibiy to kill ppl that’s all

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