By Tariq Alhomayed
Tuesday was a day that was full of news from Lebanon, starting with the battle
over the "tree" in southern Lebanon between the Lebanese and Israeli armies
which caused casualties on both sides, and ending with the speech by the
Hezbollah leader that implied a lot about Israel, both internally and
externally. Therefore, what is the most important implication of what happened
on that day?
In the beginning, and for whatever reason, the initial reaction to this day -
whether with regards to Hassan Nasrallah's speech, or the incident between the
Lebanese and Israeli armies with regards to the tree - is that the Lebanese
army has taken the lead from Hezbollah, or that Hezbollah has slowed down and
finds itself in second place, or describe this in whatever way that you will.
This was something that was clearly evident in Hassan Nasrallah's speech which
justified - at length - Hezbollah's decision not to enter the fray and help the
Lebanese army, while he also promised that the resistance will cut off the
Israeli hand that reaches out to attack Lebanon, but "next time."
The other issue with regards to Nasrallah's speech was what he said about the
special international tribunal that is investigating the assassination of
former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri; for although Nasrallah welcomed the
tripartite Saudi - Syrian - Lebanese summit, his message was clear, which is
that Hezbollah intends to wait and see if this inter-Arab rapprochement will
lead to the disruption of the international tribunal, otherwise something else
will happen. Nasrallah said "we must all cooperate to pacify the situation
until the results of this effort are revealed, and we can build something on
this." In other words, Hezbollah will pacify the situation for a fixed time,
and this is a clear threat, not desire for cooperation and calm!
What confirms this is that Nasrallah's talk about calm was accompanied by his
accusing Israel of being responsible for the Rafiq Hariri assassination. From
this announcement, it is clear that although Nasrallah is talking about calm,
what he really wants to do is back his Lebanese political rivals into a corner,
and prepare the ground - in a demagogic fashion - for the coming stage i.e.
what will happen should the efforts to disrupt the international tribunal fail.
For Nasrallah's accusation of Israel intends to back the Lebanese - and
therefore the Arabs - into a corner; for in the event of the international
tribunal issuing the expected decision accusing Hezbollah [of being responsible
for Rafiq Hariri's assassination] everybody who calls for justice and
cooperation with the tribunal will be portrayed as if they are defending
Israel. This was confirmed by Nasrallah saying "I presume that what I said and
will say about the Israeli issue will not bother anybody, unless they want to
go out and defend Israel." This is a clear plan to cause confusion and fear.
It is also worth noting that Nasrallah said that he will present evidence
proving Israeli's involvement in the Hariri assassination next week. However
the question that must be asked here is: why did Nasrallah wait - keeping hold
of such evidence - without publicly revealing it, especially when the fingers
of accusation were being pointed at Syria? Would it not have been better to
expose the Israelis [prior to now]?
Therefore, the battle of the "tree" and Nasrallah's speech demonstrate that the
situation in Lebanon is heating up, and although the situation has not reached
critical point, the smoke that is being seen there reveals that there is a high
degree of tension within Hezbollah, and that Nasrallah is worried about
everybody in Lebanon. This can be seen in his over-use of the expression "one
of them [the leaders] told me" even when referring to his own friends and allies
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