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Hezbollah's Political Blitzkrieg by Walid Phares

Hezbollah's Political Blitzkrieg

Walid Phares

Many in the media and sectors within public opinion are wondering why isn't the
US able to get a mild French draft of a UN resolution passed quickly via the UN
Security Council? Others are stunned to watch Lebanon's Prime Minister, Fuad
Seniora, crying in front of the Arab League meeting and calling for the
rejection of a strong Multinational Force, caving in to Hezbollah. Commentators
are barely able to decipher why is it that the so-called allies of the US in the
War on Terror, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, are pushing for Israeli
withdrawal, rejecting the multinational force while maintaining the status quo
for Hezbollah. It sounds as if the year 2005-2006 was full of mirages: Cedars
Revolution in Lebanon, free elections, and formation of an anti-Syrian
Government back by the son of the slain PM of Lebanon, Saad Hariri. Que paso?
Who is calling the shots now?

Israel is pounding southern Lebanon and many bridges into rubbles, but Hezbollah
is on a Terror Blitzkrieg, wrecking political havoc inside Lebanon and in the
region. Israel is scientifically winning the military battle and Hezbollah is
crumbling the political future of the War anyway..

Back in April of 2005, while Assad was pulling its hardware back into Syria and
the free world was celebrating the very colorful Cedars Revolution in Beirut,
Hezbollah's counteroffensive was being designed as follow:
1) Absorb the fury of the Lebanese masses but kill their political project
2) Construct the conditions for non disarmament of the militias
3) Penetrate the post Syrian Government and institutions
4) Solidify the bridges to Iran and Syria
4) Begin the Terrorizing of the new Government
5) Sink UNSCR 1559; and at the timing of Nasrallah, trigger a War with Israel
for the ground to shift back to Hezbollah
6) Finally, contain Israel's reactions and crumble the Lebanese government
genius Ahmedinijad-Assad-Nasrallah grand plan: Unfortunately invisible to the
Western decisions makers for a whole year..

And here comes the Hezbollah Blitzkrieg:

a. Luring the Lebanese politicians of the Cedars Revolution into stopping the
demonstrations short of toppling pro-Syrian Emile Lahoud. Hence having Lahoud's
intelligence services protecting the activities of the "axis" (Hezbollah,
Syrians, Iranians, others) in Lebanon. Keeping Lahoud in place secured a
pressure on the Lebanese Army, since the President is the "commander in chief."
First target achieved by July. Brilliant.

b. Running in the legislative elections "before" being disarmed, and with 300
million dollars to spend on voters, Hezbollah and its Amal allies secure 30
members of Parliament. That's the equivalent of the Taliban running for
elections when they were in power, but on a provincial scale. Results: More
Hezbollah MPs enter the new Parliament, supposed to be anti-Syrian. And
incredibly (never seen in any other country), while the resistance to Syria get
a comfortable majority in the assembly 70%), it ends up bringing back pro-Syrian
Nabih Berri as a speaker: Allah knows how this so-called majority shot itself in
the foot twice in one month with maintaining Lahoud and Berri in place. Second
Hezbollah target achieved by early July.

c. Outmaneuvering the Seniora Cabinet by threatening to isolate the Shiia from
the Government if the Hezbollah bloc doesn't obtain 4 ministers. A bloc that can
veto all decisions on Lebanese Army deployment and on disarming of militias. A
high school analyst realizes that Hezbollah has just grabbed the Cabinet
capacity of disarming it! Objective secured by August 2005.

d. Between July and December 2005, the "axis" terror squads assassinate Cedars
Revolution leaders who didn't accept the Hezbollah influence in the Lebanese
Government, among them: Samir Qassir, George Hawi, and particularly Gebran
Tueni, the leading young figure of the Revolution. Other journalists and cadres
were targets of plots, shootings and threats including May Chidiac. Cedars
Revolution beheaded by end of the year.

e. By March 2006, Hassan Nasrallah signs an "agreement of understanding" with
General Michel Aoun, ex anti-Syrian politician, separating his movement from the
pro-Government parties and splitting the Christian community in two camps. The
opposition to Hezbollah was reduced to shambles. Druze leader Walid Jumblat and
few Christian MPs are still firing against Syria and gently against Hezbollah.
Nasrallah accompany his victorious offensives with Iranian funding of many
socioeconomic projects "outside" the traditional Shiite strongholds.

f. By April 2006 Hezbollah's dual Blitz goes faster, as the Government is almost
paralyzed on the implementation of UNSCR 1559. On the one hand Hassan Nasrallah
and his ally Nabih Berri induce the remnants of the anti-Syrian politicians to
sit down around a "dialogue table" to discuss the "future of Lebanon" away from
streets demonstrations. In other words, drop off the Cedars Revolution, i.e.
what made you visible to the international community and let us waste your time
in Byzantine discussions. Hezbollah gained three more precious months.

g. Meanwhile, through the very open Lebanese Syrian borders, Iran sent all the
weapon systems needed by Hezbollah to wage the "deflection war" against Israel.

Nasrallah's Plan A was a limited war against Israel followed by a revolt against
the Seniora Government and its takeover. Israel made it into a longer war. So,
Hezbollah's Plan B is a longer resistance against whatever Israel is cooking,
with still a near future control of the Government. Now the Jihadi Blitz is
provoking regional and international results, or about to.

Hezbollah threatens the Seniora Government of disintegration if it doesn't abide
by its plan. Nasrallah and al Manar speaks of open battle till the end. But the
real plan of the Iranian-Syrian axis is in fact to use the Seniora Government as
a hostage. The seven points plan of the Lebanese cabinet have been approved,
some say suggested by Hezbollah: No deterring-MNF, no chapter 7, no security
council resolution that would disarm the militia, etc. Seniora cries in front of
the Arabs, Nasrallah calmly controls the situation and most Lebanese politicians
have become irrelevant in the equation.

The mostly Sunnis Arab Government hears the Sunni Prime Minister of Lebanon
pleading for his 7 points (Hezbollah recipe to survive and strike back) and
rushes to Manhattan to convince the US and France into watering down the draft.
Ironically, the bombed-into-rubbles Hassan Nasrallah is shelling the UN Security
Council with "Arab diplomats." He knows all too well that, in the absence of the
Cedars Revolution (abandoned by its politicians but still breathing) he is
winning the political offensive. Since no one is opposing his agenda in Lebanon
and as his services have almost controlled the "news rooms" of most Lebanese
media; and as we learn progressively that the Hezb agencies have most messages
of foreign correspondents practically under control, while Jihadi and Oil
influence is widespread in through the contractors of the News Agencies
worldwide, M. Nasrallah is in business. His Blitzkrieg is pushing forward
politically, for now.

Dr Walid Phares is a Senior Fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of
Democracies and a Visiting Fellow with the European Foundation for Democracy. He
most recent book is Future Jihad and he was the author of the memo that
introduced UNSCR 1559 in 2004