Hizbullah Dismisses Talk of War

Hizbullah dismissed the possibility that Israel would risk a war against them. The PM said he'll hold Lebanon responsible for Hizbullah actions.

Nissan Ratzlav-Katz ,

Hizbullah rockets, not worried about war
Hizbullah rockets, not worried about war
Israel news photo: (archive)

Several leaders of the Iranian-controlled Lebanese terrorist organization Hizbullah have bragged about their military capabilities, dismissing the possibility that Israel would risk a war against them. For its part, Israel is intending to hold the Lebanese government responsible for all Hizbullah actions.
Safiyeddine warned Israel that any conflict with his organization at this time would be far worse the Second Lebanon War.

Speaking with Hizbullah's TV station Al-Manar on Monday night, the organization's deputy chief Naim Kassem ruled out the possibility of Israel launching a war against Lebanon. Because neither Americans nor Israelis can predict the outcome or developments in such a conflict, he said, they are unwilling to wage a war at this time. The same Israeli and American concern, Kassem claimed, holds true for a military strike against Iran's nuclear program. However, in the latter case, he continued, Israel is willing to attack, but the United States is vetoing any action.

Regardless of his analysis, Kassem emphasized that Hizbullah is on alert and is well prepared for a confrontation with Israel. Referring to the 2006 Second Lebanon War between Israel and Hizbullah, the senior Hizbullah leader said, "We will be resolute and Israelis should make accurate calculations, because the next war will be more intense and the resistance will be more violent in its retaliation."

In the meantime, Kassem claimed, Hizbullah is "remaining calm" and abiding by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, which brought an end to the 2006 war. Resolution 1701 initiated an arms control regime for southern Lebanon and installed UN forces there. Kassem added that Hizbullah's supreme leader, Hassan Nasrallah, will discuss the situation on the Israeli border in an address on August 14, 2009.

In remarks published by the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, a Hizbullah representative in the Lebanese parliament said Israeli military action is the outcome of American decision-making. According to Nawaf Al-Musawi, the U.S. is expected to exercise control over Israel should the Jewish State seek to act militarily in Lebanon. Such actions in the past, he claimed, have been either a direct American request or with American approval.

On Sunday, Hizbullah's Executive Council Chief Sayed Hashem Safiyeddine warned Israel that any conflict with his organization at this time would be far worse the Second Lebanon War.

Addressing a local ceremony in southern Lebanon, Safiyeddine said, "If [Defense Minister Ehud] Barak's threats are serious - and I don't think they are - he should be aware that if he commits an error or act of stupidity against Lebanon, [then] he will discover that the months of July and August 2006 were just a bit of fun." At the same time, he emphasized, "We believe that all of the Israeli threats are hollow and meaningless," while "All of the United States' political projects to curb the resistance and take vengeance on it have also collapsed. Therefore, there is no need to be worried...."

Israel Will Hold Lebanon Responsible
The Israeli "threats", as they are presented by the various Hizbullah spokesmen, include comments such as those by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday to the effect that Israel will hold the Lebanese government accountable for any future Hizbullah actions on the northern border.

"Our statements [in this regard] are related to the fact that Lebanese politics is changing," Netanyahu said during a visit to Gush Katif evictees in Amatzia. "The moment Hizbullah is part of the government, the sovereign government of Lebanon is held responsible."

On Sunday, Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon reiterated to the Hebrew-language Yediot Acharonot daily that the Hizbullah terrorist group "is not on the moon, it's part of the Lebanese government." In response to ongoing warnings by intelligence officials and open threats by Hizbullah to strike at Israeli interests abroad, Ayalon added, "If so much as one hair on the head of any Israeli overseas - official or tourist - is harmed, we will hold Hizbullah responsible, and the response would be harsh."

Last week, Defense Minister Barak said that the IDF would use "all necessary force" against Lebanon in the event of a confrontation. Hizbullah, he said, has stockpiled 40,000 rockets capable of hitting targets almost anywhere in Israel. "Floating there in the background is the possibility of the transfer of more advanced weaponry into the hands of Hizbullah from the Syrians, such that it may violate the delicate balance currently existing in Lebanon, giving them even greater strategic abilities," he explained.

Israel, Barak added, "must be prepared, if needed, to respond by preventing the violation of this delicate balance."

In his comments to Al-Manar, Hizbullah's Naim Kassem dismissed such Israeli statements as political maneuvering. "They are intended to mobilize the Israeli public and raise its spirits," he explained, while also drawing foreign attention to the growing military capabilities of Hizbullah.