Paris, 21 Jul. (IPS) With the Israeli military operations against the Lebanese organization Hezbollah in its second week, most analysts, including Iranians, have reached the conclusion that not only it was Tehran that orchestrated the present Israeli-Lebanese conflict, but also inadvertently and unwillingly gas brought its end”.
“If it was the Hezbollah that attack on an Israeli column on 12 July, the orders came from Tehran”, one senior political analyst with good knowledge of the Hezbollah and Iranian regime told Iran Press Service.
The timing of Hezbollah's 12 July attack on Israel leaves no room for doubt for Teheran’s involvement in the Hezbollah's attack on Israel soldiers.
The timing of Hezbollah's 12 July attack on Israel leaves no room for doubt - Teheran was involved in the attacks, as 12 July was the day that Iran was supposed to address its uranium enrichment program or face sanctions from the West” observed Ali Nourizadeh, an independent Iranian journalist in London.
"The meeting between Iran’s Chief nuclear negotiator with Mr. Xavier Solana in Brussels on 11 July was a failure, as expressed by a European diplomat who had taken part in the talks. Larijani warned that “the road ahead is very long” and repeated that his country would not accept stopping or even suspending uranium enriching activities. He then flew to Damascus, where he met with the Syrian President Bashar Assad. On the same night, Hezbollah attacked an Israeli patrol, killing eight soldiers and taking two others”, he pointed out, observing that Hezbollah’s secretary General, Hojjatoleslam Hasan Nasrallah, was appointed by Iran’s leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i, replacing sheikh Sobhi Tufeili, considered as too obedient to the Syrians.
It is noteworthy that ever since the emergence of Qom, a city situated 150 kilometres south of Tehran and considered as the cradle of Shi’a militantism, replacing the holly city of Najaf in Iraq after the victory of the Islamic Revolution of 1979, all clerics in charge of important Shi’a mosques, groups or organizations are either send directly from Iran or are of Iranian origin or named by the Iranian leader.
This was confirmed by Sheikh Al-Tufeili in a 4 May 2006 interview with “Al-Arabiya TV”, saying the Organisation (Hezbollah) is “committed to the Iranian policy... I have said before that the Shi'ites in Lebanon serve as Iran's playing ground... Hezbollah definitely fosters its relations with the Syrians, but its real leadership is the Velayate e Faqih (the rule of the jurisprudent), in other words [Iranian Leader Ali] Khameneh’i." (See MEMRI TV Clip No. 1132, May 4, 2006, http://www.memritv.org/search.asp?ACT=S9&P1=1132 ).
Despite all Iranian denials, the coincidence between the two events is surprising, as the meeting in Paris of foreign ministers from the five permanent members of the United Nations plus Germany on 12 July that was scheduled to review Mr. Solana’s report on his talks with Mr. Larijani a day before became inconclusive, partly because by the time the ministers got together the Israelis had started the bombing of Lebanon.
As the Israeli military operations in neighbouring Lebanon was intensifying and Hezbollah sending more rockets on Israeli towns, heads of states from the Group of Eight, namely United States, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Italia and Japan were heading for Saint Petersbourg for attending their annual meeting, initially intended to review the nuclear threats from North Korea and Iran, besides other major international developments.
But the meeting was overshadowed by the dramatic war in the defenceless Lebanon: While Washington was opposing any decision by the UN Security Council calling a halt in the massive bombardment of Lebanese infrastructures by Israeli operations, described as “not proportionate” by the French President Jacques Chirac, none of the participants condemned Israel, to the contrary, they openly pointed their fingers at Iran and Syria.
Actually, in an interview with the centre of right French daily “Le Figaro”, Walid Jumblatt, the Druze leader and member of the Lebanese Parliament said that Hezbollah, by kidnapping the two Israeli soldiers, “played a very dangerous game”.
“Israel has withdrawn from Lebanon. These kidnappings took place outside our country's borders. Hezbollah is raising the stakes, with the support of Iran and of Syria - which in the past year has become a satellite state of Tehran. Owing to the lack of an Arab or Western initiative regarding the Israeli-Palestinian question, Iran and Syria have taken over, and in this context Lebanon constitutes a natural battlefield... Hezbollah will have to explain itself to the Lebanese... [We need to decide] who makes the decisions regarding war and peace in this country".
Indirectly, Mr. Jumblatt was echoing the concern of many Iranian and foreign analysts, warning against a nuclearised Iranian theocracy where, contrary to some commentator’s indications that the regime’s decision-making is “very centralized, concentrated in the hands of the supreme leader”, there are several centres that could use the nuclear weapon without reporting to the leader.
“If in all nations equipped with the atomic arms there is one finger that can order pushing the A Button, in Iran, there are at least ten of them that would fight each other reaching and pushing the Button”, one insider pointed out, referring to Nasrallah’s attack on the Israelis soldiers, a decision he said he took alone, without referring to the Lebanese Government.
In an effort to coordinate their actions in support of the Hezbollah, Iranian hard line President Mahmoud Ahmadi Nezhad spoke on the telephone with his Syrian counterpart, Bashar Assad.
"If the regime that occupies Jerusalem perpetrates the foolish crime of attacking Syria, this act will be tantamount to an attack on the entire Islamic world. This regime will [then] encounter an even fiercer reaction... [Israel's] insane attacks indicate the extreme weakness and impotence of this fake regime, which will soon bring about its fall".
Iranian have often hinted that they might use Shi’ite allies, proxy militias in Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan and even home-trained suicide squads to hit back should the West target them.
In coordinated commentaries, Iranian and Syrian papers affiliated with the regimes hailed the Lebanese “resistance” and its operations. "The only language that is effective with the Israelis is the language of the resistance. No other path has been effective - on the contrary, every other path has only increased the Israeli arrogance, to the level that Israel has acted as if it lives alone in the world”, commented the Syrian government daily “Al-Thawra”.
Israel has withdrawn from Lebanon. These kidnappings took place outside our country's borders. Hezbollah is raising the stakes, with the support of Iran and of Syria.
"The congratulations that the Arab citizens exchanged with each other [following the Hezbollah operation] are a kind of request [to implement] the program of the resistance, which began to develop more and more amongst the Arabs after they sensed the height of the power of the positive results of the resistance...
“…. Israel's military advantage in the region has eroded, and nuclear Iran is eradicating the nuclear prestige of Israel... Today's Iran has - by virtue of its impenetrable leadership and with top officials who are unanimous in their support of our great leader and who are well-liked in the Middle East - have struck, time and again, at... Israel's force, and have brought it to the verge of collapse", wrote the radical Iranian daily “Keyhan”, a mouthpiece of Ayatollah Khameneh’i.
"Today, the strong arm of the Lebanese resistance and the Lebanese Hezbollah has prevented this nightmare of the Zionists from coming true. This is why the American president says Hezbollah must be disarmed. Yes, of course this is what you want. Of course this is what the Zionists want. But this will not happen. The Lebanese people value Hezbollah and the resistance, because they know it is this strong arm that has prevented the Zionists from doing whatever they want, whenever they want, to Lebanon", Ayatollah Khameneh’i stated on 16 July.
The comments were in sharp contrast with, in the one hand, most Lebanese independent dailies asking for whom the Hezbollah is singing, Iran and Syria or Lebanon, which, as a consequence to the Organisation’s foolish action, has brought misery and destruction to the country, and on the other, three major Arab nations, namely Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan also condemning the Hezbollah.
So it was little surprise that Larijani hurried off to Riyadh the next day for consultations with King Abdullah.
Even in Iran some independent newspapers refused to give Mr. Nasrallah a blank cheque, prompting the wrath of Mr. Elias Naderan, a fundamentalist lawmaker from Tehran in line with the President, denouncing at the Majles “some local media serving as a lawyer for the Zionist regime”.
But when it became clear that Israel intends to eradicate the Hezbollah that Iranian and Syrian leaders, realizing probably their mistakes, raised the question of possible negotiations between Israel, Hezbollah and Hamas about the exchange of prisoners.
According to the London-based Arabic daily ”Al-Sharq al-Awsat quoting military source close to the Revolutionary Guards leadership, Hezbollah’s missile units were established first in 1985 at the Sheikh Ubeidallah Military Base in the Beka’'.
About 2000 men from the Revolutionary Guards were in this base, which served as their headquarters. After the end of the Lebanese civil war and the Taif Agreement was signed, most of the 2.000 Revolutionary Guards left Lebanon.
Special training courses for Hezbollah were organized in Iran. Over 3,000 fighters have taken them. The courses included training in guerilla warfare, missile aiming and launching, use of artillery, handling of unmanned aircraft, use of 'kites' [i.e. hang gliders], naval warfare techniques, handling of speedboats and conventional warfare etc...
"Thirdly, in the last three years, 50 pilots have been trained. "Fourthly, The Revolutionary Guards established 20 permanent missile bases within the strip [running along] the Israeli border. They also equipped the Organisation with mobile bases”, the report said, adding that between 1992 and 2005, Hezbollah received approximately 11,500 missiles and rockets, 400 short and medium-range pieces of artillery, and Aresh, Nuri and Hadid rockets.
Last year, Hezbollah first received a shipment of large Oqab missiles with 333-millimeter warheads, and an enormous supply of SAM7 shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles as well as C802 missiles, copied from Chinese missiles, two of which were used in the attack on the Israeli warship, causing extensive damages and killing 4 marines, three of them still missing.
Iran equipped the Hezbollah with thousands of rockets and short-range missiles
"Hezbollah also has four types of advanced surface-to-surface missiles: 1. Fajr missiles with an effective range of 100 km. 2. Iran 130 missiles with an effective range of 90-110 km. 3. Shahin missiles with an effective range of 150 km. 4. 335-millimeter rockets with an effective range of 150 km".
In addition, there is a secret Revolutionary Guards unit, consisting of 20 officers, who use advanced means to track the movement of the Israeli forces in the field, and select targets in Israel for the operation commanders." The Iranian source concluded: "Hezbollah has not yet revealed its full arsenal. In the next few days, if the Israeli attacks on Lebanon continue, Hezbollah will stun everyone with weapons that will shock the center of Israel”, Hojjatoleslam Hassan Nasrollah promised.
According to Western military sources and experts quoted by the influential French left of centre daily “Le Monde”, Hezbollah has also about 60 Zelzal missiles that, with a range of 150 to 200 kilometres, can reach Tel Aviv, but so far has not used them, maybe of instructions from Tehran, since the firing of these weapons would definitely prove that it is Iran that supplies the Organisation on armaments.
“The more sophisticated arms are kept well hidden very far from the Israeli borders, in bunkers in populated areas south of the country”, said Anthony Cordesman of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.
"There are many signs and portents indicating that 'the fateful day' is coming near. It is possible that this day... has already begun...”, Hoseyn Shari’atmadari, a high-ranking intelligence officer specializing in the interrogation of political and intellectual dissidents wrote in the hard line daily “Keyhan”, where he was appointed as Editor in Chief by Mr. Khameneh’i
Repeating Ahmadi Nezhad’s motto of "wipe Israel off the map", he said: This usurping and rootless state that has imposed its parasitic presence over the region and over Palestine with the support of the arrogant powers, and that invents a new crime every day, causes men, women, and innocent children to bleed to death, or else deports them from their homeland and turns them into refugees… The annihilation of the Zionist regime is not only a religious and national duty, but also a universal human duty, from which no Muslim or free human being can be exempt.
Comprehensive support for Hamas and Hezbollah, political, logistically, militarily, and through sending combatant forces to this front are the minimal price that the Islamic countries must pay in order to maintain their own security and independence...”
"The city of Haifa lies 35 kilometers [sic] from the Lebanese border, and the distance [from the Lebanese border] to Nazareth is about 50 kilometers. Tomorrow will come the turn of Herzliya, Natanya, and Tel Aviv... The Muslim peoples must not allow this conflict to remain within the boundaries of the region. The Zionists are dispersed in many places around the world, and it is not so difficult to locate and get [our] hands on them. The entire world can and must be made unsafe for the Zionists, [including] their political and commercial centers. This does not require the governments' approval... The fateful day may have begun, and fierce revenge on the barbaric Zionists is underway, Allah willing".
Responded in the London and Paris-based internet daily “Rooz” Mr. Ahmad Zeydabadi a day after, observing: “Hezbollah is about to lose its power and influence; Lebanon is in the process of a huge political upheaval and the Middle East region walks in a dark tunnel towards a different future and at the same time, a hard line newspaper in Tehran talks about the fast approaching disappearance of Israel and the victory of Hezbollah”.
“The vast investment of Iran in term of politics, finance and logistics in the only part of the region where it could yield some gains is about to evaporate and that radical daily talks about the 'the fateful day', without anybody telling: the fateful day might have begun, but for which side?” he concluded. ENDS HEZBOLLAH 21706