Lebanon Rejoices In Freedom, Hezbollah Cowers

Lebanon Rejoices In Freedom, Hezbollah Cowers

Two wire stories reflect the different directions that freedom and tyranny have taken in the Middle East since the free elections in Afghanistan and Iraq. After Syrian intelligence personnel abandoned their stations in all but the easternmost part of Lebanon today, the Lebanese can now give voice to the frustrations and degradations of living under the Syrian thumb for decades:

Syrian intelligence agents ended their 18-year presence in Beirut on Wednesday, and emboldened residents of the capital came forward to celebrate. Some kissed the ground and others wept, wandering the basement cellblock at the headquarters and describing torture there. … Others were forthright. “It’s a feast and great joy for me today because they’re gone. I consider that Lebanon was born today with its liberation from Syrian forces,” said Imad Seifeddine, a 47-year-old blacksmith.

Seifeddine said he was imprisoned by the Syrians for four years in the 1990s. “They tortured me with beatings, electric shock,” he said. …

Ali Abdullah Tayeh, a 54-year-old Palestinian taxi driver, knelt in the compound and kissed the ground. The thin, unshaven man has been passing the compound every day for a week in hopes of seeing the withdrawal.

“It is a great moment for me. I am for independence and freedom,” said Tayeh, standing a few yards from the basement where he said he was jailed and tortured.

Remember, this is what Reuters yesterday called Syrian “tutelage.” Western realists have long written off the Lebanese, figuring that any removal of Syrian forces would only result in an eruption of sectarian violence. Better to have stability and oppression than touch off a civil war, as the Scowcroftians thought. Of course, no one asked the Lebanese if they minded the imposition of a foreign Ba’athist dictatorship or the institutionalized torture and oppression it meant.

Not everyone in Lebanon sheds tears of joy at the exit of Syrian intelligence. Hezbollah has decided that it needs its guns more than it needs to participate legitimately in a democratic Lebanon:

Pro-Syrian Hizbollah guerrillas will keep their weapons despite U.S. pressure and the Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon, the group’s chief said on Wednesday. “I’m holding on to the weapons of the resistance because I think the resistance … is the best formula to protect Lebanon and to deter any Israeli aggression,” Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said in a live television interview with Hizbollah’s al-Manar station.

Asked for how long the group would keep its weapons, he said:

“As long as Lebanon is threatened, even if we remain threatened for a million years, our will to our children, grand children and great grand children is that their national, human, moral and religious holy duty is to protect their people.”

They need their weapons now, because they know what fate awaits collaborators with a foreign enemy. The Lebanese Army will not view kindly their attempted continuation of the Syrian dictatorship, and the Lebanese people will remember that stab in the back for years to come. In short time, a membership in Hezbollah will make life dangerous enough to reduce the group to a shadow of itself as the Lebanese will grow impatient to shake off the attempted influence of Syria and Iran.

Tyranny dies hard, but it dies eventually. Freedom is rooted in hope – and as the Arabs have begun to prove, that hope exists in all human hearts, no matter the culture or the history involved.

english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/83C8D228-5320-4E16-8713-F4C43159821C.htm

                        **Hizb Allah rejects US call to disarm**
                        *by *
                        *Wednesday 16 March 2005 11:07 PM GMT*                         

                                                                                                        http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/rdonlyres/83C8D228-5320-4E16-8713-F4C43159821C/67942/228744E229E24AAD9B78C20F155DA1F8.jpg                                                                                                 **                                                 Nasr Allah says Hizb Allah is the protecting Lebanon                                             **                                                                   

                     **Hizb Allah's secretary-general has rejected US President George Bush's call for the Shia movement to disarm.**

                     [left]Shaikh Hasan Nasr Allah said on Wednesday that Hizb Allah is protecting Lebanon.

“They want to disarm us for Lebanon to stay defenceless - our force protects Lebanon,” Nasr Allah said during a talk show aired on three Lebanese channels, including the resistance movement’s Al-Manar TV station.

“The US and Israel have been exerting pressure since 2002 to disarm Hizb Allah. They consider us a major threat for their projects in the region.”

On Tuesday, Bush urged the group to give up its weapons and not obstruct the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Israeli hegemony[/left]

[left]“We view Hizb Allah as a terrorist organisation, and I would hope that Hizb Allah would prove that they’re not by laying down arms and not threatening peace,” Bush said.

[font=verdana][size=2] [left][font=Verdana][size=2]**“We view Hizb Allah as a terrorist organisation, and I would hope that Hizb Allah would prove that they’re not by laying down arms and not threatening peace”

**[/size]US President George Bush
[/left]
[/font][/size][/font]However, US State Department spokesman Adam Ereli did not answer repeated questions about whether Bush was leaving the door open for the group to play a political role in Lebanon.

“As with any terrorist organisation, what we’re looking for is to get out of the terrorism game,” he said.

[/left]

[left]Hizb Allah rejects the “terrorist” label. It says it is a legitimate resistance organisation which opposes Israel’s hegemony in the region.[/left]

[left]
Nasr Allah says his group does not get orders from Damascus or Tehran to carry out attacks against the Israelis.[/left]

[left][font=Verdana]Protective militia[/left]

[left]But Nasr Allah likened his group to a protective militia. [/left]

[left]“If you can convince me that there are other ways to protect Lebanon, I’m ready to listen,” he said. [/left]

[/font] [left] http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/rdonlyres/83C8D228-5320-4E16-8713-F4C43159821C/67945/4F6660A607DA46FBA868B72E37D370A6.jpg [left][font=verdana]Hizb Allah says it is a legitimate
group resisting Israeli hegemony

[/left]
[/left]

[left]“As long as Lebanon remains threatened, even if that lasts a million years, we will say to our children and to their descendants that their patriotic, human, moral and sacred religious duty is to defend their people and their fatherland,” he added.[/left]

[/font]Addressing the anti-Syrian opposition in Lebanon, Nasr Allah stressed that the foreign backing they are receiving has a price “and this price will be the disarming of [font=Verdana]Hizb Allah”.[/font]
[left]He also described UN Resolution 1559, which calls for Syria’s withdraw from Lebanon as a “resolution to serve the interests of the United States and France”.[/left]

[left]On the internal scene, he called on the opposition to hold a dialogue and urged a UN-Arab commission to investigate the death of former prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri, who was killed on 14 February in a Beirut bomb blast.[/left]

[left]“I suggest we call for an Arab commission to probe into the assassination of Rafik Hariri and let it be discussed in the upcoming Arab summit in Algiers,” he said.[/left]

No surprise.

This should make for interesting reading:

•Hezbollah makes considerable efforts to promote its image, in particular since the September 11 attacks, in order to blur its identity as a terrorist organization. It publicly denies its involvement in terrorism in general, and the existence of a specific apparatus of global terrorism, in particular. At the same time, it continues to build up its strategic operational apparatus abroad. This apparatus consists of a network of latent operatives, local safe houses, and storage depots of arms and explosives, spread over a large number of countries worldwide. We believe that this operational infrastructure is meant to carry out spectacular terrorist attacks against Israeli, Jewish, and US targets worldwide, on short notice **upon receiving the order from the organization’s leadership or from Iran, and in retaliation for extreme developments in Lebanon **or the Palestinian territories.

gilliam I work with a Lebanese and he really appreciated your pictures and stories posted the other day. He pointed out various landmarks and said his family who is still there is keeping him up on most of the news. The Hezbollah pro Syrian march was not the Lebanese people. They were mostly Syrians who were brought in for the demonstration.

Lisa N

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