Jeffrey Goldberg has been writing a 2 part series on Hezbollah for The New Yorker. Here is an interview with Goldberg about Hezbollah: (see the update at the bottom for the full article)
In your article, you describe Hezbollah as "the most successful terrorist organization in modern history." Do you mean that it is successful in the narrow sense of having pulled off acts of public violence, or in the achievement of certain political ends?
Unlike Al Qaeda, for instance, Hezbollah has succeeded, on two notable occasions, in achieving policy goals through the application of terrorist techniques. First, it drove American and French peacekeepers from Lebanon in the early nineteen-eighties, after a series of deadly bombings. (In one, two hundred and forty-one U.S. marines were murdered.) And two years ago, through guerrilla warfare and terrorism, it forced the Israeli Army to pull out from Israel's so-called security zone in southern Lebanon.
Also, from Google cache I found a press release about this article:
"A main focus today appears to be the training of specifically anti-Israel militants in the science of constructing so-called 'mega-bombs,' devices that can bring down office towers and other large structures." Hezbollah operatives, Goldberg adds, "with the help and cover of Iranian diplomats, have been making surveillance tapes of American diplomatic installations in South America, Southeast Asia, and Europe." Gal Luft, an Israeli expert on counterterrorism, tells Goldberg that it is only a matter of time before a "mega-attack" succeeds. The Israelis also believe that in South Lebanon "Hezbollah has more than eight thousand rockets," Goldberg reports, "weapons that are far more sophisticated than any previously seen in the group's arsenal. They include the Iranian-made Fajr-5 rocket, which has a range of up to forty-five miles, meaning that Israel's industrial heartland, in the area south of Haifa, falls within Hezbollah's reach." One intelligence official tells Goldberg, "It's not tenable for us to have a jihadist organization on our border with the capability of destroying Israel's main oil refinery." Major General Benny Gantz, the chief of the Israeli Army's Northern Command, says, "I'll be surprised if we don't see this fight." It could quickly become a major regional war. "Israel doesn't have to deal with Hezbollah as Hezbollah," Gantz says. "This is the Hezbollah tail wagging the Syrian dog. As far as I'm concerned, Hezbollah is part of the Lebanese and Syrian forces. Syria will pay the price. I'm not saying when or where. But it will be severe." Israeli intelligence officials say that Israel cannot act preëmptively against Hezbollah while America is trying to gather support for an attack against Iraq. But, one Israeli officer says, "The day after the American attack, we can move."
Google cache expires eventually and Google will revisit that page which has since changed to announce a new release of the magazine. So that link will not stay working for long.
Presuming that the US removes Saddam Hussein's regime from power the next logical problem to be dealt with is going to be Iran, Syria, and Lebanon. Iran is providing a lot of the support for Hezbollah. Plus, Iran has its own WMD development programs. But if Hezbollah attack Israel expect Israel to move against Syria and Hezbollah before the US can do anything about it. The Israelis might even launch a preemptive strikes against Iranian nuclear weapons development labs.
For my previous post on other articles by Jeffrey Goldberg go here.
Update: There's an article in the Jerusalem Post by Andrea Levin that quotes from the Jeffrey Goldberg Hezbollah article:
Jeffrey Goldberg tells a different story. He writes that "Hezbollah is, at its core, a jihadist organization, and its leaders have never tried to disguise their ultimate goal: building an Islamic republic in Lebanon and liberating Jerusalem from the Jews." He notes that even Hezbollah leaders concede the Shebaa Farms issue is a pretext.
He quotes a Hezbollah spokesman as saying: "If they go from Shebaa, we will not stop fighting them... Our goal is to liberate the 1948 borders of Palestine." Any Jews who might survive "can go back to Germany, or wherever they came from."
Another Hezbollah leader, Sayyid Nasrallah, declared: "We all have an extraordinary historic opportunity to finish off the entire cancerous Zionist project."
Goldberg notes that anti-Semitic invective has long been a "weapon in the anti-Israel armamentarium" but it had previously not borne the "malignancy of genocidal anti-Semitism. The language has changed, however."
Hezbollah, in his view, "has been at the vanguard of this shift... and its leaders frequently resort to epidemiological metaphors in describing Jews in world affairs. Ibrahim Mussawi, the urbane and scholarly-seeming director of English-language news at Al Mana [Hezbollah's satellite television station], called Jews 'a lesion on the forehead of history.' " A Hezbollah official in the Lebanese Parliament said Jews "act as parasites in the nations that have given them shelter."
Along with this public work, Hez bollah continues to increase its terrorist and guerrilla capabilities. Magnus Ranstorp says that Hezbollah can be active on four tracks simultaneously—the political, the social, the guerrilla, and the terrorist—because its leaders are "masters of long-term strategic subversion." The organization's Special Security Apparatus operates in Europe, North and South America, and East Asia. According to both American and Israeli intelligence officials, the group maintains floating "day camps" for terrorist training throughout the Bekaa Valley; many of the camps are said to be just outside Baalbek. In some of them, the instructors are supplied by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and Iran's Ministry of Intelligence. In the past twenty years, terrorists from such disparate organizations as the Basque separatist group ETA, the Red Brigades, the Kurdistan Workers' Party, and the Irish Republican Army have been trained in these camps.
Hezbollah has not been suspected of overt anti-American actions since 1996, when the Khobar Towers, in Saudi Arabia, were attacked, but, according to intelligence officials, its operatives, with the help and cover of Iranian diplomats, have been making surveillance tapes of American diplomatic installations in South America, Southeast Asia, and Europe. These tapes, along with maps and other tools, are said to be kept in well-organized clandestine libraries.
This serves as a useful reminder that Sunni Muslim Al Qaeda is not the only major terrorist group with aspirations for attacks against the United States. It is worth noting that neither group derived substantial support from Saddam Hussein but Shiite Muslim Hezbollah gets support from Iran.
In the second part of Goldberg's two part series Goldberg visits the border area where Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay share common borders and finds a large Hezbollah presence.
Roughly two hundred thousand people live in the Ciudad del Este region, including a substantial minority of Arab Muslims; in the Triple Frontier zone, there may be as many as thirty thousand. According to intelligence officials in the region and in Washington, this Muslim community has in its midst a hard core of terrorists, many of them associated with Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite group backed by the Iranian government; some with Hamas, the Palestinian fundamentalist group; and some with Al Qaeda. It is, over all, a community under the influence of extreme Islamic beliefs; intelligence officials told me that some of the Triple Frontier Arabs held celebrations on September 11th of last year and also on the anniversary this year. These officials said that Hezbollah runs weekend training camps on farms cut out of the rain forest of the Triple Frontier. In at least one of these camps, in the remote jungle terrain near Foz do Iguaçu, young adults get weapons training and children are indoctrinated in Hezbollah ideology—a mixture of anti-American and anti-Jewish views inspired by Ayatollah Khomeini.
Goldberg describes the system of extortion of money from Lebanese immigrants in Paraguay by Hezbollah operatives there. If this has not changed since Goldberg wrote his article then the US government ought to help the Paraguayan government bring it to a stop.
The second part of Goldberg's series shows the security threats created by allowing Arab Muslims to immigrate to a country in significant numbers. The countries of North, Central, and South America ought to stop letting in Muslim immigrants and ought to deport all their illegal Muslims and any Muslims with ties to terrorist groups.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2002 November 05 10:58 AM Civilizations Clash Of|