Wednesday, July 12, 2006


By Tony Sayegh

There are several things that are related to each other and that are sending a certain message.

First, the tenacity of Hamas and its adamant refusal to release the Israeli prisoner of war without reciprocation by Israel, in the face of enormous pressure. Part of that pressure was applied on Syria and Israeli and American threats were delivered to Damascus. The Usraeli demands included expelling all Hamas leaders from Syria and even the capture of Mash'al (by Syria) and his delivery to Israel. John Bolton personally made some of these demands. Rumors floated that Syria was intimidated and that the Hamas leaders, including Mash'al, had already left Syria.

The shattering response came when Mash'al made his press conference in Damascus a couple of days ago. It was in a hotel (Four Seasons), in defiance to Israeli threats to kill him. In that press conference Mash'al was confident and he was unwavering in insisting on the demand of prisoners' exchange. It was obvious that Damascus was not giving in to pressure and was sticking by Hamas.

The other significant development was Iran's refusal to budge on the EU's demand to stop the enrichment process. Iran was acting from a position of strength. In addition, the Iranian president was the one defiant voice in support of the Palestinians and it was in sharp contrast to the deafening silence and cowardice of just about all Arab leaders. It may be just bluster, but Iran felt confident enough to at least bluster.

Now comes the attack by Hizbollah, the capture of two Israeli soldiers and killing of seven more. This was obviously a well planned operation and the timing was not an accident. Israel is responding with the same Nazi tactic that it is using in Gaza; the destruction of the infrastructure and punishing the Lebanese population in the south. Borrowing a page from the U.S. book, Israel relies on air power and maximum destruction to intimidate and to end the conflict on its terms. While this Israeli arrogance has worked with the Arab regimes in the past, it is not working against Hamas, and certainly will not work against Hizbollah.

The message is clear: if Usrael is planning to attack Syria and Iran, Hamas and Hizbollah are providing a preview of what it will be like, on a much larger scale. This will be a Fourth Generation War (4GW) like you have never seen. The alternative is for Usrael to get the message and to cut a deal with Iran and Syria. We have to always keep an eye on this potentiality.

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