Friday, March 2, 2007
A Long and Informative Interview
interviewed by Paul D'Amato
"THE PRESS here is portraying the opposition movement headed by Hezbollah in Lebanon, that is attempting to challenge the Siniora government, as a movement that is provoking sectarian conflict. What is your take on that? What is the character of the opposition, and what is it trying to achieve?
IT IS already a fact that the whole conflict is increasingly taking on a sectarian character. But it is not the sectarian or religious divide that we were accustomed to in Lebanon's past -- I'm referring to the fifteen-year civil war of 1975–90, which mainly pitted a predominantly Christian camp against a predominantly Muslim one -- although things were never as pure or as simple as that. The sectarian division this time is taking a form that is unprecedented in Lebanon: it looks more like an extension to Lebanon of the division that prevails in Iraq, opposing the two major branches of Islam, Sunni and Shiite. The tension between the two communities is indeed quite sharp at present in Lebanon itself......
THIS SEEMS like a shift since the Israeli invasion last year. After Hezbollah repulsed the aggression, Hezbollah were the heroes of the hour in Lebanon, and throughout the Middle East. It sounds like what you are saying is that things have shifted back again toward greater division. What accounts for it?
....For Hezbollah, the present political confrontation is absolutely vital. The party has been the target of Israel's attempt to destroy it. The attempt failed, but the project has not been discarded. Washington took over from Israel and is trying to continue the war by other means. It pressed for UN security council resolution 1701, through which it got NATO forces to deploy in southern Lebanon as standby forces to be used in case of domestic confrontation in the country; that is, in order to give a helping hand to Washington's partners. Since then, Washington has been constantly and actively pushing toward civil war in Lebanon. Actually, if one had to summarize Washington's policy toward Lebanon as well as toward Palestine, it could be accurately described as "incitement to civil war": civil war between Palestinians and civil war between Lebanese, not to mention the unfolding civil war in Iraq. In both Lebanon and Palestine, there is a force that Washington sees as a major enemy -- Hamas among Palestinians, Hezbollah in Lebanon. Behind these two forces, Washington targets Iran (Syria, too, but Iran is Washington's main concern). And in both countries there are partners of Washington: the "majority" and the Siniora government in Lebanon, Fatah and Mahmoud Abbas in Palestine.
.....(many more good questions and answers) "