Friday, April 16, 2010

Hizbollah's silence over Scuds speaks volumes to Israel

Fears of conflict escalate as group refuses to discuss its arsenal with Jerusalem – or the Lebanese government

By Robert Fisk

"If Lebanon had a US-style colour-coded "war-fear" alert ranging from white to purple, we are now – courtesy of Israeli president Shimon Peres, the White House spokesman and the head of the Lebanese Hizbollah militia, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah – hovering somewhere between pink and red.....

A clue to the seriousness with which everyone now takes the possibility of war is contained in a remark made by an anonymous US spokesman who warned that the transfer of Scud missiles to Hizbollah would represent a "serious risk" to Lebanon. Not to Israel, mark you – but to Lebanon. There is no doubt that this is an allusion to frequent threats from the Israelis themselves that in another war with Hizbollah, the Lebanese government would be held responsible and as a result Lebanon's infrastructure would be destroyed.

This does not sound so bad in Lebanon as it does elsewhere. For in its last Lebanese war – the fifth since 1978 – the Israelis blamed the Lebanese government for Hizbollah's existence and smashed up the country's roads, bridges, viaducts, electricity grid and civilian factories, as well as killing well over 1,000 civilians. Israel's casualties were in the hundreds, most of them soldiers. What worse can Israel do now against the ruthlessness of the Hizbollah, even after the accusations of war crimes levelled against its equally ruthless rabble of an army?"

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