Hezbollah - the organization that America failed to deal with back in 1983 after it blew up Marines in Lebanon - is now flexing its political muscle, positioning itself to take control over South Lebanon and parts of the Bekaa Valley beside the juncture of Syria and Israel’s northern border. And it is in these very territories that Hezbollah now trains the Syrian and al-Qaida terrorists who flood daily into Iraq.
Our enemies are strengthening, networking and uniting for our destruction, and Hezbollah has emerged as one of the major arteries that fuels the terror that threatens Israel and the West. With the attention of most Americans focused on the insurgency in Iraq and the rhetorical warfare being waged in the halls of the U.S. Congress, Hezbollah’s bombardment and invasion of northern Israel last week went almost unnoticed.
For six hours, mortar shells and Katyusha rockets rained down all along the Israel-Lebanon border and down into the Galilee, driving thousands of Israelis back down into their bomb shelters. Five Hezbollah raiders were killed and more than a dozen IDF soldiers were injured. To the extent that any Americans even heard about it, it was mostly dismissed as just another flare-up of the Israeli/Arab conflict. Most Americans think Hezbollah is a domestic Lebanese problem, or a problem for the Israelis. This is a critical and dangerous mistake. Everything that Hezbollah does is intended to eventually harm the United States.
The stage was set with the recent unilateral Gaza withdrawal and the American pressured decision to cede security control over the Rafah border with Egypt, which the Arabs look at as contemptible weakness. In short, radical jihadists sense this vulnerability and attack. The West needs to wake up to what is coming our way.
Hezbollah is a real danger to the region as it is backed fully by Iran who is bent on “wiping the Jewish State of Israel off the map," as Iranian terror President Ahmadinejad has said not once but twice in recent weeks. Iran now has Russian built spy satellites, long distance Shehab III missiles that can reach Israel and Europe with real chemical, biological or nuclear WMD’s. Its population is teeming with tens of thousands of potential suicide bombing martyrs who can fill Hezbollah's ranks.
In addition, Syria harbors a desire to wreak revenge on Israel for the shame of having lost territory in several wars. It also wants to stick its thumb in the eye of the U.S. who are conducting counter-terrorism actions against terrorists who are using Syria as a base of operations. Bashar Assad is under tremendous international pressure because of Syrian involvement in the assassination of Rafik Hariri. Therefore Syria is supporting Hezbollah in its attacks on Israel. Assad believes that by supporting Hezbollah in its attacks on Israel and al Qaeda in Iraq, he can help to rally the support of the Arab world and deflect attention from the Hariri investigation.
Hezbollah receives over $650 million annually in cash from Iran. It earns another $650 million from phone card monopolies and controls the Internet traffic in Lebanon. Hezbollah is rumored to earn an estimated $300 million annually in brokering drug deals in the region. All told, according to reliable sources, it has an annual war-chest of over $1.6 billion, more than enough to fund terrorism and build up a hidden store of tens of thousands of Katyusha rockets and arms in mountain bunkers in the Bekaa Valley. The PLO armed itself with Soviet assistance in the 70's, but the Israelis were able to neutralize much of this threat. With such unbridled access and money, Hezbollah can arm itself for another generation of death.
Iran, Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and al Qaeda see only weakness - a weakness arising from Israel’s vulnerability after the Gaza withdrawal and last week’s border crossing fiasco pushed by Condi Rice and the Arabists in the U.S. State Department. They also are pumped up because they see anti-war activists such as Cindy Sheehan and members of Congress in an uproar demanding an early exit in Iraq.
Sensing Israel and the U.S. on the run, they naturally pounce not only because of the prospect of American forces leaving the region, but also because of possible change in party control in Israel’s Knesset next March. Now, will the world, especially the U.S., do what is right by its best ally and military defense force in the Middle East? The terrorists are watching our consistency and conviction waiting for their opportunity to strike.
Brigitte Gabriel is an expert on the Middle East conflict and lectures nationally and internationally on the subject. She's the former news anchor of World News for Middle East television and the founder of AmericanCongressforTruth.com.
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