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Jewish World Review March 9, 2005/ 28 Adar I 5765

Richard Z. Chesnoff

Richard Z. Chesnoff
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Shot at liberty begins with end of Hezbollah |
Wouldn't you know it? The only major Lebanese force opposing a withdrawal of Syrian occupation troops is Hezbollah — the Syrian-backed Shiite terrorist organization. Yet, weird as it may seem, there are people who still question whether Hezbollah is really a terrorist organization.

Hezbollah has a "strictly political wing," they argue, providing schools, food and medical care for tens of thousands of Lebanese poor. "Let's be fair to Hezbollah," they say. Such arguments remain popular among Americans who bend so far backward on Mideast peace efforts that they get their heads stuck among the dunes.

Thousands of Lebanese are in the streets, some with American flags, chanting "Syria out!" The majority of Lebanese want true independence. The world, in large part, is calling for Syria's withdrawal, and even Syria itself is mumbling hogwash about retreating, but not yet across its border. So why would Hezbollah stand against this tide?

There is only one reason: survival. There is no differentiation between Hezbollah's military, political and social wings. They are one in the same, and all branches are ultimately led by the same people. In Hezbollah's case, this includes Sayyed Hassan Nasralla, the so-called spiritual and political leader of Hezbollah, and his second-in-command, Imad Fayez Mughniyah — one of the world's most wanted terrorists and the chief of Hezbollah's military wing. As Hezbollah expert Yoram Schweitzer puts it, "It's ridiculous to think Mughniyah makes any major decision without Nasralla."

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In the long term, Hezbollah wants to transform Lebanon into an Islamic republic similar to that of Iran, to annihilate Israel and to propagate a violent worldwide anti-American "Islamic Revolution." These hateful messages are beamed round the world every day on Hezbollah's al-Manar TV station.

Hezbollah is a state within a state in Lebanon. With Syrian backing and millions of dollars in Iranian arms and supply support, it maintains a semiautonomous military-operational power base in southern Lebanon, Beirut and Lebanon's Bekaa region. It is from there that Hezbollah attacks. Without Syrian support and with a truly independent Lebanon, it is there that it could be destroyed.

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JWR contributor and veteran journalist Richard Z. Chesnoff is a senior correspondent at US News And World Report, a columnist at the NY Daily News and a senior fellow at the Washington-based Foundation for the Defense of Demoracies. A two-time winner of the Overseas Press Club Award and a recipient of the National Press Club Award, he was formerly executive editor of Newsweek International. His latest book, recently updated, is Pack of Thieves: How Hitler & Europe Plundered the Jews and Committed the Greatest Theft in History. (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR. )

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