Israel eyes Hizbollah

Without support from Iran and Syria, Hizbollah would suffer in new fighting with Israel, an Arabic-language commentator says. Other topics: Israeli bluster, Netanyahu, and models for Libya.

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A new war would be the end of Hizbollah

A website affiliated with Israeli security claimed recently that Hizbollah in Lebanon is making preparations for an attack on Israel, even without Syrian or Iranian support.

In the pan-Arab paper Asharq Al Awsat, columnist Abdulrahman Al Rashid said he believes that "Hassan Nasrallah the secretary general of Hizbollah is praying to God that Israel doesn't wage a war on him under any pretext, for it would be the ageing, 30-year-old party's last war."

For Israel, it would be a true opportunity to destroy the capabilities of the party that relies entirely on the Iranian regime for financing and military supply, and on the Syrian regime for patronage and protection.

The Syrian government is a shambles now, while its Iranian ally is domestically and internationally stifled. Both regimes are in hopeless situations, which means this could be the end of their offspring, Hizbollah, a military organisation that has been important for three decades.

"For Hizbollah to wage a war on Israel would be suicidal," said the writer. "Without Iran's money and weapons and Mr Al Assad's backing, Hizbollah can't possibly last long as a military force."

The party has had to deal with many blows in the last two years as it discovered that Israel was able to breach its security on more than one level. A war would be a deadly blow to a political party that has already outlived its life expectancy.

'Watch out, mullahs, here we come!'

There is something funny about the juvenile Israeli extravaganza in which Benjamin Netanyahu seems to be warning Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "Get ready, we are going to hit you," columnist Rajeh El Khouri wrote in the Lebanese daily Annahar.

There are intimidating military preparations and escalated official statements in Tel Aviv. "But when the Israeli enemy decides to launch an air strike on Iranian plants, it first concern should be to conserve the element of surprise," he said.

"It should also choose timing more convenient for it US ally." A new war isn't in the best interests of Barack Obama as he gears up for a re-election campaign armed with the "achievement" of imminent US withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan. He especially does not want a war that is sure to inflame the Middle East and drive oil prices to levels that would strain the drained US economy.

"Who are those lunatics in Tel Aviv relying on when they threaten to bomb Iranian nuclear plants?" asked the writer.

Some argue that Israel sees this as the best time for such an operation; Tehran is apparently less than a year from having a nuclear bomb. But does such a mad strike need all this propaganda?

Of course not. Tel Aviv is in fact exploiting Obama to achieve two objectives: pressuring him to tightening sanctions on Tehran and shifting attention from the Palestinian endeavour to gain an independent state.

Does Obama agree about Netanyahu?

An editorial in the London-based newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi yesterday dealt with the French media frenzy started when France's president, Nicolas Sarkozy, was overheard calling the Israeli premier, Benjamin Netanyahu, "a liar".

The comment was made to the US president Barack Obama, on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Cannes last week. The two men thought they were speaking in private.

Mr Sarkozy said "Netanyahu, I can't stand him. He's a liar." To which Mr Obama replied: "You are sick of him, but I have to work with him every day."

But this won't change anything about the fact that western powers will always prefer to believe lies from allies rather than accept truths from those who are oppressed by those allies, the editorial said.

"It's not like the French president discovered the atom," the newspaper said. "There is a general consensus of sorts that Netanyahu is a master of lying and double-crossing, inside and outside Israel. The Palestinians who have been directly affected by his dishonesty are living testaments to that."

Mr Obama's response to the French president carried implicit approval, which makes one wonder: why does the president of the leading nation of the "free world" still believe the never-ending fallacies put forward by the current Israeli government?

Libya can take cue from Korea and UAE

The new Libya has a historic opportunity to rise from decades of tyranny-inflicted backwardness and become a prominent Arab-African nation, Emirati writer Mohammed Al Hammadi, said in the opinion pages of the Abu Dhabi-based paper Al Ittihad.

As far as fast-paced human development and economic growth are concerned, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates are two success stories that Libya's new leaders can use as roadmaps.

Libya is not only rich in oil, it is also blessed with a long coastline that opens it onto European markets.

"All Libya needs is a clear plan for the future and a sound democratic structure in place," the writer said.

Look at the once war-torn South Korea. It rose from its ashes in the 1950s to become an economic powerhouse today. The key to the Korean experience is education. Korean universities churned out qualified workers who brought their fresh ideas to small companies, turning them into gigantic multinational corporations.

The UAE also offers a model, the writer said, especially since it, like Libya, has ample oil and a sparse local population. The UAE could share its exceptional experience in human development, which earned it a solid 30th place on the UN's Human Development index this year.

* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk