Lebanon at Crucial Historical Juncture: Unity, Resistance Key to Repelling Takfiri Threat

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Mohammad Karbasi
Middle East Analyst

“If it were not for the resistance, Israel would have been present all across Lebanon now.” By saying this during his recent speech on the occasion of the liberation of southern Lebanon, Seyed Hassan Nasrallah, secretary general of the Lebanese Hezbollah movement, once more reminded the people of Lebanon of the threat which they fended off 15 years ago. In doing this, he meant to warn them that a similar threat is currently posed to the country from extremist groups present in the region.

During recent days, the secretary general of Hezbollah has frequently stressed that history is repeating itself, noting that the threat posed to Lebanon today is quite similar to the existential threat that was posed to the country in 1982. Some 33 years have passed since that year when Israel occupied Lebanon in cooperation with a group of Christian militia, also known as Phalangists.

The regime launched an extensive onslaught against Lebanon on June 6, 1982 through a military operation dubbed Operation Peace for Galilee. By taking advantage of the conditions that existed at that time, various parts of Lebanon and even the country’s capital city of Beirut were occupied by Israel through this extensive land, air and sea operation. Israel’s excuse for attacking Lebanon was that forces affiliated with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) were trained in Lebanon before launching armed attacks against the positions of the Israeli forces.

After resistance forces started fighting against Israeli forces, the regime withdrew in 1985 from most of the Lebanese territories it had occupied, but kept the southern part of Lebanon under occupation using it as a buffer zone to protect its settlements.

After 18 years of occupation, the resistance forces finally succeeded in 2000 to force Israel’s forces to unconditionally withdraw from southern Lebanon. However, certain parts of Lebanon are still under the regime’s occupation. This is why the Lebanese Foreign Ministry issued a statement on the occasion of the liberation of southern Lebanon, emphasizing that Beirut still reserves the right to liberate the rest of its territories from the occupation of Israel.

• Weathering an existential threat

Many analysts still believe that if it were not for the resistance movement and unity among the Lebanese people, the country would have been facing a fate similar to Palestine, and Israelis would still have Lebanese territories under their occupation. In fact, if the people of Lebanon had not become united around the axis of resistance, nobody could have taken Lebanese territories back from Israel. The main evidence to this issue is that after the lapse of over three decades since that time, some parts of Lebanon are still under the occupation of the regime and neither the international community, nor international organizations have been able to do anything to put an end to this occupation. Perhaps, this is why the secretary general of Hezbollah pointed to repetition of history and what happened in 1982 during his recent speech, while concurrently emphasizing that in the face of Takfiri and other extremist groups, the Lebanese people must once again avoid putting their hope in international organizations.

Israel is still occupying Shebaa farms, Kfar Shouba hills, and Ghajar village in southern Lebanon. In addition, it keeps violating the Lebanese airspace and despite the presence of the UN peacekeepers, launches occasional attacks against southern parts of Lebanon. After the regime was forced to withdraw from most of southern Lebanon and UN peacekeepers were sent there to settle disputes over Shebaa farms, the UN finally wrote a letter to Israeli officials telling them that the farms belonged to Lebanon and Israel should take its forces out of those farms as soon as possible. However, the then Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, simply said that Shebaa farms would remain under the occupation of the regime.

Lebanon has filed numerous complaints with the UN in this regard but to no avail. This is why Nasrallah tried to draw an analogy between the threat posed by Takfiri groups – as a threat to all humanity – and those dark days when parts of Lebanon were under occupation of Israel. He, then, noted that the key to victory against Takfiri groups is once more the unity and popular resistance, emphasizing that this is the only way to defeat ISIS, as was the case with Israel, because this time around, like what happened in 1982, nobody can trust international organizations, including the United Nations.

• A threat similar to Israel

Even the Lebanese Foreign Ministry likened the threat posed to this country by ISIS to the threat that was posed by Israel. By attacking Lebanon in 1982, the regime tried to take advantage of domestic conflicts in this country to its own benefit and, in fact, it used Phalangists to this effect. Israel was trying to show that Lebanese Christians were sensing a threat from the country’s Muslim population. Now the Takfiri groups are treading the same path and this is why the secretary general of Hezbollah emphasized several times in his speech that ISIS and other Takfiri groups are a threat to all human beings from every ethnic and religious background and that the existing conditions in the region cannot be considered as sectarian strife anymore.

ISIS terrorists kill any person who does not think like them and does not swear allegiance to them including Shias, Sunnis, Christians, Izadi Kurds, and the Druze people. This issue is not just a claim, but has been proved in practice as thousands of followers of different religions and people from various ethnic backgrounds have been killed by this terrorist group in the most horrendous way which has no precedent in history.

When Israel attacked Lebanon, various Lebanese groups had difficulty understanding this issue. Some Lebanese people had a clear understanding of the goals that Israel pursued through the invasion of their country and were aware of the risk posed by it. Others, however, tried to ride another tide and even put their hopes in the regime. They cooperated with Israel and even helped it occupy more areas of Lebanon. Now, as put by the secretary general of Hezbollah, some political groups in Lebanon, especially those affiliated with March 14 Alliance, are taking a similar approach to Takfiri groups.

At a certain juncture of history, when Israel attacked Lebanon, the Lebanese resistance managed to unite the people of Lebanon and stand in the face of the regime, thus, saving Lebanon from the risk of facing its end. What would have happened to southern Lebanon, including Bekaa Valley, Dahiya, and even northern Lebanon, if it were not for the resistance and people’s unity? Now, as put by Nasrallah, people’s unity and popular mobilization is the sole solution to the threat posed by the extremist groups. At the same time, correct understanding of existing conditions, like what happened at the time of Israel’s occupation of Lebanon, can save both the Lebanon and the rest of the region from ISIS just in the same way that it has already saved the country from the risk posed by Israel.

Key Words: Lebanon, Historical Juncture, Unity, Resistance, Takfiri Groups, Seyed Hassan Nasrallah, Operation Peace for Galilee, Israeli Forces, Existential Threat,  Karbasi

Source: Hamshahri Newspaper
Translated By: Iran Review.Org

*Photo Credit: Wikipedia

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