Hassan Nasrallah
Photo: Al Jazeera

Nasrallah's desperate speech

Hizbullah leader struggling for achievement in wake of repeated setbacks

It is still unclear what prompted Hizbullah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah to note, twice, that he holds body parts of IDF soldiers. It appears that Nasrallah wishes to continue pressing Israeli negotiators, who he claimed have resorted to "foot-dragging."


Whatever his reasons, this would not change the style and conduct of Nasrallah, who has been looks likes someone who aspires for some kind of achievement and seeks to recover following the defeats he sustained as of late. Ever since the Second Lebanon War, or more accurately, ever since his organization abducted two IDF soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, Nasrallah sustained several blows, some of which he admitted publicly.


The first blow was the war itself. Nasrallah admitted that had he estimated there is one percent chance such war would break out, he would conduct himself differently. This war led to a wave of public criticism within Lebanon and also among the Shiites themselves. Moreover, Nasrallah found himself in a somewhat odd situation – from being a public square star and expert on Israeli affairs, he went to being a person who hides somewhere, delivers his speeches via television, and admitting he miscalculated Israel's responses.


Later, Nasrallah had to cope with failed political moves that he tried to manage within Lebanon. The mass protest rallies that aimed to bring about the resignation or toppling of the Siniora government failed. The Lebanese political system has been paralyzed for a long time now, but somehow Lebanon has been surviving - even without a president, for two months now. For the time being, Nasrallah has no achievements to speak of in this area as well.


Moreover, recently Nasrallah had to cope with unfavorable statements and publications. The al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper recently reported that Iran removed him from the post of Hizbullah chief military commander in favor of his deputy, Naim Qassem. Nasrallah and his group were quick to publicly deny the report, but there is no doubt that it embarrassed him, even if it wasn't true.


In addition, Nasrallah was recently subjected to criticism by arch-terrorist Osama Bin Laden. The Sunni al-Qaeda leader slammed Nasrallah for agreeing to accept the presence of UNIFIL troops in Lebanon in the framework of Resolution 1701 that ended the Lebanon war. Nasrallah tried to defend himself on this front too.


All of the above, in addition to the fact that abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, held in Gaza, has dominated the headlines in recent months while the Goldwasser and Regev affair faced media silence, apparently made Nasrallah feel deprived of the media attention he has become accustomed to.


It appears this is the reason why he decided to go as low as boasting that he holds the remains of IDF soldiers.


Psychological warfare

In one of his recent appearances, Nasrallah admitted that at times he has adopted psychological warfare against Israel, yet this time he seemed to be making an extra effort. We must admit that Nasrallah chooses his words carefully, certainly when it comes to sensitive issues for him. He refrains from saying things that will likely be discovered as lies following a simple inquiry.


Therefore, by examining his words from two weeks ago and his latest message Saturday, it is difficult to clearly understand whether he is talking about "new bodies" we didn't know about. Moreover, it is reasonable to assume that he was talking about various kinds of remains left on the battlefield. Nasrallah himself did not make a special effort to clear this fog.


In any case, on Saturday Nasrallah seemed to look distressed to the point of making, a year and a half after the war, claims about some kind of remains of IDF soldiers and waive them in Israel's face in the hopes this will pressure it to accelerate talks. More than anything, it appears that Nasrallah wishes to trade the blood and bones he found in order to win some kind of achievement vis-à-vis Israel.


However, it is doubtful whether the joyful cheers of his tens of thousands of loyalists Saturday morning satisfied the Hizbullah leader. It appears that until he can boast another genuine achievement, he will continue to dig deep and wave human remains or other bits of information any time he sees fit in order to accelerate the talks.


After all, this tactic is not new to him: This is what he did with the remains of the body of Itamar Iliya, may he rest in peace, who was killed in an IDF operation several years ago. He did the same with the bodies of three IDF soldiers, after he warned he was holding "living Israeli soldiers who may die" at the time when they were already dead. It seems that the last chapter in the psychological war he has been managing vis-à-vis Israel on this front has not yet been told.


פרסום ראשון: 01.20.08, 10:20
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