Photo: Shaul Golan
Just like a disturbed neighborhood thug, Hassan Nasrallah threatens that should the global policeman arrive and punish him, he will ignite everything – not only Beirut and its environs, but the whole of Lebanon. As far as he's concerned, they can call him crazy.
Over the weekend, Nasrallah convened a delusional press conference: He hid behind a screen and the journalists, mostly fans who were carefully chosen, were invited to present questions that would prompt him to issue threats. Along the way, he attempted to entangle Lebanon's Prime Minister Sa'ad Hariri, who Nasrallah said leaked the findings of the probe into Rafik Hariri's assassination five years ago. How I wish I could be a fly on the wall of Nasrallah's hideout when Hariri Jr. found himself facing his father's murderer, who insists on being a full partner in running Lebanon.
According to Nasrallah, the findings of the UN probe had been gathering dust in locked drawers for two years now. Nobody dares utilize the extradition requests until they can guarantee that Lebanon won't erupt as a result. How can anyone blame Hezbollah (and clear Syria of wrongdoing) when Nasrallah is certain he's been betrayed and threatens to go wild?
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Behind his back we see the emergence of a magnificent alliance between the presidential palace in Damascus and Lebanese leaders. Bashar and Hariri, along with the Turks and Saudis, are seeking a way to pull the matches away from Nasrallah's fingers. Meanwhile, Nasrallah made a cheeky proposal: Burying the incriminating report. He also made clear that nobody should think he would allow his people to be detained or order them to lay down their arms. The opposite is true: Nasrallah used his press conference to declare the approaching civil war.
Of course, Nasrallah accuses Hariri Jr. and members of the assassination inquiry of working on Israel's behalf. How does he know this? According to Nasrallah, the Mossad took over Lebanon's phone network, dozens of "traitors" have tapped into the lines, and the material flows between Tel Aviv and Washington, at his expense.
Developments on peace front?Yet Nasrallah's panic paints a fascinating snapshot on the peace front: The Saudi king, the Lebanese government's patron, will be heading for a first official visit in Beirut on the weekend. The elderly Abdullah would not bother himself had he not been convinced there's someone to talk to and something to talk about. The fresh alliance between the rulers of Syria and Lebanon constitutes good potential to shake up the axis of evil, and Saudi Arabia would not spare any effort to spoil things for the Ayatollahs.
Yet this is also a royal signal for Prime Minister Netanyahu: We'll create new order among the "bad guys," on condition that Israel finally responds to the Arab peace initiative, which was born in Saudi Arabia and was given a sweeping endorsement at the Arab Summit in Beirut. We should note that for eight years now, Israel had been keeping its eyes wide shut.
The Saudi peace initiative contains a formula for resolving all the burning issues: Direct negotiations with Abbas, on condition that Israel commits to an independent Palestinian state; full peace and normalized ties with 45 Arab and Muslim states, on condition that Israel pledges to withdraw to the 1967 borders; a peace treaty with Syria will follow automatically. Yet there are no free rides: Jerusalem's division is on the agenda as well as "solutions agreed to by all parties" in respect to the right of return.
For Israel, it's always convenient to see others do the dirty work, yet if all parties adhere to the plan being formulated at this time, and Syria manages to free itself of the Iranian bear hug, our turn shall come. The Saudi king is also heading to Damascus to support Bashar Assad, whom the Ayatollah's are getting fed up with.
Should they be able to burn Hezbollah at the stake without igniting Lebanon, the road shall be paved for renewing negotiations with Damascus. The price tag is known in advance. Assad has no intention of giving up even one inch.