Hezbollah and the ‘Unknown Knowns’
We know well who killed the top Hezbollah commander, Imad Mugniyah on Feb 12th in
While in the
A major Israeli daily newspaper Maariv shared the views of many others when it concluded that: “Officially,
The Financial Times reported on the “triumphant mood” of the Israeli Press which hailed “the demise of one the country’s most feared adversaries” and quoted an Israeli paper stating “the account is settled.”
The Financial Times also quoted a most telling analysis offered by one Israeli commentator. “Mugniyah’s assassination is perhaps the hardest blow Hezbollah has taken to this day. Not just because of his operational abilities, his close ties to the Iranians, and the series of successful terror attacks that he carried out. But because he was a symbol, a legend, a myth.”
Donald Rumsfeld is no longer in public eye but his wisdom lives on. “We also know there are known unknowns,” he once told perplexed reporters. Precisely, the unknown known is that the Israeli Mossad killed Mugniyah, and killed him for specific political reasons, at a well-chosen time and place that would make perfect sense from the Israeli government’s point of view.
Let’s first look at the timing.
President Bush’s second term in office will expire in one year. For the president who has unconditionally rubber-stamped Israeli policies, one year is not enough to set long-term goals, but it’s enough to ignite chaos.
"If you want chaos, then we welcome chaos. If you want war, then we welcome war. We have no problem with weapons or with rockets which we will launch on you." These were the words of Lebanon’s MP Walid Jumblatt of the ruling March 14 Coalition, directed at the Hezbollah-led opposition a few days prior to the third year anniversary of Rafiq Hariri’s assassination. Considering the military strength of Hezbollah within
Indeed, the internal disunity and open hostility – notwithstanding the political impasse over the future of the country’s parliamentary and governmental organisation -- all point at the readiness of
The 34-day war, celebrated by Hezbollah as a victory, was a massive setback to
The Winograd Commission’s report indicted the army, and largely absolved Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. It described the war’s failure as a “serious missed opportunity.” The report didn’t chastise war, but decried its lack of effectiveness and poor execution.
How could Olmert correct the mistakes of war without leading another?
And what a better timing for war if not at a moment when Hezbollah and its rivals in
But the assassination of a high profiled person like Mugniyah was not merely an opportunity to boast over a classic Mossad operation. It was a major ingredient in a larger scheme, the end result of which is maybe war with both
By gloating, yet without revealing much about the assassination of Mugniyah, Israeli commentators might have lost sight of the great gamble of their government. Hezbollah’s response, articulated by their leader Hassan Nasrallah, was a vow for an ‘open’ war. The group will most likely avoid border clashes, and take the war against
The course of future events is now more predictable, although whether such tit-for-tat behaviour will work in
Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an author and editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His work has been published in many newspapers and journals worldwide. His latest book is The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People's Struggle (Pluto Press,