Recent terror attacks have less to do with Israel than we think
Hezbollah’s interest to execute an attack at this stage, despite the danger of a violent confrontation with Israel, has more to do with the organization’s standing in Lebanon.
For the past four years, Hezbollah has attempted to exact revenge over the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh. Time after time the attempts failed – most of them were thwarted by the Israeli and worldwide intelligence communities. Yesterday, the Shiite organization could list an “achievement” – ostensibly, one of its people was able to wound the wife of an Israeli diplomat at Defense Ministry office in India.
It must be said that the attempt to execute two bombings in India and Georgia should theoretically point to a high level of sophistication and ability. However, the final outcome points to the pathetic nature and the relative failure at achieving the goal.
Exactly one month ago, a Hezbollah attack on Israeli targets was thwarted in Bangkok. Thailand’s Police Chief Priewpan Damapong said then that Hezbollah had cancelled its attack in the wake of the publishing of the arrest of a Lebanese man connected to the organization. Three weeks ago, it was the Iranian intelligence which sent several terrorists to attack members of Chabad as well as the Israeli ambassador in Azerbaijan. Hezbollah has attempted to carry out several revenge attacks in Turkey and Azerbaijan over the past four years.
Despite the limited damage done, the attempts at attacking Israeli targets will likely continue. It is possible that even the recent failures will only strengthen Hezbollah’s motivation to continue and prove that it did not forget the “Secretary-General” Imad Mughniyeh. It is possible that in this context, one must understand Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s surprising comments to a Shiite crowd that amassed in Beirut last week to celebrate the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday in which he said that the organization is not taking orders from Iran. It should be assumed that Nasrallah knew that the attacks were to take place a day after the anniversary of Mughniyeh’s assassination, since he hinted to his crowd that Hezbollah has been acting independent of the Islamic Republic, a notion he has been pushing for quite a while.
Hezbollah’s interest to execute an attack at this stage, despite the danger of a violent confrontation with Israel, has more to do with the organization’s standing in Lebanon. While internet sites repeatedly mentioned the anniversary of Mughniyeh’s assassination on Monday, it was forgotten that on Tuesday Lebanon commemorates the anniversary of the assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
Despite Nasrallah’s repeated denial that Hezbollah was behind Hariri’s murder, the suspicions follow him relentlessly. The Lebanese public, like that in the rest of the world, suspects that Hezbollah was behind the killing. And as if to add fuel to the fire, Prime Minister Najib Mikati, who was appointed with the generous assistance of Hezbollah, announced that the International Criminal Court at The Hague intends to submit a new indictment against those involved in the Hariri murder, in addition to the four indictments against Hezbollah members. According to Mikati, this was said to him by Head Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare during his last trip to Lebanon. It should be added that there is a general lack of clarity regarding the organization’s future in Lebanon should Bashar Assad fall. The Syrian opposition no longer hides its disgust toward Hezbollah and Iran, and once Assad is toppled, the new Damascus may seek its revenge on the Shiite organization.