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Nasrallah tells it like it is - but how does he think it should be?

Byline: The Daily Star

Summary: One of the reasons that Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has proven such a formidable foe for the Israelis is that the Hizbullah leader has long had a knack for sizing up his enemy. The analysis he provided during his speech on Monday night about the current Israeli situation ought to give pause to those who doubt that Israel poses a grave danger.

Editorial

One of the reasons that Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has proven such a formidable foe for the Israelis is that the Hizbullah leader has long had a knack for sizing up his enemy. The analysis he provided during his speech on Monday night about the current Israeli situation ought to give pause to those who doubt that Israel poses a grave danger, not only to its neighbors, but also to itself. As Nasrallah pointed out, successive Israeli governments, whether headed by Labor, Kadima or Likud, have showed equal disdain for peacemaking and a similar thirst for conflict and settler-driven conquest. The current assortment of racist parties that now dominates the Israeli political spectrum after the elections has only given the Jewish state a more honest face - one which the international community will eventually recognize for what it is.

Likewise, Nasrallah's assessment of the regional situation was insightful and correct. The Hizbullah leader voiced strong support for reconciliation efforts, including a possible Saudi-Syrian rapprochement and an inter-Palestinian accord. Perhaps these stances stem from Nasrallah's recognition that Israel's current regional strategy relies heavily on inducing divisions within the ranks of the Arab and Islamic worlds.

On the internal front, Nasrallah showed similar wisdom with his choice of words. He emphasized the need to avoid internal divisions and to continue to pursue the path of dialogue and reconciliation. He also reached out to his political opponents - and thereby curtailed the recent excesses of some of his allies - by paying homage to the late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and relaying his condolences over the violent death of Lutfi Abbas Zeineddine, a participant in Saturday's March 14 demonstration held to celebrate the legacy of the slain prime minister.

Much of what Nasrallah said on Monday night was in line with recent remarks made by his political rivals in the March 14 Forces. The fact that both the March 14 and March 8 leaders are keeping their commitments to maintain the current calm augurs well for the Lebanese as they prepare for the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Nasrallah's speech demonstrated that despite all the talk of Hizbullah constituting a hindrance to the Lebanese state, the party's leadership maintains a reasonable approach from which a strong and coherent state can emerge in a genuine spirit of partnership. All that remains to be done is for both sides to elaborate on the policy approaches that they have briefly outlined by identifying the exact steps that need to be taken if lofty objectives such as combating corruption, implementing reform and strengthening the state are ever to be achieved.

Copyright 2009, The Daily Star. All rights reserved.

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Publication:The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)
Date:Feb 18, 2009
Words:510
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