Joe Assad, Consul General of Lebanon in Manila, was my high school classmate at La Salle Green Hills. He is a Lebanese Christian whose family has roots in Beirut. I sympathize with him over the grave humanitarian situation that has arisen in his country because WAR has not been averted. And War IS hell. But I could not disagree with him more on his two main points on Strictly Politics with Pia Hontiveros just now that:
1) Lebanon is a "victim" in the fight between Israel and Hezbollah; and
2) that Hezbollah is just a bunch of "farmers" and "shepherds" who are fighting for their freedom against the Zionist aggressors. (Nice try Joe, but here, pull my leg some more ole buddy!)
Here are some of the accomplishments of those "farmers" and shepherds":
* a series of kidnappings of Westerners in Lebanon, including several Americans, in the 1980s;Ambassador Oscar Valenzuela of the Dept of Foreign Affairs Middle Eastern and African Affairs Bureau, really does a great disservice to the Philippine audience by claiming that Hezbollah is not considered a terrorist organization by the United States or the European Union.
* the suicide truck bombings that killed more than 200 U.S. Marines at their barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1983;
* the 1985 hijacking of TWA flight 847, which featured the famous footage of the plane’s pilot leaning out of the cockpit with a gun to his head;
* two major 1990s attacks on Jewish targets in Argentina—the 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy (killing twenty-nine) and the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center (killing ninety-five).
* a July 2006 raid on a border post in northern Israel in which two Israeli soldiers were taken captive. The abductions sparked an Israeli military campaign against Lebanon to which Hezbollah responded by firing rockets across the Lebanese border into Israel.
Israeli Ambassador Yehoshua Sagi contested this point with him, pointing out correctly that Hezbollah is on the US foreign terrorist organization list (along with the CPP-NPA). Italy, the Netherlands and Poland have branded Hezbollah a terrorist organization, and only Hezbollah's presence within the Lebanese parliament has apparently constrained the EU itself from branding the organization as terrorist, and instead only names its leaders as such.
Former Senator Leticia Shahani makes the key point here that the Lebanese government itself has been unable to implement the United Nation's resolution for Hezbollah to be disarmed and have the legitimate government of Lebanon be the only armed military power within its own borders.
It would be as if Indonesia was basically overrun by Jemaah Islamiyah and they started firing missiles into Zamboanga and Cotabato. If the Indonesian government did nothing but call them freedom fighters, and we had Israel's strength and will for national survival, would it not be self-defense for us to stop them?
Peace will come to Lebanon some day. But in that future, I cannot see a thing like Hezbollah existing side by side with a thing like Israel. Forced to choose between the two, because it IS a war, I'm with Israel.
The best analysis of this is ongoing at the Belmont Club, by another old friend of Joe Assad.
UPDATE: Our Own HezbollahThe New People's Army is in the news:
NPA Landmine Injures 15 Civilians:
TANDAG, Surigao del Sur -- (2ND UPDATE) At least 15 people were wounded, five of them seriously, when their minibus hit two landmines planted by communist rebels along a highway in the southern province of Surigao del Sur, Monday morning.That's funny, the CPP NPA claims it only uses "remote controlled landmines" after the international community has loudly condemned the use of land mines worldwide because of precisely this sort of thing. This only proves that we have our own Hezbollah in the NPA, as another item even has the communist terror group offering to pay for the hospitalization of the victims. What? Using money extorted from locals and national businesses shown in another news item:
Reds torch 10th Globe TowerSeems like they never hit Smart/PLDT cell sites. Wonder why? Maybe, rival telco Smart/PLDT is probably paying "revolutionary taxes" -- which is really what keeps the communist insurgency alive. Shame on you Manny Pangilinan!