Friday, August 25, 2006

Southern Lebanon residents: Hezbollah used us as human shields

As Southern Lebanon residents begin to speak up, the extent of Hezbollah's crimes against its own people becomes clearer:

NY Times--MARWAHEEN, Lebanon, Aug. 24 — For months, the residents of this predominantly Sunni village near the Israeli border watched anxiously as the Shiite Hezbollah militiamen brought arms and rockets into town in preparation for battle. The residents grappled with whether they should accept the fighters’ presence and face a possible Israeli attack or try to eject them, with the more probable risk of retribution by Hezbollah.

On Thursday, as the village buried 23 people who were killed by Israeli warplanes while trying to flee on July 15, many had belatedly made up their mind. “We kept beseeching them, ‘Stay out! Stay out!’ ” said Zainab Ali Abdullah, 19, who lost her father, brother and several other members of the family in the attack. “They said, ‘We’re all in the same boat together, so deal with it.’ But why should our children die for their cause?”

...When the war broke out, rockets flew out of the village and a hilltop nearby, and the fears of many residents that trouble would come grew stronger.

On Thursday, one of the suspicious white vans was sitting next to the town mosque. The van had apparently been hit by an Israeli missile, but the launching platform for a Katyusha rocket could still be seen inside. A rocket that lay next to the van a few days earlier had been removed.

Elsewhere, villagers showed off a weapons dump that included heavy machine guns, mortar rockets and launchers, and numerous other rockets left behind. Part of the weapons store had been bombed, but a much larger store down the street was intact.

Residents said Hezbollah was using them as human shields. “One man in this village was able to turn all our lives upside down for just a bit of money,” Ibrahim said. When the villagers left, he said, the fighters did too, as evidenced by the limited damage done to the town.

“We want the army and the United Nations to come in here and protect us,” he said. “Israel is our enemy, but the problem is that Hezbollah gave them an excuse to come in and kill our children.”

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Hezbollah's position is no more secure in the broader Arab world, where it is seen as an Iranian tool rather than as the vanguard of a new Nahdha (Awakening), as the Western media claim. To be sure, it is still powerful because it has guns, money and support from Iran, Syria and Hate America International Inc. But the list of prominent Arab writers, both Shiite and Sunni, who have exposed Hezbollah for what it is--a Khomeinist Trojan horse--would be too long for a single article. They are beginning to lift the veil and reveal what really happened in Lebanon.

Having lost more than 500 of its fighters, and with almost all of its medium-range missiles destroyed, Hezbollah may find it hard to sustain its claim of victory. "Hezbollah won the propaganda war because many in the West wanted it to win as a means of settling score with the United States," says Egyptian columnist Ali al-Ibrahim. "But the Arabs have become wise enough to know TV victory from real victory."