July 2006 reminds the world of the 33-day war launched by Israel against Hezbollah. The Zionist regime’s aggressions, which were supported by the US and its allies, destroyed southern Lebanon and killed hundreds of civilians. In fact, the American cluster bombs fired by Israel during the war continue to claim the lives of Lebanese civilians.
Lebanese Premier Fuad Siniora had asked the US not to sell cluster bombs to Israel and US State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack confirmed Israel violated agreements with the United States governing their use.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert later testified that he launched the 33-day war against Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon in line with a contingency plan he approved four months before the war.
Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz have seen their popularity slump since the war, in which 158 Israelis, including 117 soldiers and 41 civilians, were killed. In Lebanon, about 1,200 civilians were killed.
The Israelis criticized the failure of their government and asked for accountability of the Zionist officials.
Iran Daily’s Amir Tajik met Seyyed Abdullah Safiadeen, Hezbollah’s envoy in Tehran, to discuss the Zionist regime’s violations, defeat and other aspects of the 33-day war. Excerpts:
AMIR TAJIK: Hezbollah could target Tel Aviv during the 33-day war, but it didn’t do so. Why?
SEYYED ABDULLAH SAFIADEEN: Basically, all the military capabilities should not be used at the beginning of a war. Seyyed Hassan Nasrollah, Hezbollah leader, announced that Tel Aviv will be targeted by Hezbollah missiles if the Israeli regime targets Beirut, Lebanon’s capital. This has two implications: First, Hezbollah missiles can reach Tel Aviv and there is no doubt about it. Second, we restricted the Israeli regime to focus its attacks on some parts of Lebanon and, thanks to God, we succeeded. It is natural for both sides to bomb each other and kill people but the rules of the game are set when it starts. Hezbollah did not consider it necessary to use its full capabilities. It had capabilities that were kept for the next phase of the war. If Israel had made a mistake by attacking Beirut, Hezbollah would definitely have used its military capability.
Some critics say Hezbollah’s tactics during the war with Israel were Iranian tactics.
No. We study war tactics from all over the world. One of the advantages of Hezbollah is that it’s not only a military group. We studied all war options before the beginning of the 33-day war, because we are always in a state of readiness. We studied the Israeli soldiers’ morale, their capabilities and even Israeli public opinion and knew the weak points of the enemy. We studied all options and finally selected the tactics used in the 33-day war. Those tactics were also used in the 7-day war of 1993 and the 16-day war of 1996. We selected the way of fighting Israel. If Muslim states offered us help, we would accept. We will never reject others’ help, but this does not mean that we would use special tactics.
Was Hezbollah weakened by the 33-day war?
No. With God’s Help, Hezbollah’s military and defensive capability has become ten times stronger since last year. It is a fact that Israel is considered the US military base in region and its weakness means the US has been weakened. Moreover, we can say that actually America was the one defeated during the 33-day war and this defeat opens the door to further defeats in the region and in the international arena.
Is there any possibility of Israel attacking southern Lebanon again in the near future?
All neighbors of Israel should always be aware and ready because Israeli nature is aggressive. Israel’s nature is to occupy lands of neighboring states and bear enmity toward the Islamic world. So, we believe that our enemy is always ready to attack us. You can see that Israel is intensifying its aggression against the Palestinians and continues to violate Lebanon’s airspace on a daily basis. This is aggression and we are always in a state of readiness and we will give them an appropriate response when necessary. Israel was defeated during the 33-day war and it admitted its failure to the Winograd committee. That’s why you saw many resignations in its cabinet after the war.
Why didn’t Palestinians help Hezbollah during the 33-day war?
You should consider the resistance against Israel as Hezbollah (Army of God) and in this context all Muslims and Arabs who are against Israel will be known as Hezbollah. You could see it during the war with Israel. Hezbollah was fighting Israel, but all Lebanese, especially people in southern Lebanon, stood by it. The same were people of Palestine, Iran and Arab world. We believe that Hezbollah is fighting Israel on behalf of them. You could see massive rallies supporting Hezbollah in all countries and even in Washington. The fact that people poured into streets and supported Hezbollah shows that it was not just Hezbollah that fought with Israel. Hezbollah is honored to fight Israel and, with God’s Help, it succeeded. We believe that Hezbollah is not alone today and never was.