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Experts disagree with Abul-Gheit over Hezbollah

Foreign minister blames resistance movement for war Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul-Gheit’s assessment that the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah started the war with Israel to avoid being disarmed by the Lebanese government is false revisionism and a distortion of the facts, political analysts have told The Daily Star Egypt. Abul-Gheit told Egyptian television late Saturday that …


Foreign minister blames resistance movement for war

Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul-Gheit’s assessment that the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah started the war with Israel to avoid being disarmed by the Lebanese government is false revisionism and a distortion of the facts, political analysts have told The Daily Star Egypt.

Abul-Gheit told Egyptian television late Saturday that Hezbollah might have sparked this war to justify their continued existence.

There had been an agreement, through roundtable discussions in Lebanon to implement the 1989 Taif Accord, which calls for the disarming of the militias in the country, the state news agency MENA quoted Abul-Gheit as saying.

Perhaps through the operation [Hezbollah leader Hassan] Nasrallah wanted to find a way out of the situation, he said. The Taif agreement, signed in 1989, was drawn up to end the Lebanese civil war and define the tenets of the future of its political landscape.

Dr. Walid Kazziha, chair of the political science department at the American University in Cairo said Abul-Gheit’s statements were “nonsense.

“How could he consider this? Doesn’t he [Abul-Gheit] read American newspapers? Does he only read Al-Ahram? If he read American newspapers he would know by now that this was a premeditated plan, Kazziha told The Daily Star Egypt.

“The Americans and the Israelis wanted to implement Resolution 1559 to disarm the Lebanese militias and remove Syria from Lebanese territory.

Kazziha echoed the suspicions of many regional experts – that a plan to end Hezbollah’s influence and reach in Lebanon had already been ironed out prior to the beginning of the war on July 12.

“On May 23 of this year, [Israeli Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert met with [US President George] Bush to discuss the implementation of a plan to achieve dissent. This was prior to the kidnapping of the two Israeli soldiers taken by Hezbollah.

Diaa Rashwan, head of the political unit at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, said, “The foreign minister doesn’t have enough information . It is Israel that initiated the war. Yes, Hezbollah kidnapped the Israeli soldiers, but no one expected the Israeli reaction. Even Hezbollah said they didn’t expect this reaction.

But Rashwan believes ideological differences may be behind the foreign minister’s read of the Lebanon war.

“The Egyptian government is opposed to Hezbollah because it is a revolutionary group.

When asked whether the minister’s position was in any way related to Egypt’s close ties with the United States, Rashwan replied, “As for the American influence on Egyptian foreign policy, this would further clarify the foreign ministry’s stand but would not be the main reason. In essence it is a conservative ministry.

Abul-Gheit had also asserted that Hezbollah’s folly had landed Lebanon in dire straits and that it hadn’t achieved anything except great loss to its country. The operation launched by Nasrallah was not very calculated and it exposed Lebanon and the Lebanese people and society to great losses, even if some feel pride or victory, Abul-Gheit said.

Any military operation must have a political goal. This operation did not achieve anything, he said. What was the political goal of (Hezbollah s) actions? The Shebaa farms are still under Israeli occupation, the foreign minister added.

United Nation’s Security Council Resolution 1559, adopted in 2004, calls on Lebanon to establish sovereignty over all of its lands and for the withdrawal of foreign forces. It also calls for the disbandment of all militias and for the electoral process to get under way.

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