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ISRAELI STRIKES MAY BOOST HIZBULLAH BASE: HIZBULLAH SUPPORT TOPS 80 PERCENT AMONG LEBANESE FACTIONS; TIDE OF ARAB OPINION SUPPORTS HIZBULLAH

 
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ISRAELI STRIKES MAY BOOST HIZBULLAH BASE: HIZBULLAH SUPPORT TOPS 80 PERCENT AMONG LEBANESE FACTIONS; TIDE OF ARAB OPINION SUPPORTS HIZBULLAH
"The stakes are high for Hizbullah, but it seems it can count on an unprecedented swell of public support that cuts across sectarian lines. According to a poll released by the Beirut Center for Research and Information, 87 percent of Lebanese support Hizbullah's fight with Israel, a rise of 29 percent on a similar poll conducted in February. More striking, however, is the level of support for Hizbullah's resistance from non-Shiite communities. Eighty percent of Christians polled supported Hizbullah along with 80 percent of Druze and 89 percent of Sunnis . . . "This support for Hizbullah is by default. It's due to US and Israeli actions""


www.csmonitor.com/2006/0728/p06s01-wome.html
[link to www.csmonitor.com]


Israeli strikes may boost Hizbullah base

Hizbullah support tops 80 percent among Lebanese factions.


By Nicholas Blanford


TYRE, LEBANON – The ferocity of Israel's onslaught in southern Lebanon and Hizbullah's stubborn battles against Israeli ground forces may be working in the militant group's favor.

"They want to shatter the myth of Israeli invincibility," says Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, a leading Lebanese expert on Hizbullah. "Being victorious means not allowing Israel to achieve their aims, and so far that is the case."

Still, the intensity of the Israeli bombing campaign appears to have taken Hizbullah aback. Mahmoud Komati, the deputy head of Hizbullah's politburo told the Associated Press, "the truth is - let me say this clearly - we didn't even expect [this] response ... that [Israel] would exploit this operation for this big war against us."

When Hizbullah guerrillas snatched two Israeli soldiers from across the border, it appeared to be a serious miscalculation. In the days that followed the July 12 capture, Israel unleashed its biggest offensive against Lebanon since its 1982 invasion, smashing the country's infrastructure, creating 500,000 refugees, and so far killing more than 400 civilians.

Thursday, Israeli air and artillery strikes continued in southern Lebanon and the International Committee of the Red Cross said bodies were laying in the streets of some Lebanese border villages where fighting has trapped civilians. Also Thursday Al Qaeda's second in command, Ayman Zawahiri, called in a televised video for Muslims to join fighting in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon in a holy war against Israel. While al-Qaeda is a Sunni Muslim group which in general views Shiites, who make up Hizbullah's ranks, with disgust and not even as Muslims, they share a common hatred of Israel and the US.

In a televised address Tuesday, Hassan Nasrallah, Hizbullah's secretary general, said the Israeli onslaught was an attempt by the US and Israel to "impose a new Middle East" in which Lebanon would be under US hegemony.

"Our fate is to confront this plan ... we are waging a war for the liberation of the remaining occupied lands and the liberation of our detainees," Mr. Nasrallah said.

Ms. Saad-Ghorayeb says that Hizbullah's goals have changed, "assuming a wider strategic importance" in which the party is at the forefront of opposition to the Bush administration's agenda of transforming the Middle East into a series of pro-Western democracies.

"Hizbullah is in a unique position to confront the US agenda which if successful will be, by extension, a victory for Syria, Iran and Hamas," she says.

Hizbullah's top guerrilla fighters are mounting a stubborn campaign against the region's most powerful army in and around Bint Jbail, the largest Shiite town in the border district where support for the party runs high.

Hizbullah has had six years - ever since Israel withdrew from south Lebanon - to prepare for this climactic showdown. Instead of storing weapons and ammunition in vulnerable stockpiles, they are scattered throughout the south in natural caves, tunnels, and homes. Hizbullah officials say they have sufficient ammunition and high morale tofight for months.

Hizbullah's frontline fighters are battle-hardened veterans after fighting Israeli forces in the 1990s. They are armed with advanced Russian antitank missiles, which have proved deadly against Israel's vaunted Merkava tanks and use classic hit-and-run guerrilla tactics.

"Hizbullah is doing what it does best, harassing the enemy," says Timur Goksel, who served 24 years with the UN peacekeeping force in south Lebanon.

Indeed, Nasrallah has announced the launch of the "second phase of our struggle" in which his long-range rockets would "go beyond Haifa," Israel's third-largest city. Israeli officials have been bracing for possible rocket attacks on Tel Aviv, which would mark a major escalation in the conflict.

"If Hizbullah hits Tel Aviv, I think that Israel will totally wipe off the map Bint Jbail, Khiam, Tyre and Nabatieh," says Nizar Abdel-Kader, a columnist for Ad-Diyar newspaper and a retired Lebanese army general.

The stakes are high for Hizbullah, but it seems it can count on an unprecedented swell of public support that cuts across sectarian lines. According to a poll released by the Beirut Center for Research and Information, 87 percent of Lebanese support Hizbullah's fight with Israel, a rise of 29 percent on a similar poll conducted in February. More striking, however, is the level of support for Hizbullah's resistance from non-Shiite communities. Eighty percent of Christians polled supported Hizbullah along with 80 percent of Druze and 89 percent of Sunnis.

Lebanese no longer blame Hizbullah for sparking the war by kidnapping the Israeli soldiers, but Israel and the US instead.

The latest poll by the Beirut Center found that 8 percent of Lebanese feel the US supports Lebanon, down from 38 percent in January.

"This support for Hizbullah is by default. It's due to US and Israeli actions," says Saad-Ghorayeb, whose father, Abdo, conducted the poll.

The most favorable outcome for Hizbullah, analysts say, is to keep harassing Israel until there is a cease-fire agreement that essentially leaves Hizbullah intact. If Israel establishes an occupation zone along the border to police the area, Hizbullah will likely continue fighting, unhindered by a weakened Lebanese government and backed by a radicalized Shiite community. That growing radicalization is palpable in this laid-back coastal town where support for Hizbullah traditionally has been arbitrary.

Ghassan Farran, a doctor and head of a local cultural organization, gazes in disbelief at the pile of smoking ruins which was once his home. Minutes earlier, an Israeli jet dropped two guided missiles into the six-story apartment block in the centre of Tyre.

"Look what America gives us, bombs and missiles," says this educated, middle-class professional. "I was never a political person and never with Hizbullah but now after this I am with Hizbullah."


---


"...Hezbollah’s ability to withstand the Israeli assault and to continue to lob missiles well into Israel exposed the weaknesses of Arab governments with far greater resources than Hezbollah."


www.cggl.org/scripts/new.asp?id=608
[link to www.cggl.org]


Tide of Arab Opinion Supports Hizbullah


Neil MacFarquhar

New York Times

07/28/2006


DAMASCUS, Syria, July 27 — At the onset of the Lebanese crisis, Arab governments, starting with Saudi Arabia, slammed Hezbollah for recklessly provoking a war, providing what the United States and Israel took as a wink and a nod to continue the fight.

Now, with hundreds of Lebanese dead and Hezbollah holding out against the vaunted Israeli military for more than two weeks, the tide of public opinion across the Arab world is surging behind the organization, transforming the Shiite group’s leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, into a folk hero and forcing a change in official statements.

The Saudi royal family and King Abdullah II of Jordan, who were initially more worried about the rising power of Shiite Iran, Hezbollah’s main sponsor, are scrambling to distance themselves from Washington.

An outpouring of newspaper columns, cartoons, blogs and public poetry readings have showered praise on Hezbollah while attacking the United States and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for trumpeting American plans for a “new Middle East” that they say has led only to violence and repression.

Even Al Qaeda, run by violent Sunni Muslim extremists normally hostile to all Shiites, has gotten into the act, with its deputy leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, releasing a taped message saying that through its fighting in Iraq, his organization was also trying to liberate Palestine.

Mouin Rabbani, a senior Middle East analyst in Amman, Jordan, with the International Crisis Group, said, “The Arab-Israeli conflict remains the most potent issue in this part of the world.”

Distinctive changes in tone are audible throughout the Sunni world. This week, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt emphasized his attempts to arrange a cease-fire to protect all sects in Lebanon, while the Jordanian king announced that his country was dispatching medical teams “for the victims of Israeli aggression.” Both countries have peace treaties with Israel.

The Saudi royal court has issued a dire warning that its 2002 peace plan — offering Israel full recognition by all Arab states in exchange for returning to the borders that predated the 1967 Arab-Israeli war — could well perish.

“If the peace option is rejected due to the Israeli arrogance,” it said, “then only the war option remains, and no one knows the repercussions befalling the region, including wars and conflict that will spare no one, including those whose military power is now tempting them to play with fire.”

The Saudis were putting the West on notice that they would not exert pressure on anyone in the Arab world until Washington did something to halt the destruction of Lebanon, Saudi commentators said.

American officials say that while the Arab leaders need to take a harder line publicly for domestic political reasons, what matters more is what they tell the United States in private, which the Americans still see as a wink and a nod.

There are evident concerns among Arab governments that a victory for Hezbollah — and it has already achieved something of a victory by holding out this long — would further nourish the Islamist tide engulfing the region and challenge their authority. Hence their first priority is to cool simmering public opinion.

But perhaps not since President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt made his emotional outpourings about Arab unity in the 1960’s, before the Arab defeat in the 1967 war, has the public been so electrified by a confrontation with Israel, played out repeatedly on satellite television stations with horrific images from Lebanon of wounded children and distraught women fleeing their homes.

Egypt’s opposition press has had a field day comparing Sheik Nasrallah to Nasser, while demonstrators waved pictures of both.

An editorial in the weekly Al Dustur by Ibrahim Issa, who faces a lengthy jail sentence for his previous criticism of President Mubarak, compared current Arab leaders to the medieval princes who let the Crusaders chip away at Muslim lands until they controlled them all.

After attending an intellectual rally in Cairo for Lebanon, the Egyptian poet Ahmed Fouad Negm wrote a column describing how he had watched a companion buy 20 posters of Sheik Nasrallah.

“People are praying for him as they walk in the street, because we were made to feel oppressed, weak and handicapped,” Mr. Negm said in an interview. “I asked the man who sweeps the street under my building what he thought, and he said: ‘Uncle Ahmed, he has awakened the dead man inside me! May God make him triumphant!’ ”

In Lebanon, Rasha Salti, a freelance writer, summarized the sense that Sheik Nasrallah differed from other Arab leaders.

“Since the war broke out, Hassan Nasrallah has displayed a persona, and public behavior also, to the exact opposite of Arab heads of states,” she wrote in an e-mail message posted on many blogs.

In comparison, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s brief visit to the region sparked widespread criticism of her cold demeanor and her choice of words, particularly a statement that the bloodshed represented the birth pangs of a “new Middle East.” That catchphrase was much used by Shimon Peres, the veteran Israeli leader who was a principal negotiator of the 1993 Oslo Accords, which ultimately failed to lead to the Palestinian state they envisaged.

A cartoon by Emad Hajjaj in Jordan labeled “The New Middle East” showed an Israeli tank sitting on a broken apartment house in the shape of the Arab world.

Fawaz al-Trabalsi, a columnist in the Lebanese daily As Safir, suggested that the real new thing in the Middle East was the ability of one group to challenge Israeli militarily.

Perhaps nothing underscored Hezbollah’s rising stock more than the sudden appearance of a tape from the Qaeda leadership attempting to grab some of the limelight.

Al Jazeera satellite television broadcast a tape from Mr. Zawahri (za-WAH-ri). Large panels behind him showed a picture of the exploding World Trade Center as well as portraits of two Egyptian Qaeda members, Muhammad Atef, a Qaeda commander who was killed by an American airstrike in Afghanistan, and Mohamed Atta, the lead hijacker on Sept. 11, 2001. He described the two as fighters for the Palestinians.

Mr. Zawahri tried to argue that the fight against American forces in Iraq paralleled what Hezbollah was doing, though he did not mention the organization by name.

“It is an advantage that Iraq is near Palestine,” he said. “Muslims should support its holy warriors until an Islamic emirate dedicated to jihad is established there, which could then transfer the jihad to the borders of Palestine.”

Mr. Zawahri also adopted some of the language of Hezbollah and Shiite Muslims in general. That was rather ironic, since previously in Iraq, Al Qaeda has labeled Shiites Muslim as infidels and claimed responsibility for some of the bloodier assaults on Shiite neighborhoods there.

But by taking on Israel, Hezbollah had instantly eclipsed Al Qaeda, analysts said. “Everyone will be asking, ‘Where is Al Qaeda now?’ ” said Adel al-Toraifi, a Saudi columnist and expert on Sunni extremists.

Mr. Rabbani of the International Crisis Group said Hezbollah’s ability to withstand the Israeli assault and to continue to lob missiles well into Israel exposed the weaknesses of Arab governments with far greater resources than Hezbollah.

“Public opinion says that if they are getting more on the battlefield than you are at the negotiating table, and you have so many more means at your disposal, then what the hell are you doing?” Mr. Rabbani said. “In comparison with the small embattled guerrilla movement, the Arab states seem to be standing idly by twiddling their thumbs.”

Mona el-Naggar contributed reporting from Cairo for this article, and Suha Maayeh from Amman, Jordan.


---


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Re: ISRAELI STRIKES MAY BOOST HIZBULLAH BASE: HIZBULLAH SUPPORT TOPS 80 PERCENT AMONG LEBANESE FACTIONS; TIDE OF ARAB OPINION SUPPORTS HIZBULLAH
ADDENDUM:


""Hezbollah gives you dignity, it returns your dignity to you," he replied, "Israel has put all of the Arab so-called leaders under her foot, but Nasrallah says 'No more.'""


www.informationclearinghouse.info/article14243.htm
[link to www.informationclearinghouse.info]


'Everything In My Life Is Destroyed, So I Will Fight Them'


By Dahr Jamail


07/28/06 "Information Clearing House" - [link to www.informationclearinghouse.info] - "I am in Hezbollah because I care," the fighter, who agreed to the interview on condition of anonymity, told me. "I care about my people, my country, and defending them from the Zionist aggression." I jotted furiously in my note pad while sitting in the back seat of his car. We were parked not far from Dahaya, the district in southern Beirut which is being bombed by Israeli warplanes as we talk.

The sounds of bombs echoed off the buildings of the capital city of Lebanon yesterday afternoon. Out the window, I watched several people run into the entrance of a business center, as if that would provide them any safety.

The member of Hezbollah I was interviewing-let's call him Ahmed-has been shot three times during previous battles against Israeli forces on the southern Lebanese border. His brother was killed in one of these battles. It's been several years since his father was killed by an air strike in a refugee camp.

"My home now in Dahaya is pulverized, so Hezbollah gave me a place to stay while this war is happening," he said, "When this war ends, where am I to go? What am I to do? Everything in my life is destroyed now, so I will fight them."

That explains why earlier in the day, when driving me around, he'd stopped at an apartment to change into black clothing-a black t-shirt and black combat pants, along with black combat boots.

A tall, stocky man, Ahmed seemed always exhausted and angry.

"I didn't have a future," he continued while the concussions of bombs continued, "But now, Hassan Nasrallah is the leader of this country and her people. My family has lived in Lebanon for 1,500 years, and now we are all with him. He has given us belief and hope that we can push the Zionists out of Lebanon, and keep them out forever. He has given me purpose."

"Do you think this is why so many people now, probably over two million here in Lebanon alone, follow Nasrallah?" I asked.

"Hezbollah gives you dignity, it returns your dignity to you," he replied, "Israel has put all of the Arab so-called leaders under her foot, but Nasrallah says 'No more.'"

He paused to wipe the sweat from his forehead. The summer heat in Beirut drips with humidity. During the afternoon, my primary impulse is to find a fan and curl up for a nap under its gracious movement of the thick air here.

Earlier he'd driven me to one of the larger hospitals in Beirut where I photographed civilian casualties. All of them were tragic cases but one really grabbed me-that of a little 8 year-old girl, lying in a large bed. She was on her side, with a huge gash down the right side of her face and her right arm wrapped in gauze. She was hiding in the basement of her home with 12 family members when they were bombed by an Israeli fighter jet.

Her father was in a room downstairs with both of his legs blown off. Her other family members were all seriously wounded. She lay there whimpering, with tears streaming down her face.

I think I won Ahmed's trust after that. I walked out the car, got in and sat down. He asked me where I wanted to go now.

Ahmed put his hand on my shoulder and said, "This is what I've been seeing for my entire life. Nothing but pain and suffering."

A photographer from Holland who was working with me was able to respond to Ahmed that maybe we could go have a look at Dahaya.

Ahmed had told me that it was currently extremely dangerous for a journalist to try to go into Dahaya. Before, Hezbollah had run tours for people to come see the wreckage generated by Israeli air strikes. All you had to do was meet under a particular bridge at 11 a.m., and you had a guided tour from "party guys" (members of Hezbollah) into what has become a post-apocalyptic ghost town.

A couple of days ago I went there, without the "party guy" tour. A friend and I were driven in by a man we hired for the day to take us around. I was shocked at the level of destruction-in some places entire city blocks lay in rubble. At one point we came upon the touring journalists, all scurrying to their vehicles. Everyone was in a panic.

"What's going on?," I asked our driver. "A party guy who is a spotter said he saw Israeli jets coming," he responded, while spinning the van around and punching the gas as we sped past the journalists lugging their cameras while running back to their drivers.

While driving we were passed by several Hezbollah fighters riding scooters. Each had his M-16 assault rifle slung across his back and wore green ammunition pouches across his chest.

Ahmed told me he'd captured two Israeli spies himself. "One of them is a Lebanese Jewish woman, and she had a ring she could talk into," he explained as new sweat beads began to form on his forehead, "Others are posing as journalists and using this type of paint to mark buildings to be bombed."

I doubt the ring part, and also wonder about the feasibility of paint used for targeting, but there are no doubt spies crawling all over Beirut. In Iraq, mercenaries often pose as journalists, making it even more dangerous than it already was for us to work there.

Nevertheless, war always fosters paranoia. Whom can you trust? What if they are a spy? What are their motives? Why do they want to ask me this question at this time? These types of questions become constant I my mind, and so many others in this situation where normal life is now a thing of the past. I think they are some sort of twisted survival mechanism.

We drove back near my hotel and parked again. People strolled by on the sidewalks. Ahmed said, "I will never be a slave to the United States or Israel."


(c)2006 Dahr Jamail.

All images, photos, photography and text are protected by United States and international copyright law. If you would like to reprint Dahr's Dispatches on the web, you need to include this copyright notice and a prominent link to the [link to DahrJamailIraq.com] website. Website by photographer Jeff Pflueger's Photography Media [link to jeffpflueger.com] . More writing, commentary, photography, pictures and images at [link to dahrjamailiraq.com]
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4Q

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Re: ISRAELI STRIKES MAY BOOST HIZBULLAH BASE: HIZBULLAH SUPPORT TOPS 80 PERCENT AMONG LEBANESE FACTIONS; TIDE OF ARAB OPINION SUPPORTS HIZBULLAH
Good...Then Israel has been right all along and they will be good to go to walk through the entire country...

iamwith
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BUSH MUST GO  (OP)

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Re: ISRAELI STRIKES MAY BOOST HIZBULLAH BASE: HIZBULLAH SUPPORT TOPS 80 PERCENT AMONG LEBANESE FACTIONS; TIDE OF ARAB OPINION SUPPORTS HIZBULLAH
Good...Then Israel has been right all along and they will be good to go to walk through the entire country...

iamwith
 Quoting: 4Q


As the added emoticon expresses, you certainly are 'with stupid', troll.

BMG
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BMGfan
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07/28/2006 08:53 PM
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Re: ISRAELI STRIKES MAY BOOST HIZBULLAH BASE: HIZBULLAH SUPPORT TOPS 80 PERCENT AMONG LEBANESE FACTIONS; TIDE OF ARAB OPINION SUPPORTS HIZBULLAH
Good...Then Israel has been right all along and they will be good to go to walk through the entire country...

iamwith


As the added emoticon expresses, you certainly are 'with stupid', troll.

BMG
 Quoting: BUSH MUST GO
OlmertDahmer
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07/29/2006 05:48 AM
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Re: ISRAELI STRIKES MAY BOOST HIZBULLAH BASE: HIZBULLAH SUPPORT TOPS 80 PERCENT AMONG LEBANESE FACTIONS; TIDE OF ARAB OPINION SUPPORTS HIZBULLAH
Good...Then Israel has been right all along and they will be good to go to walk through the entire country...

iamwith


As the added emoticon expresses, you certainly are 'with stupid', troll.

BMG
 Quoting: BUSH MUST GO

All Mossad Megaphone shills are Megastupid.
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07/29/2006 05:55 AM
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Re: ISRAELI STRIKES MAY BOOST HIZBULLAH BASE: HIZBULLAH SUPPORT TOPS 80 PERCENT AMONG LEBANESE FACTIONS; TIDE OF ARAB OPINION SUPPORTS HIZBULLAH
Good...Then Israel has been right all along and they will be good to go to walk through the entire country...

iamwith
 Quoting: 4Q


Go away Jew boy
Matrix
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Re: ISRAELI STRIKES MAY BOOST HIZBULLAH BASE: HIZBULLAH SUPPORT TOPS 80 PERCENT AMONG LEBANESE FACTIONS; TIDE OF ARAB OPINION SUPPORTS HIZBULLAH
Since 9/11, extremist factions around the globe have never experienced such popularity. They must be happy that G.W Bush is U.S president, the man who has made all this possible via the war on terror. With a friend like Bush, who needs enemies.
Anonymous Coward
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Re: ISRAELI STRIKES MAY BOOST HIZBULLAH BASE: HIZBULLAH SUPPORT TOPS 80 PERCENT AMONG LEBANESE FACTIONS; TIDE OF ARAB OPINION SUPPORTS HIZBULLAH
[link to www.cbsnews.com]
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Re: ISRAELI STRIKES MAY BOOST HIZBULLAH BASE: HIZBULLAH SUPPORT TOPS 80 PERCENT AMONG LEBANESE FACTIONS; TIDE OF ARAB OPINION SUPPORTS HIZBULLAH
Gee, if the Lebos all think the Hizbos are right, then who are we to question them? Right? After all, they must know what is best for them and make the correct choice....right? Just like the Germans did in the 1930's when they choose their leaders.

Now who is included in the ranks and "simpleton stupid ass" now??

Dumbass.
BUSH MUST GO  (OP)

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Re: ISRAELI STRIKES MAY BOOST HIZBULLAH BASE: HIZBULLAH SUPPORT TOPS 80 PERCENT AMONG LEBANESE FACTIONS; TIDE OF ARAB OPINION SUPPORTS HIZBULLAH
Gee, if the Lebos all think the Hizbos are right, then who are we to question them? Right? After all, they must know what is best for them and make the correct choice....right? Just like the Germans did in the 1930's when they choose their leaders.

Now who is included in the ranks and "simpleton stupid ass" now??

Dumbass.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 92956


Funny you should draw a correlation to Nazi Germany, 92956.

At this juncture, while the U.S. supported IDF is acting, as I've pointed out elsewhere, like the Wehrmacht, Hizzbullah appears more and more akin to the French underground of WW-II, taking action against the Nazis when its own nation could not.

BMG
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Re: ISRAELI STRIKES MAY BOOST HIZBULLAH BASE: HIZBULLAH SUPPORT TOPS 80 PERCENT AMONG LEBANESE FACTIONS; TIDE OF ARAB OPINION SUPPORTS HIZBULLAH
That just makes for a longer and bloodier war.

I question, no I deny the intelligence of ANY ONE who puts any faith in polls like this one. Forget the obvious slant, for the moment. There's a bloody war going on. The Lebanese will return to the fold once their fascist masters are history.

Any person with a brain knows how little the voice of the "Arab street" means in reality. When the shooting stops, they go back to picking figs and boinking sheep.





GLP