Wed Aug 16th, 2006 at 02:51:18 AM EST
I've been trying to verify whether it is true that one of Hezbollah's avowed objectives is the destruction of Israel. I think I finally got the answer last night from Noam Chomsky on Radio Open Source (the same Internet radio program that I first heard Jerome on).
Chomsky went to Lebanon about two months ago to speak at American University in Beirut, where he was invited to meet with the leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah. Chomsky says of Nasrallah: "measured, reasonable, pragmatic, thought things through, he answers questions explicitly".
Chomsky explains that Hezbollah's "official position" -- repeated to him by Nasrallah -- was that
they don't think Israel is a legitimate state -- but that's the opinion throughout the Arab world. However ... they will go along with whatever the Palestinians agree to. And for twenty years, officially, and for many more years tacitly, the Palestinians have been calling for support for the international consensus on a two-state settlement on the international border. And the Hezb -- Arab League supports that; Iran supports it; and Hezbollah -- Nasrallah says, yeah, they'll support it, too. They don't like it, but if that's what the Palestineans want, then fine, they won't disrupt.
In other words, according Nasrallah (according to Chomsky), Hezbollah may not like the existence of Israel, but it will accept it, if that is what the Palestineans will accept in order to get a two-state settlement.
The program also includes Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Tom Ricks, author of FIASCO: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, who asks Chomsky (among other things) why the U.S. is effectively transferring power from the Sunnis to Shiites in Iraq, i.e. to precisely those people supporting Hezbollah and Iran, and who fiercely resisted, undermined and killed U.S. forces in Iraq. Chomsky answers that it basically comes down to the mind-boggling stupidity of the U.S. administration.
The conversation ranges over U.S. war planning, the role of oil in Shiite dominated territories, the neocon "vision" for democracy in the region, the emergence of China, how the Pentagon might be planning to deal with Iran, and the role of the Palestinean conflict in the larger so-called rise of extremist militant Islam.