Nasrallah's Iraqi Peace plan
By: Colonel Charbel Barakat
(Translated from Arabic by: Elias Bejjani)

Hezbollah's leader Sheik Hussein Nasrallah has outlined lately his proposal for what he called an Iraqi national reconciliation, urging the Arab League, the Organization of the Islamic Conference or their members to sponsor what is being called an "Iraqi Taef." Nasrallah  warned that the goals of an American military assault on Iraq had become "clear to all", and would result in "disastrous" consequences for Iraq and the region.

Mr. Nasrallah shows in his proposal an actual sense for danger and a good understanding for what it means to step on the toes of a mighty power like the USA, especially when this power has started to react militarily. This time, Mr. Nasrallah appears very realistic in his proposal and does not wave his sword and try to beat Ben Laden in his extremism. It is very clear that Mr. Narsallah is trying to be logical, although he can't stand Saddam Hussein, opposes his policies, and fears his inclinations, but senses that he and Saddam currently share the same sinking boat.

Mr. Nasrallah 's proposed plan for solving the Iraqi problem seems to be a good formula, not only for Iraq but for all Middle East conflicts. We wonder if he is accordingly fully prepared to abandon his weapons and substitute them for an olive branch. Or he is just playing games, trying to buy time, and bending for mere survival purposes in the face of the current Western mounting storm?

These days Mr. Nasrallah seems to be more logical and with a lot more foresight than during the "Palestine Day" celebrations that took place recently in South Lebanon where Hezbollah has erected its "Jihad State". In his fiery speech that day, Nasrallah challenged openly the "pompous USA and Israel" and called on their "Zionist" leaders to confront his fighters in the "jihad" battlefield.

So it seems perhaps that Mr. Nasrallah might have learned a lesson from the bitter Canadian experience in which his party was banned by the government as a terrorist group. He even might have sensed the frantic Syrian conduct in anticipation of the stormy consequences of the post-Saddam era. His sudden sweetness could also be attributed to possible firm instructions received from his Iranian masters cautioning him that the current situation is extremely serious and far more then he can manipulate or confront rhetorically as he has done up till now. The United States, as Mr. Nasrallah warns in his proposal, is not only preparing to occupy Iraq but also aims to topple and change the Middle East power balance in a bid to enforce peace solutions after giving up on waiting for the Arabs to accept them through negotiations.

Mr. Nasrallah has heard recent American declarations on terrorism and stability in the Middle East and seems to realize the effects on a future strategic military presence of American troops in the region with a new Iraqi ally of the West. Mr. Nasrallah surely understands that these imminent regional realities would fracture the existing Syrian-Iranian coordination and put an end to their ongoing obstruction of peace in the Middle East.  He also grasps the fact that marginal players, like his Hezbollah group, will no longer be allowed to threaten regional stability through fanaticism and terrorism, or hinder the inclination of the region's people towards democracy and prosperity.

In his Iraqi peace proposal, Mr. Nasrallah seems to be trembling and is very nervous. He is not as threatening, yelling and belligerent as he appeared on national TV a few years ago waving the remains of an Israeli soldier who was killed by a mine explosion in the Adloun hills of Lebanon. He is not threatening to kill his enemies in their beds as he publicly warned the Southern Lebanese one week before the Israeli withdrawal from South Lebanon in May 2000. He is not exploiting the naiveté of the Iraqis as when he called on them lately to send their children to death in martyrdom operations. He has done that with the Palestinians leading them to their current disastrous predicament. They have lost their dream of a stable state the world was beginning to admire and respect. A state that was almost successful in reclaiming Jerusalem and in getting bigger and stronger with signing more and more peace agreements with the Israelis. Instead the Palestinian Authority, thanks to Mr. Nasrallah and his Iranian masters, has disappointed its people's hopes and aspirations because of stubbornness, suicide attacks, fanaticism, and poor shortsighted leadership.

How wonderful, Mr. Nasrallah has revealed a reconciliatory formula for all the Iraqi problem. In fact it would have been more sensible if he had proposed the same formula for his own bleeding country, Lebanon. In case Mr. Nasrallah is actually genuinely convinced of the effectiveness of his proposal for Iraq, he should have applied it first in occupied Lebanon. He should have unconditionally abandoned his weapons and handed them immediately to the Lebanese regime that has been  protecting his Hezbollah group since 1990.  He should have recognized this regime, accepted its authority, and condemned all acts that infringe on the Lebanese constitution and jeopardize the stability and shared-living of its multi-cultural peace-loving society. He should have called for a Lebanese national dialogue including all factions - loyalists and opposition alike - in a bid to start implementing UN Resolution 520, have general elections under UN supervision, and put together a national unity government.

This is all what the Lebanese people are aspiring for. But they know that none of these hopes would be fulfilled as long as the Syrian occupation continues. Mr. Nasrallah's true intentions are now being challenged.  If he actually believes in his proposal for Iraq, he ought then to prove first that he is willing to accept such a formula in Lebanon. Then, and only then, will Lebanon and other Middle Eastern countries start walking the one-thousand-mile journey towards peace and stability. Then, and only then, will the Lebanese and the whole world be prepared to forget Mr. Nasrallah's ugly terrorist face. Then, and only then, Mr. Nasrallah will be seen as a Shiite Muslim clergyman who calls for and practices forgiveness, tolerance, love, and genuine faith.

We call on Mr. Nasrallah to practice what he has rhetorically tried to preach in his Iraqi peace plan before it is too late. The imminent war will no doubt have disastrous consequences on Lebanon and on all the neighboring countries. We call on Mr. Nasrallah to stop preaching hatred and to put an immediate end to his advocacy for intolerance, killing, and abuse of religion for evil schemes. We remind him, as well as all those fanatic leaders and clergymen of his kind, that their so-called holy wars will only lead to delusional victories and to their own people's destruction, poverty, pain and agony. Mr. Nasrallah, quickly jump onto the peace wagon, for otherwise you will be left behind. The choice is still yours.