I hope those in State who want Hizballah to be removed from the list of terror groups saw this insightful Joel Himelfarb piece in the Washington Times, “Hezbollah’s deadly record” (thanks to Diana West and RB):
In the wake of the March 8 demonstrations in which Hezbollah brought as many as half-a-million people into the streets of Beirut to support Syria, Americans have been inundated with news stories and analyses emphasizing Hezbollah’s role as an indigenous political movement and its popularity with Lebanon’s Shi’ites.
Under pressure from France and the United Nations, the New York Times reported in a front-page story on Thursday, the Bush administration appears to be on the verge of acquiescing to a role for Hezbollah — one of the world’s most deadly terrorist organizations, responsible for torturing and killing hundreds of Americans over the past 22 years — in Lebanon’s future. How can this be, given that President Bush has made the fight against Islamofascist terrorism the defining issue of his presidency? Given the fact that more than 800,000 anti-Syrian and anti-Hezbollah demonstraters mobilized in Beirut yesterday, and given Hezbollah’s open contempt for democracy, why is Washington doing this?
In part, this move is an outgrowth of the administration’s decision to accommodate the concerns of its European allies by taking a more conciliatory posture toward Iran’s nuclear program. The accommodations would include the use of financial incentives such as permiting Iran to join the World Trade Organization in an effort to persuade Iran to change its ways.
Regarding Hezbollah specifically, Washington is responding to a number of domestic Lebanese political realities: Hezbollah holds 13 seats in Lebanon’s 128-member parliament, a total it hopes to increase in the May elections. It operates a well-run network of social services in a country where the central government is corrupt and incompetent. Western diplomats, particularly European ones, are hoping that Iran will be persuaded to restrain Hezbollah, and that Hezbollah will become so enmeshed in domestic Lebanese politics that it will lose interest in terrorism.
But throughout its history, no aspect of Hezbollah’s work is nearly as important as its terrorist role. Outside of Lebanon, Hezbollah’s priority in recent years has been its work in collaboration with Iran and Syria to destroy any possibility of Israeli-Palestinian peace. And Hezbollah’s history of killing Americans, collaborating with al Qaeda and setting up terrorist cells in the United States makes it one of the most dangerous terrorist organizations in the world today.
Hezbollah, which receives between $100 million and $200 million a year in assistance from Iran, for the most part does not carry out its own attacks against Israel. Instead, it provides logistical help, such as instruction in bomb making, to Palestinian terrorist organizations. It has actively sought to recruit Israeli Arabs into participating in terrorism, and it helps Iran funnel assistance to Palestinian terrorist groups….
Read it all.