Dr. Richard L. Benkin
June 8, 2009 was supposed to be a triumphant day for the Middle East’s most radical terrorist groups and their patron, Iran. Unfortunately for them—and fortunately for the rest of the world—nothing turned out as they planned. Radical Islam lost today—lost big—once politically; once militarily.
Today‘s long anticipated Lebanese elections were billed as a showdown between the terrorist group, Hezbollah, and the pro- west March 14 Alliance party, led by the Sunni Moslem Future Movement faction headed by Saad el-Hariri. The terrorists were very confident that they would be Lebanon’s rulers by the end of the day; but when the votes were counted, Interior Minister Ziad Baroud declared that el-Hariri's bloc had won 71 of parliament's 128 seats.
“Congratulations to Lebanon, congratulations to democracy, congratulations to freedom,” el-Hariri said in his victory speech.
The results were also a major defeat for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad who made Hezbollah’s victory a centerpiece of his Middle East strategy. Little more than a week before the vote, Ahmedinejad spoke about the importance of a Hezbollah win; that it would signal popular support for “resistance” against Israel and the West.
“The [Hezbollah] victory in the parliamentary elections will strengthen the resistance and change the status in the region,” he told reporters in Tehran.
By casting the election in those terms, the volatile Iranian leader made the point for his more moderate opponents: ‘No, that’s not what the people want.’ And as such, he might be in some trouble with his ayatollah handlers. Ahmedinejad invested a lot of personal prestige and Iranian cash in a Hezbollah win, and both seem to have been misplaced. Moreover, the results place the terrorist group in a terrible bind. The victors said that they have no intention of allowing Hezbollah to retain its veto power over certain government actions and will reduce the group’s power in Lebanon. If in return, Hezbollah stages a coup, which many observers fear, it would undermine the group’s pretensions of being a lawful group within the Lebanese body politic. As of election night, its strongman, Hassan Nasrallah was purposely obscure about his intentions.
On the one hand, he said his group accepts its loss “with sportsmanship and in a democratic way,” but he then went on to accuse the March 14 group of securing its victory through bribery and scare tactics. He said his group had no intention of disarming, contrary to United Nations resolutions.
“The public here has sent a message to the world, and no one forced it on them. And the message is that they have adopted the resistance option – this option is an expression of those peoples' desires and their choice.’
Iran’s other terrorist vassal, Hamas planned to celebrate its cousin’s victory with a massive attack on Israel and the kidnapping of several Israeli soldiers. That, too, was a disaster for the terrorists. Israeli Defense Forces foiled the attack early Monday. Troops from Israel’s Golani brigade identified ten to twelve terrorists, some of them on explosive-laden horses, and equipped with booby-trapped vehicles and suicide belts. As they attacked the Israelis, other terrorists from farther inside Gaza fired mortar shells to distract them. The terrorists were hoping to cross into Israel and inflict serious damage. Not a single Israeli, however, was killed or injured, while at least four of the terrorists were killed and others wounded. The Israelis also sent helicopters to battle terrorist attacks at several other points along the barrier with Israel. The intent was to inflict as much damage as possible on Israeli troops and civilians, while kidnapping several Israelis and hold them as bargaining chips. Hamas did not achieve a single objective.
Thus, in a single day, the virulent anti-Israel camp suffered a major military defeat at the hands of the Israelis and a major political defeat at the hands of the people it claims to represent.