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Jewish World Review May 28, 2002/ 17 Iyar, 5762

Richard Z. Chesnoff

Richard Z. Chesnoff
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Consumer Reports

New Peril: Hezbollah's
Wider War |
Here's a deep new wrinkle for the Bush administration's Mideast peacemaking efforts: Hezbollah, the heavily armed, Lebanese-based Islamic terrorist organization, has decided to expand operations and is sending terror squads to operate along Israel's eastern and southern frontiers.

Well-placed (and very worried) Lebanese sources say they've learned that Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah's spiritual leader and secretary general, recently approved secret plans to infiltrate new Hezbollah units into neighboring Jordan and Egypt. The primary aim: To stoke up Arab-Israeli fires by launching more Hezbollah rocket attacks on Israeli towns and settlements and by smuggling various types of Iranian-supplied weapons, including Katyusha rockets, to the Palestinians for use in their intifadeh. The contraband arms are to be shipped across the Jordanian border and through the Egyptian-controlled Sinai Peninsula.

As Hezbollah's terrorist leaders envisage it, this will help sabotage any renewed peace effort. They may be right.

Ominously enough, the new strategy was reportedly dreamed up by Imad Mughniyah, head of Hezbollah's attack units and Nasrallah's deputy for security affairs. This is the same Mughniyah who is believed to have been behind the suicide bombing that killed 241 Marines and sailors in Beirut in 1983 - an act of evil that won him a high place on the State Department's most-wanted- terrorists list.

Extremist to the point of fanaticism, Hezbollah is rigidly opposed to any peace settlement with Israel, so its latest gambit is a dangerous challenge to the U.S. and Israel as well as Jordan and Egypt - the only two Arab states with peace accords with Israel.

Jordan's young King Abdullah and Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak have been struggling to contain rising Islamic fundamentalism and prevent terrorist attacks on Israel from their territory. Jordan, in fact, arrested three Hezbollah activists last summer after they tried to transfer clandestine weapons from Syria to Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority by way of Jordan.

Now, Hezbollah terror boss Mughniyah is publicly attacking Arab countries that, in his words, "do nothing for the intifadeh and even act to foil and prevent demonstrations and smuggling of weapons to Palestine." He specifically mentioned the Jordanian arrests.

Mughniyah's message: His organization will thumb its nose at King Abdullah and anyone else who tries to prevent Hezbollah activity. This could mean terrorist activity against Jordan itself.

Neither Jordan nor Egypt can afford to allow this kind of activity on its turf. And Israel can't afford to let Hezbollah widen its war.

The U.S. would be smart to put pressure on Lebanon, Iran, Syria and anyone else who has a wedge to prevent Hezbollah's expanding its brand of terror.

JWR contributor and veteran journalist Richard Z. Chesnoff is a senior correspondent at US News And World Report, a columnist at the NY Daily News and a senior fellow at the Washington-based Foundation for the Defense of Demoracies. His latest book, recently updated, is Pack of Thieves: How Hitler & Europe Plundered the Jews and Committed the Greatest Theft in History.

Richard Z. Chesnoff Archives

© 2002, N. Y. Daily News