IPI HomeEventsSpeakers EventsCambanis: “Hezbollah's Top Choice is a War with Israel”

 

print print  |  share share back back

Speaker Events - Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Cambanis: “Hezbollah's Top Choice is a War with Israel”

"Hezbollah's top choice is a war with Israel they can blame on Israel at the best time for Hezbollah," said Thanassis Cambanis, reporter and author of the book A Privilege to Die: Inside Hezbollah's Legions and Their Endless War Against Israel. His statement came in response to a question put to him on whether Hezbollah wants to provoke an attack by Israel or if it would rather avoid it.

"I think that's what they’re planning for, and, in the worst-case scenario for Hezbollah, they just have to outright provoke a war," he said at an IPI event on January 18th. “And that’s bad in a number of ways. That’s just bad, and it’s bad for the world."

Mr. Cambanis also said that all of Hezbollah is "wedded to a war against Israel," in contrast to Hamas, where some “aren’t necessarily interested in fighting."

To do his reporting, Mr. Cambanis told the IPI audience he sought out Hezbollah fighters by driving as close to the Israeli border as possible looking for "people with beards and cargo pants."

"No one in Lebanon wanted to join me in this, because they thought it was a completely suicidal approach," he said.

His approach worked, however, and Mr. Cambanis obtained an interview with Hezbollah fighter Rani Bazzi, who he describes as a “fanatic" who also had a "human mode."

"How could someone be eager to die and also appear to be so constructive?" he said. "This is the mystery that Hezbollah has resolved for itself, and it’s the reason why their society is so dynamic."

"The Israeli military can go in and kill every single Hezbollah fighter and destroy every single rocket in Lebanon, and unless Israel decides to occupy all of Lebanon for the foreseeable future after that, they’ll go back to Israel, and Hezbollah will still be there as the dominant force with more sympathy than ever before, and just like after the last war," he said.

"If there's a war, they win," he said, "and that's the thing that Americans and Israelis often don’t understand."

The event was moderated by Warren Hoge, IPI Vice President for External Relations.

Read transcript

To listen to the podcast, click the "play" button:

                        

The Global Observatory

Boko Haram Deal to Release Girls Met With Hope and Skepticism
The announcement of a cease-fire agreement between the Nigerian government and Boko Haram has raised hope as well as speculations over its authenticity.

Key Global Events to Watch in October
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.

2014 Top 10 Issues to Watch in Peace & Security: The Global Arena
A list of ten key issues to watch that are likely to impact international peace and security in 2014, compiled by IPI's Francesco Mancini.

The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.

Recent Events

October 09, 2014
Rethinking Women and Forced Migration
The drastic increase in conflicts around the globe has seen the world’s displaced population pass 55 million people, and the fact that 80% of them are women and children is prompting many to rethink how the international community is responding.

October 09, 2014
Africa: China’s Second Continent
Speaking at an IPI Distinguished Author Series event on October 9th, author Howard French made a case for how Western underestimation of Africa’s economic promise has enabled China to establish an economic and human presence on the continent, leading to the permanent migration there of nearly 2 million Chinese.

September 30, 2014
Vike-Freiberga: Rethinking the United Nations
In a speech delivered at IPI on September 30th, Dr. Vaira Vike-Freiberga gave a sobering historical analysis of the gains and setbacks made by the international system over the past century and, focusing on the UN, she called for a rethinking of the organization’s structure and approach to peace.

View More