- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 7, 2006

It’s another world, another kind of history, a pseudo-history created out of fabrications and fanciful lies and taught from kindergarten to university. I am talking about the Middle East where all evil is the fault of the West and, of course, of Israel; and where it is believed, according to public opinion polls, that America, not Islamists, was responsible for the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Day after day, I read translations of the most disheartening articles from the Arab press — disheartening because if they believe only a small percentage of these untruths, there can be no peace in the unforeseeable future.

I’ve just come across an article in the Egyptian weekly, Roz Al-Yusuf, titled “Hezbollah’s Children’s Militias.” Reading it, set my hair on end. Hezbollah has recruited, says the article, 2,000 children between ages 10 to 15 for the armed militias in the Hezbollah affiliated Mahdi Scouts youth organization, founded in May 1985. The youngsters, according to the Egyptian weekly, are trained to become suicide bombers. In fact, Hezbollah refers to them as “martyrs.”

In other words, these 10-year-olds are given the right to make life-and-death decisions for themselves. Where the parents fit into this Shi’ite scenario is not clear from the article but we can assume they approve of their sons’ future martyrdom.

(The Imam Mahdi, after whom the organization is named, is the prophesied Messiah of Islam, who will change the world into a perfect Islamic society before “Day of the Resurrection.”)

These children-soldiers wear camouflage uniforms, smear black camouflage paint on their faces and in joining the Mahdi Scouts agree to become “martyrs.” The first classroom lesson Hezbollah textbooks teach is titled “The Disappearance of Israel.”

The Mahdi Scouts Web site says membership in early 2005 totaled 41,960, of whom 120 are prepared to be suicide bombers. The article quotes Na’im Qasim, deputy to Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, in an interview with Radio Canada: “A nation with child martyrs will be victorious, no matter what difficulties lie in its path. Israel cannot conquer us or violate our territories because we have martyr sons who will purge the land of the Zionist filth. … This will be done through the blood of the martyrs, until we eventually achieve our goals.”

Language like this instigates the violence and inhibits compromise. Except for Jordan and Egypt, no Muslim country is prepared to make peace with Israel. It is clear another war between Islam and Israel is on the horizon, thanks to financing by oil-rich Iran. It will not be setpiece battles, armies facing each other. It will be like Vietnam. The Vietnam communists had a supply base and a headquarters, North Vietnam, which supplied the enemy Viet Cong guerrillas.

Israel’s enemies have a supply base in Iran and a headquarters in Tehran. The U.S. conceded victory to the communists in 1974 and went home. Israel, the only genuine democracy in the Middle East, cannot concede victory to Hezbollah because there would be no home to go to.

Arnold Beichman, a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, is a columnist for The Washington Times.

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