Hizballah officially declared an open-ended war on the United States last night during a formal pre-recorded speech of its leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, who said Israel was little more than a pawn in the hands of America.

Beyond the oratorical flourishes and psychological warfare, Sheikh Nasrallah’s hour-long speech was the clearest sign yet that he was preparing his own people for military setbacks, tactical shifts, and strategic changes, among them:

•–Nasrallah threatened to continue war against America and Israel even if Israeli forces passed the Litani River, even conquering all of southern Lebanon and even if they reached Beirut;

•–Nasrallah specifically offered a cease-fire of rocket attacks in exchange for an Israeli stoppage of its air bombardment in Lebanon;

•–And Nasrallah personally insulted America’s top leaders by name, calling them murderers, and claiming their faces were sullied with the blood of innocent victims.

“I declare that whatever happens in this war, Lebanon will not become American,” emphasized Nasrallah, pointing with the semi-clenched fingers of his right hand.

“What has happened in this war from the first day, and what has happened up till now -the killing, the massacres, the brutality-the responsibility for them must be borne by Bush and by his administration, the American administration,” declared Hizballah’s leader.

“And in our opinion, Olmert and his government are merely tools to be used in this war,” asserted Nasrallah, shifting the black cloak he wore atop his gray tunic. Then, looking straight into the camera, the Shiite cleric’s bespectacled face formed a savage sneer.

“I want to make my meaning clear to say: the blood of the children and women of Kana, and the blood of all the old men, the civilians, and the innocent people shed in Lebanon stain the faces of Bush and Condoleeza Rice and Rumsfeld and Cheney.”

Nasrallah summed up his argument against America with the words: “This is the murderous, criminal and aggressive administration that sheds blood.”

In sarcastic remarks that were clearly aimed at those in Lebanon, such as Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, who wants a friendly relationship with the United States, he poked fun at America’s aid programs and its ideas for regional democratization.

“Don’t ever forget. This is the American administration that is the friend of Lebanon, that is the ally of Lebanon, that loves Lebanon, that wants peace for Lebanon, whose heart breaks for Lebanon. And who wants Lebanon to live in security and peace and serve as a model of democracy.”

“This is the American administration that some of you trusted in the past, that some of you still trust, and that some of you may trust in the future. And we must never forget it.

“I want us not to forget this in the coming days, in the coming months and in the coming years,” continued Nasrallah, again emphasizing each word -days, months, years-with the pinched fingers of his right hand.

“I declare that whatever the results of this war, Lebanon will not become American. It will not become Israeli. It will not become a base for the ‘new Middle East,’ desired by Bush and desired by Condoleeza Rice,” said Nasrallah.

Then making a sharp cutting motion across the front of his body, he exclaimed “these are definitive and crucial words.”

In remarks that were dedicated to the Israeli audience, Nasrallah warned that America-and the Bush Administration in particular-were weak and unreliable allies.

“If you decide to put your trust in the American administration, it would be better for you to pay attention to what has happened in Iraq,” said Nasrallah, referring to American casualties since the war against Saddam Hussein turned into a terror-guerrilla conflict.

“I tell you Israelis that your trust in America has been a failed trust,” observed the black-turbaned leader.

FrontPageMagazine.com | August 4, 2006