Hezbollah is in distress in the wake of its election loss. Despite the results, Nasrallah seeks to enter the Hariri-led unity government in Lebanon from a position of strength; for that reason, a lengthy and tiring process of negotiations between the sides is still ongoing.
And just at this sensitive timing, a Hezbollah arms depot exploded earlier this week in southern Lebanon. A Kuwaiti newspaper claims the site was in fact an outpost belonging to the group.
This is a clear pretext, and Nasrallah is the first one to know it is empty of substance – yet when one faces distress, and has been talking from his bunker three years after a war that was seemingly a "divine victory," one sometimes needs to pull skeletons out of the closet.
In addition, Israel publicized films showing Hezbollah setting up underground fortifications in area villages. All of the above constitute a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 that ended the war. More importantly for Nasrallah, this contradicts the Lebanese desire to avoid another destructive conflict vis-à-vis Israel.
The last war led to the destruction of the Dahiya neighborhood in Beirut that had not yet been rebuilt; southern villages also sustained grave damages. Therefore, the arms depot explosion prompted residents of nearby villages to flee and stirred great fury in Lebanon's media.
In order to ease the pressure at this sensitive time, Hezbollah is adopting steps that can be characterized as pathetic. Two of them were carried out Friday, on the anniversary of the prisoner swap that brought Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev's bodies back to Israel.
Hezbollah flags were held up alongside Lebanese flags, in order to emphasize the group's "concern for everyone," even though the Lebanese Army is deployed in the south. Notably, the Mount Dov region in fact faces Syrian-Lebanese disagreements, which hinder the resolution of the border issue in the area.
The second pathetic step was Nasrallah's speech, where he referred to long-forgotten issues, claiming that Israel is still secretly holding one of the terrorists who took part in the Coastal Road terror attack that left 35 Israelis dead in 1978. Officials in Israel say the terrorist was killed in a shootout during the attack. Hezbollah's chief also charged that Israel holds the remains of group fighters.
Ron Ben-Yshai, Yediot Aharonot