It is being widely reported in Lebanon, not least by as-Safir, that Hezbollah is responsible for downing the Lebanese army helicopter yesterday, August 28, 2008. Samir Hanna, a first lieutenant in Lebanon's tiny air force was killed. The chopper was down in Sujud, northeast of al-Nabatiyah, in the region called the iqlim al-tuffah (literally: the apple region). Other than pledging its cooperation, there has been, as l-Orient-le Jour notes, a "deafening silence" from Hezbollah.
Here is a fitting test, and an opportunity, for President Michel Suleiman. The president, the former army commander, endorsed Hezbollah's role as a national resistance for Lebanon. If he is wise, he will use the outrage coming not just from Hezbollah's adversaries in Lebanon, but from its allies to rein in Hezbollah. For instance, former Prime Minister Salim al-Huss emphasized that Hezbollah must explain and not seek to justify what happened.
The outspoken former Speaker Hussein al-Husseini pointed to this incident as evidence that Lebanon needs a national defense strategy.
L'Orient-Le Jour: "Le silence assourdissant du Hezbollah..."