Mitchell: Hezbollah Chief 'Charismatic Leader' & 'Populist' Who 'Provides Social Services'
The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video to provide this transcript of the July 17 “In Depth” NBC Nightly News piece on what Hezbollah, Iran, Syria and Israel hope to “get” out of the conflict:
Anchor Brian Williams, in Israel: "Back with you from Tel Aviv where today here we were given a mostly off-the-record briefing by a high-ranking Israeli General mostly on Hezbollah and this current military campaign. The General described them as very capable and very dangerous. But what else is known about the other side in this conflict? More tonight 'In Depth' from our chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell."
Andrea Mitchell, from Washington, DC: "As Hezbollah rockets reach farther into Israel, what is Hezbollah and what is its end game? Experts say to prove it can damage Israel in ways Arab countries couldn't. Since Syria was forced out of Lebanon a year and a half ago, Hezbollah's charismatic leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah has become Lebanon's best known and most controversial politician. A Shiite populist, Nasrallah provides social services where Lebanon's weak new government cannot, has ministers in the cabinet and operates militias."
Martin Indyk, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel: "It has developed a terrorist cadre, an international terrorist infrastructure, and a powerful militia with weapons and capabilities provided by Iran and Syria."
Mitchell: "What does Iran get out of this fight? It gets a proxy war that damages Israel and tells the world: Don't get too aggressive in the nuclear showdown."
Daniel Benjamin, terrorism analyst: "I think that's very clearly one of the messages we're getting here: Don't mess with us, you'll pay a big price."
Mitchell: "Syria also has an end game to reassert control through Hezbollah of Lebanon's fledgling democracy. But what does Israel get out of this conflict?"
Benjamin: "They need to show that this cannot stand. Israel simply can't leave its citizens undefended in the face of all these missiles."
Mitchell: "And why has the U.S. given Israel a green light? Experts say since the administration won't deal with Iran or Syria, having Israel fight Hezbollah is the only way to control the terror group and indirectly strike a blow at its chief sponsor, Iran. The risk? Instead of helping Lebanon's government crack down on Hezbollah, Israel's barrage could cause that government to collapse, creating even more danger for Israel. Andrea Mitchell, NBC News at the State Department."