Thursday, June 28, 2007

Washington's Obsesssion with Lebanon's Hezbollah

East Meredith, New York, June 28, 2007

The politicians of Lebanon are doing their thing again: pushing their country further into a “failed state” position. While the country is falling apart the warlords of this republic argue ceaselessly about when and how to strengthen Hezbolla’s role in Lebanese governance, a measure that would reflect its constituency. There is consensus that Hezbollah is to stay intact as a party retaining its militia. This obsessive Byzantine circular exchange between the two sides reflects poisonous lack of trust. The government wants Hezbollah diminished and Hezbollah wants the government handcuffed. Cues for politicians’ posturing come from outside the country.

The official Lebanese army remains the only hope of future national unity. But this poorly armed army continues to bleed as it struggles with a ruthless Fateh-al-Islam insurrection in a camp that houses angry and neglected Palestinian refugees. The FAI is a mixed group of Sunni anarchists that include Palestinians, Lebanese and other Al-Qaeda inspired Arabs. In the northern city of Tripoli, and elsewhere, security is deteriorating. In the south the international peace forces have just lost six of their soldiers to an FAI related attack.

As Fateh-al Islam’s mayhem spreads from the north of the country to the south, from inside the camp to outside it and from the Lebanese army to the United Nation’s peace force, Riad and Paris, now look pragmatically at the Hezbollah led opposition. Do they see the potential of Hezbollah’s as a protective agency for a rapidly disintegrating state?

Lebanon invited Amro Musa last week, Secretary General of the Arab League, to resolve a seven months old crisis. Not surprisingly, and not for the first time, The General Secretary failed in his mission after four intensive days of shuttle mediation. Ambassador Musa’s position seemed closer to the government side than to the opposition.

Hezbollah and its allies retain a popular base in several regions of the country. The majority of Shiites(roughly 30% of Lebanon’s population), about a third of the Christians and a minority of (Arab national) Sunnites rally behind Hezbollah. Even some of those who dislike Hezbollah respect its leader, Sheik Hasan Nasrallah.

Opponents of Hezbollah in Lebanon are concerned about its religio-political subculture. They ask the obvious question: will Hezbollah turn fundamentalist in the future? There is no verifiable answer to this speculation. In practice, since its inception in 1983, this movement has been national in scope, welfare oriented in policy and respectful of other minorities. After the Israeli withdrawal in 2000, Hezbollah did not take revenge against the South Lebanese Army, a former Christian militia that fought along the side of Israel against the Shia south border community. Currently Hezbollah allies itself with Aoun’s party whose constituency is secular and Christian.

Local politics is only one part of the story of Lebanon. To a certain extent Beirut politics is a pantomime; the voices of local leaders are significantly muted by external mechanisms from the East and the West. Ambassador Musa could have gone to Washington, Paris and Riad and then to Damascus and Tehran to negotiate Lebanon’s crisis. The US, France and Saudi Arabia support and finance the current Lebanese cabinet while Syria and Iran support and finance the Hezbollah-led opposition.

Lebanon’s instability invites Israel’s intervention. Israel regularly tramples on Lebanon’s soil and penetrates its skies. A million unexploded Israeli cluster bombs remain on Lebanese territories from the 2006 war. Cluster bombs are a form of continued Israeli “occupation”. The 400 000 Palestinian refugees carry arms in their camps. The Lebanese army is barred from entrance to refugee camps. Hezbollah’s reluctance to disarm is not simply an act of defiance.

For many, Hezbollah provides at least four major benefits: social services, a second tier national security, screening for political corruption and a moderating influence on rapid Westernization. Its opponents remain unimpressed; they worry about a Lebanon with a culture of militias as they reflect on their bloody civil war history. They also fear that the Shia community seeks to compensate military strength for its marginal socio economic status.

Despite significant Lebanese support the US and Israel are highly mobilized to defeat Hezbollah. There is unconfirmed evidence, (Seymour Hirsh reporting) that FAI received financial support from Lebanese and US government sources to position this group as a shield against the (Shiite) Hezbollah.

The Administration’s enmity to Hezbollah is not serving the country. Riad and Paris, America’s close partners in Lebanon have observed that Al-Qaeda cells, such as Fateh-al-Isalm, are destabilizing both to Lebanon and to the region. This fundamentalist insurrection has caused France and Saudi Arabia to soften their stand on Hezbollah.

It is counterproductive for the US to orient its foreign policy in Lebanon around isolating and dismantling Hezbollah. The US rationale for targeting Hezbollah is the protection of the sovereignty of Lebanon and the security of Israel. It may be true that in principle, militias interfere with state sovereignty. It is also a regrettable fact that Hezbollah provoked a disastrous war with Israel last summer. But Lebanon is a weak state in a dangerous region; it has always lived with a power sharing (sectarian) handicap. Despite its social modernity, politically “Loubnan” has always been a co-habituation of religious tribes. This precarious republic has always lacked state sovereignty and faced danger on its borders.

Al-Qaeda’s recent penetration in Lebanon through the FAI and similar anarchist groups is lethal. Lebanon needs all its indigenous resources mobilized and coordinated to cope with the external threats that are rapidly becoming internal structures. If treated as an asset Hezbollah may fulfill positive expectations. Washington’s obsession with Hezbollah is not justified if the intention is to protect Lebanon’s sovereignty or Israel’s security. Are there are better ways for Washington to achieve those two goals of merit? Indeed: revive the peace process and change the paradigm of foreign policy.


Blogger oakleyses said...

ray ban outlet, prada handbags, tory burch outlet online, christian louboutin, michael kors outlet online, coach purses, coach outlet, christian louboutin outlet, kate spade outlet, burberry outlet online, christian louboutin shoes, longchamp outlet, nike free, michael kors outlet, polo ralph lauren, michael kors outlet store, jordan shoes, red bottom shoes, louis vuitton outlet online, burberry outlet online, longchamp outlet online, coach outlet, michael kors outlet online, louis vuitton handbags, oakley vault, oakley sunglasses, gucci handbags, polo ralph lauren outlet, tiffany and co jewelry, prada outlet, louis vuitton outlet, chanel handbags, louis vuitton, kate spade outlet online, nike air max, true religion outlet, michael kors outlet online, ray ban sunglasses, nike outlet, nike air max, true religion, cheap oakley sunglasses, longchamp handbags, louis vuitton outlet, coach outlet store online, michael kors handbags, tiffany jewelry

10:47 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

vans pas cher, abercrombie and fitch, nike air max, air max pas cher, longchamp, louis vuitton pas cher, converse pas cher, hollister, nike free pas cher, nike roshe, nike air max, mulberry, louis vuitton uk, ralph lauren, michael kors canada, air jordan, air max, chaussure louboutin, tn pas cher, lacoste pas cher, true religion jeans, true religion outlet, barbour, sac louis vuitton, ralph lauren pas cher, oakley pas cher, new balance pas cher, nike blazer pas cher, burberry pas cher, michael kors uk, ray ban uk, hermes pas cher, north face pas cher, longchamp pas cher, hollister, nike roshe run, north face, louis vuitton, timberland, nike air force, lululemon, sac vanessa bruno, nike free, guess pas cher, ray ban pas cher, scarpe hogan, sac michael kors

10:49 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

wedding dresses, mac cosmetics, soccer shoes, soccer jerseys, canada goose outlet, insanity workout, canada goose, p90x workout, abercrombie and fitch, longchamp, nfl jerseys, ugg soldes, instyler ionic styler, giuseppe zanotti, canada goose outlet, reebok shoes, ghd, herve leger, nike huarache, ugg outlet, bottega veneta, jimmy choo shoes, celine handbags, ferragamo shoes, ugg, canada goose outlet, babyliss, mcm handbags, uggs outlet, asics shoes, north face jackets, lululemon outlet, north face jackets, hollister, marc jacobs outlet, replica watches, valentino shoes, uggs on sale, birkin bag, uggs outlet, nike roshe, vans outlet, chi flat iron, new balance outlet, nike trainers, beats headphones, ugg boots, mont blanc pens, ugg boots

10:50 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

moncler outlet, wedding dress, supra shoes, uggs canada, louboutin, coach outlet, canada goose, air max, ugg, lancel, moncler, converse, moncler outlet, louis vuitton canada, thomas sabo uk, moncler, pandora charms, canada goose, juicy couture outlet, links of london uk, swarovski uk, replica watches, juicy couture outlet, moncler, nike air max, swarovski jewelry, timberland shoes, montre femme, hollister, oakley, moncler, hollister clothing, ray ban, hollister canada, pandora uk, vans, pandora jewelry, baseball bats, ralph lauren, gucci, parajumpers outlet, converse shoes, moncler, canada goose pas cher, iphone 6 case, karen millen, canada goose, toms outlet

10:51 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

burberry outlet, nike free, oakley sunglasses wholesale, gucci handbags, longchamp outlet, replica watches, oakley sunglasses, nike air max, ray ban sunglasses, christian louboutin uk, ugg boots, nike air max, polo ralph lauren outlet online, louis vuitton outlet, ray ban sunglasses, kate spade outlet, tiffany jewelry, michael kors outlet, uggs outlet, michael kors outlet online, michael kors outlet, nike outlet, michael kors outlet online, prada handbags, christian louboutin shoes, louis vuitton outlet, christian louboutin, jordan shoes, polo outlet, cheap oakley sunglasses, burberry handbags, christian louboutin outlet, tory burch outlet, michael kors outlet online, longchamp outlet, uggs on sale, longchamp outlet, michael kors outlet store, tiffany and co, prada outlet, ugg boots, chanel handbags, uggs outlet, louis vuitton, ray ban sunglasses, louis vuitton, louis vuitton outlet, replica watches

12:35 AM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

michael kors, converse pas cher, new balance, north face uk, true religion outlet, nike roshe, sac hermes, nike tn, true religion jeans, timberland pas cher, vans pas cher, michael kors outlet, mulberry uk, coach purses, nike roshe run uk, nike free uk, lululemon canada, michael kors pas cher, nike blazer pas cher, oakley pas cher, nike air max, polo lacoste, polo ralph lauren, nike air max uk, abercrombie and fitch uk, hollister uk, nike free run, longchamp pas cher, north face, hollister pas cher, hogan outlet, true religion outlet, ralph lauren uk, michael kors, jordan pas cher, air max, sac vanessa bruno, guess pas cher, nike air max uk, kate spade, louboutin pas cher, ray ban uk, ray ban pas cher, burberry pas cher, coach outlet, nike air force, coach outlet store online, sac longchamp pas cher, coach outlet, true religion outlet

12:40 AM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

vans, ralph lauren, giuseppe zanotti outlet, nike roshe run, ray ban, p90x workout, herve leger, asics running shoes, nike air max, timberland boots, ghd hair, reebok outlet, new balance shoes, north face outlet, iphone 6 cases, mac cosmetics, wedding dresses, nike trainers uk, converse outlet, celine handbags, lululemon, hollister clothing, soccer jerseys, instyler, longchamp uk, converse, soccer shoes, babyliss, insanity workout, beats by dre, gucci, north face outlet, vans outlet, abercrombie and fitch, hermes belt, ferragamo shoes, hollister, bottega veneta, nike huaraches, nike air max, louboutin, jimmy choo outlet, valentino shoes, baseball bats, nfl jerseys, chi flat iron, oakley, mcm handbags, hollister, mont blanc pens

12:45 AM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

karen millen uk, doudoune moncler, canada goose, michael kors outlet online, louis vuitton, moncler, moncler, replica watches, pandora uk, pandora charms, swarovski crystal, ugg uk, coach outlet, michael kors handbags, canada goose outlet, moncler, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, ugg, canada goose outlet, marc jacobs, pandora jewelry, lancel, wedding dresses, moncler, moncler outlet, links of london, moncler outlet, barbour uk, canada goose outlet, canada goose uk, doke gabbana, michael kors outlet, barbour, louis vuitton, louis vuitton, canada goose, supra shoes, juicy couture outlet, louis vuitton, canada goose jackets, canada goose, juicy couture outlet, louis vuitton, swarovski, hollister, toms shoes, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, pandora jewelry, ugg pas cher, thomas sabo, moncler uk, montre pas cher

12:50 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home