Saturday, April 07, 2007


It’s not my usual practice to quote Lebanon’s Daily Star but staff writer Michael Young got a few things right in WHEN A DILETTANTE TAKES ON HIZBULLAH.

Responding to the visit to Syria of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Young berates the Democrat for her comment that "the road to solving Lebanon's problems passes through Damascus." He reminds her that her statement will only harm efforts to ensure that Syria ends its meddling in Lebanese affairs and will thereby strengthen Hizbullah's position in that beleagured country.

Young adds that in 2000 Hizbullah "lost much of its reason to exist as a military force when the Israelis withdrew from Southern Lebanon. The manufacturing of the Shebaa Farms pretext, thanks to the diligent efforts of Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, bought Hizbullah an extension, a handy fig leaf allowing it to keep its weapons. Last summer, however, the party's initiation of a war devastating to Lebanon, followed by its efforts to lead a coup against the majority, demolished any lingering cross-sectarian support that Hizbullah had enjoyed.

"Hizbullah's weapons are no longer regarded as weapons of resistance by most Lebanese, but as weapons of sectarian discord."

Young concludes:-

"For years, pundits and analysts have spoken of Hizbullah's 'integration into Lebanese society. ' Their underlying premise was that the party somehow desired this. Optimists pointed to Hizbullah's participation in successive parliamentary elections as an example of its willingness to 'assimilate.' The naivete deployed was remarkable. It rarely occurred to the experts that Hizbullah did not start as, nor truly is, a social services organization. It is an Iranian-financed military and security enterprise overseeing a vast and competent patronage system designed to win Shiite backing, allowing Hizbullah to retain its weapons. It never occurred to the experts that Hizbullah's objective in participating in the political system was not to jettison its military identity, but rather to safeguard it within the confines of Lebanese institutions it could thereafter influence."

1 comment:

Gulliver-on-Tour said...

The Beirut Daily Star does occasionally get a mention in the Unfairfax Press but not this time. The Age and SMH has the same contempt for the Lebanese people as it does for the Israelis.