Absurd Theories to Understand Hezbollah
Absurd Theories to Understand Hezbollah
Time after time, the following analysis comes at us out of nowhere: Hezbollah had been a force for resistance and then transformed into something else. It had been virtuous and then turned pure evil.
Some see that the party transformed in 2008, the day of the armed coup against Beirut, while others believe that it transformed when it intervened in the war in Syria in 2012- 2013.
This analysis is mythical at best, especially since it is a manifestation of a reading of major developments and events without their astonishing recurrence leading to any form of revision, which is, in turn, among the features of mythical consciousness.
For example, before Hezbollah, the Algerian resistance had been the Arabs and Muslims’ pride and glory, but the Ben Bella - Boumediene security and dictatorial regime emerged as a result of its victory. The Egyptian Syrian unification of 1958 was described as the major achievement of our modern history, only for Nasserite despotism to take hold in Syria almost immediately. Nasserism was our greatest achievement, but the resounding defeat of 1967 marked its miserable conclusion. The Palestinian resistance was our history’s most crucial moment, but it led to two civil wars in Jordan and Lebanon and then to the calamity of 1982.
The examples are many, and they go beyond modern Arab history, with world history at large seen through a mythical lens: The October 1917 Russian Revolution had been the 20th century’s glorious preamble, but Stalinism soon emerged and overtook Russia.
This view resembles a verse of two hemistichs: In the first, the sayer says he remains loyal to the principles (revolution, resistance, socialism, etc.) and has not wavered in his commitment to them. In the second hemistich, he declares the wretchedness of fate that did what it had done to us.
Concerning Hezbollah in particular, it will not be difficult to refute this mythical analysis and discover that the “evil” of the second phase was latent in the “virtue” of the first phase. As for occupying Beirut in 2008 and interventing in Syria four years later, these developments merely culminate what had begun when the party was founded in 1982.
Let us go over this founding history quickly, perhaps we will find “virtue”: the party, and it is no longer a secret, was born in the Iranian embassy in Damascus when Ali Mohtashami had been the ambassador. From the outset, it has been composed of members of a single confessional group, and men with religious education have always led the party, per Khomeini’s “Vilayet al-Faqih” (Guardianship of the Jurist, Iran’s theocratic political system) doctrine. It represented a defiance, sponsored by Tehran and Damascus, of the intentions to compromise shown by other Lebanese Shiite leaders. During this early period, it linked Lebanon to the Iraq-Iran war with assassinations, bombings, and kidnappings of foreigners.
During the same period, it also called for the establishment of an “Islamic Republic” in Lebanon before abandoning the idea later on.
In the context of a country composed of 18 sects, such a party means only the country’s absolute destruction. It is pure evil.
Correspondingly: analysis that focuses on the resistance activities of the first period, and is not struck by the factors mentioned above, announces only one thing: Lebanon and its civil peace do not concern us. The important concern: resistance against Israel. This analysis adds to the myth about the resistance to another myth concerning its plan: basic logic is enough to make us understand that weakening Lebanon to this extent does not lead to successful resistance to Israel. With such systemic fragmentation, resistance to the Principality of Liechtenstein would be difficult.
The fact is, if we put the dramatizations aside, we realize that the party has succeeded far more at dividing Lebanon than it has at liberating Lebanese land from Israel. Forget about the liberation of Palestine and praying in Al-Aqsa mosque!
For accuracy’s sake, the other factors, along with the party’s efforts that contributed to the liberation, should be recalled: In his election campaign of March 1999, Ehud Barak pledged to unilaterally withdraw from Lebanon, responding to the demands of the Israeli public opinion. The deaths of Israeli soldiers at the hands of Hezbollah undoubtedly had an impact, but they did not exceed the 800 killed over 18 years (1982 - 2000). The victims of traffic accidents in the Jewish state were always far more numerous. In any case, upon Barak’s assumption of the prime ministership, he withdrew and implemented Resolution 425 faster than he promised, on May 24, 2000.
Hezbollah’s major victories are elsewhere: in paralyzing and terrorizing Lebanese political life, starting in 2005. For a moment, let us think about this horrifying fact: in one of the clauses of the Doha Agreement that followed the 2008 invasion of Beirut:
“The parties pledge to abstain from resorting to the use of arms or violence,” while Hezbollah is the only party that owns, and resorts to weapons.
Of course, the party succeeded in snatching the decisions of war and peace from the state, not to liberate Palestine, but to invade Syria and reinforce the regime subordinate to Iran!
The theory of “was virtuous and turned evil” is an absurd theory. It was born evil, and remains so.