China and its Discontents

Hezbollah Can’t Claim Victory

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The New York Times’ recent article on the nature of Hezbollah’s current existential predicament was extremely instructive – mainly because many people don’t view Hezbollah’s problems as an issue over its very existence (but it is). The best quote, unfortunately, was wedged toward the bottom:

“Hezbollah doesn’t want to control the government or country, even though they could if they wanted,” said Anis Nakkash, director of the Aman Research Center here in Beirut.

The article identified the problem; that is, Hezbollah can’t consolidate power. But this quote says why: Hezbollah doesn’t want to claim total power. The real reason behind this being, Hezbollah is a militant group, and ruling governments by definition cannot fill the same role as a militancy. An institutionalized Hezbollah is no longer the same Hezbollah that once existed, and the leaders of the group don’t want to lose sight of their original goal: vengeance and destruction upon Israel. Now this is not to say that states that employ terror do not exist. They do. But they generally operate dysfunctionally and are rejected by the global community (Iran, North Korea, China at its worst, etc.).

Hezbollah is on a very shaky path right now. It simply does not have the requisite credibility among the international community to act as a real, normalized stakeholder in any Lebanese government. But it’s also true that we need Hezbollah to become legitimate more than anything – to shake off some of its radical roots, cut off ties with Iran (which might already have happened), and take over some responsibility in representing Lebanese’ interests on the world stage. This outcome is possible, but it will require a careful dance by US diplomats. As for Hamas – well, Hamas is another story. They’re really off the deep end.

Written by Will

January 14th, 2011 at 4:55 am