Hezbollah, Lebanon

Hezbollah Announces a New Party Program

Hezbollah secretary-general Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah announced today that his party had adopted a new program, the first time this has happened since Hezbollah’s inaugural “Open Letter” was published in 1985 (an English translation can be found here).

One should be advised that there is very little in it that is going to surprise you. In my opinion, this program merely formalizes the shift in Hezbollah’s orientation that we’ve witnessed over the past two decades, from a guerilla outfit to a full-fledged political movement. Still, this is a significant development, and I welcome your thoughts on it.

Tune in tonight for the next post in our series on reform in Lebanon: abolishing political sectarianism. A propos of this subject, here’s the section from the new Hezbollah program that addresses it (in uncommonly strong language: “the fundamental problem in the Lebanese political system, which prevents its reform, development, and renewal, is the problem of political sectarianism…”)

**

إنّ المشكلة الأساسية في النظام السياسي اللبناني، والتي تمنع إصلاحه وتطويره وتحديثه بشكل مستمر هي الطائفية السياسية. كما أنّ قيام النظام على أسس طائفية يشكّل عائقاً قوياً أمام تحقيق ديمقراطية صحيحة يمكن على ضوئها أن تحكم الأكثرية المنتخَبة وتعارض الأقلية المنتخَبة، ويُفتح فيها الباب لتداول سليم للسلطة بين الموالاة والمعارضة أو الإئتلافات السياسية المختلفة. ولذلك فإنّ الشرط الأساس لتطبيق ديمقراطية حقيقية من هذا النوع هو إلغاء الطائفية السياسية من النظام، وهو ما نص “اتفاق الطائف” على وجوب تشكيل هيئة وطنية عليا لإنجازه.
وإلى أن يتمكن اللبنانيون ومن خلال حوارهم الوطني من تحقيق هذا الإنجاز التاريخي والحساس – نعني إلغاء الطائفية السياسية – وطالما أنّ النظام السياسي يقوم على أسس طائفية فإنّ الديمقراطية التوافقية تبقى القاعدة الأساس للحكم في لبنان، لأنها التجسيد الفعلي لروح الدستور ولجوهر ميثاق العيش المشترك.
من هنا فإنّ أي مقاربة للمسائل الوطنية وفق معادلة الأكثرية والأقلية تبقى رهن تحقق الشروط التاريخية والإجتماعية لممارسة الديمقراطية الفعلية التي يصبح فيها المواطن قيمةً بحد ذاته.
إنّ إرادة اللبنانيين في العيش معاً موفوري الكرامة ومتساوي الحقوق والواجبات، تحتّم التعاون البنّاء من أجل تكريس المشاركة الحقيقية والتي تشكّل الصيغة الأنسب لحماية تنوعهم واستقرارهم الكامل بعد حقبة من اللاإستقرار سببتها السياسات المختلفة القائمة على النزوع نحو الإستئثار والإلغاء والإقصاء.
إنّ الديمقراطية التوافقية تشكّل صيغةً سياسيةً ملائمةً لمشاركة حقيقية من قِبَل الجميع، وعامل ثقة مطَمْئِن لمكونات الوطن، وهي تُسهم بشكل كبير في فتح الأبواب للدخول في مرحلة بناء الدولة المطَمْئِنة التي يشعر كل مواطنيها أنها قائمة من أجلهم.
إنّ الدولة التي نتطلع الى المشاركة في بنائها مع بقية اللبنانيين هي:
1-      الدولة التي تصون الحريات العامة، وتوفر كل الأجواء الملائمة لممارستها.
2-      الدولة التي تحرص على الوحدة الوطنية والتماسك الوطني.
3-      الدولة القادرة التي تحمي الأرض والشعب والسيادة والإستقلال، ويكون لها جيش وطني قوي ومقتدر ومجهَّز، ومؤسساتٌ أمنيةٌ فاعلةٌ وحريصةٌ على أمن الناس ومصالحهم.
4-      الدولة القائمة في بنيتها على قاعدة المؤسسات الحديثة والفاعلة والمتعاونة، والتي تستند الى صلاحيات ووظائف ومهام واضحة ومحددة.
5-      الدولة التي تلتزم تطبيق القوانين على الجميع في إطار احترام الحريات العامة والعدالة في حقوق وواجبات المواطنين، على اختلاف مذاهبهم ومناطقهم واتجاهاتهم.
6-      الدولة التي يتوافر فيها تمثيل نيابي سليم وصحيح لا يمكن تحقيقه إلاّ من خلال قانون انتخابات عصري يتيح للناخب اللبناني أن يختار ممثليه بعيداً عن سيطرة المال والعصبيات والضغوط المختلفة، ويحقق أوسع تمثيل ممكن لمختلف شرائح الشعب اللبناني.
7-      الدولة التي تعتمد على أصحاب الكفاءات العلمية والمهارات العملية وأهل النزاهة بغض النظر عن انتماءاتهم الطائفية، والتي تضع آليات فاعلةً وقويةً لتطهير الإدارة من الفساد والفاسدين دون مساومة.
8-      الدولة التي تتوافر فيها سلطة قضائية عليا ومستقلة وبعيدة عن تحكّم السياسيين، يمارس فيها قضاة كَفُؤون ونزيهون وأحرارٌ مسؤولياتِهم الخطيرة في إقامة العدل بين الناس.
9-      الدولة التي تُقِيْم اقتصادها بشكل رئيس على قاعدة القطاعات المنتِجة، وتعمل على استنهاضها وتعزيزها، وخصوصاً قطاعات الزراعة والصناعة، وإعطائها الحيّز المناسب من الخطط والبرامج والدعم بما يؤدي الى تحسين الإنتاج وتصريفه، وما يوفر فرص العمل الكافية والمناسبة وخاصةً في الأرياف.
10-    الدولة التي تعتمد وتطبق مبدأ الإنماء المتوازن بين المناطق، وتعمل على ردم الهوّة الإقتصادية والإجتماعية بينها.
11-    الدولة التي تهتم بمواطنيها، وتعمل على توفير الخدمات المناسبة لهم من التعليم والطبابة والسكن الى تأمين الحياة الكريمة، ومعالجة مشكلة الفقر، وتوفير فرص العمل وغير ذلك..
12-    الدولة التي تعتني بالأجيال الشابة والصاعدة، وتساعد على تنمية طاقاتِهم ومواهِبهم وتوجيههم نحو الغايات الإنسانية والوطنية، وحمايتهم من الإنحراف والرذيلة.
13-    الدولة التي تعمل على تعزيز دور المرأة وتطوير مشاركتها في المجالات كافةً، في إطار الإستفادة من خصوصيتها وتأثيرها واحترام مكانتِها.
14-    الدولة التي تُوْلي الوضع التربوي الأهمية المناسبة خصوصاً لجهة الإهتمام بالمدرسة الرسمية، وتعزيز الجامعة اللبنانية على كل صعيد، وتطبيق إلزامية التعليم الى جانب مجّانيته.
15-    الدولة التي تعتمد نظاماً إدارياً لا مركزياً يعطي سلطات إداريةً واسعةً للوحدات الإدارية المختلفة (محافظة/ قضاء/ بلدية)، بهدف تعزيز فرص التنمية وتسهيل شؤون ومعاملات المواطنين، دون السماح بتحوّل هذه اللامركزية الإدارية الى نوع من “الفدرلة” لاحقاً.
16-    الدولة التي تجهد لوقف الهجرة من الوطن، هجرة الشباب والعائلات وهجرة الكفاءات والأدمغة ضمن مخطط شامل وواقعي.
17-    الدولة التي ترعى مواطنيها المغتربين في كل أصقاع العالم، وتدافع عنهم وتحميهم، وتستفيد من انتشارهم ومكانتهم ومواقعهم لخدمة القضايا الوطنية.

إنّ قيام دولة بهذه المواصفات والشروط هدف لنا ولكل لبناني صادق ومخلص، ونحن في حزب الله سنبذل كل جهودنا وبالتعاون مع القوى السياسية والشعبية المختلفة التي تشاركنا هذه الرؤية من أجل تحقيق هذا الهدف الوطني النبيل.

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Discussion

69 thoughts on “Hezbollah Announces a New Party Program

  1. Could they have presented a more anti-American and anti-globalization platform?

    And for all the FPMers out there, you cannot fool the US anymore. You are allies of the US’s worst enemy which makes you US enemies whether you like it or not.

    If I were the US government, I would wash my hands of Lebanon. The US should not spend one more cent or effort supporting anything in Lebanon. Not the army, not the debt, nothing. All the support does is keep alive the host on which the parasite Hizballah, an avowed US enemy thrives. Let the parasite kill the host. It will bring also its own death.

    Posted by AIG | November 30, 2009, 1:15 pm
  2. Sayyid Nasrallah’s discourse has always been quite distinct when compared to many Arab leaders throughout Arab contemporary history. This document reflects a great deal of meticulous choice of wording and extensive use of historical evidence to present an argument. Extensive stress on the uniqueness of the Lebanese case is extremely important for any person interested in any form of understanding what Hizbullah is all about.

    I think that the careful mention of the sectarian problem in Lebanon, of Hizbullah’s ability (or otherwise) to accommodate religious affiliation with its Lebanese identity, and drawing a clear line between anti-Zionism and anti-semitism serves the party very well.

    Most importantly, taking the initiative and abandoning defensive rhetoric by redefining their role as a resistance movement and linking that to other such movements in Latin America surely shakes the ground under ready stigmatizers.

    With a rather detached lens, it’s not hard to note that the document did manage to strike a balance between harsh stance against US & Israel and ready willingness to blend, integrate and cooperate on the local level with other Lebanese parties.

    Posted by Arwa | November 30, 2009, 2:21 pm
  3. Arwa,
    Can you name one specific instance where a resistance movement was part of the government and yet operated a strong militia that is essentially a challenge to that governments authority? It is important not to confuse the issues by using generalities about the role of “resistance” movements.
    Only in Lebanon would one confuse a religiously driven movement as progressive and revolutionary. Backward and reactionary would be more fitting.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | November 30, 2009, 2:43 pm
  4. Ghassan,

    I think it’s a question of which came first. Government authority, specifically in predominantly Shiite areas such as the south and the Bekaa, was hardly felt or had any significant impact on the affairs of the people in those regions, which were mostly war-stricken. I believe that the very establishment of Hizbullah was something resembling Rousseau’s General Will. This is about people creating their own solutions and looking after themselves with the clear absence of state authority, let alone sovereignty, in areas that were under constant attack and confrontation between Israel and Palestinian factions. This is how Hizbullah was born, and it kept getting stronger since, while the Lebanese state has not shown any signs of progress or remote ability to prevent Israeli invasion of land.

    It does happen to be the case that Lebanon has this strong armed movement that also acts as a political party. Be it religious or otherwise, the truth is Hizbullah has built for itself all the necessary means to preserve itself and meet the challenge of its disarmament. It may not really matter to some Lebanese if Hizbullah is suddenly stripped of its arms, but believe me, to a good percentage it would mean loss of lives and property as long as there continues to be no sovereign state or strong army to do the job.

    It was the very fragility of the Lebanese state that resulted in a movement such as Hizbullah. That is the root.

    Posted by Arwa | November 30, 2009, 3:40 pm
  5. Ghassan

    “Backward and reactionary would be more fitting.” compared to what? The more progressive Lebanese Forces ? or maybe the Salafis?

    Posted by elsheikh | November 30, 2009, 4:28 pm
  6. elsheikh,
    I do not want to make this a tit for tat but if one is rotten this does not make the other virtuous.

    Arwa,
    I have been highly critical of the Lebanese system for decades and so I will be the first to agree with you about the terrible shortcomings of the Lebanese government. My disagreement is not with the rise of a political movement whose aim is to correct the inequities of the system. Actually I applaud such a development. I strongly disagree with a party that maintains an illegal armed presence within the established system and a party whose calling is theocratic, undemocratic and exclusive.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | November 30, 2009, 5:01 pm
  7. Ghassan,

    What you’re saying sounds pretty fair on a theoretical level. Yet, again, the reality in Lebanon has encouraged – if not necessitated – taking up arms. Name a single Lebanese political entity that isn’t armed. On an individual level even, it’s almost like there’s a gun in each Lebanese home and in each car compartment! The legality of weapons in Lebanon is thus a much stickier issue in reality than it sounds.

    As per Hizbullah’s ideology, it no longer seems to be an issue now with the party’s readjustment within the Lebanese context. We don’t really hear calls for the establishment of an Islamic state in Lebanon by Hizbullah, let alone the enforcement of Islamic laws even within areas that fall under its control. Also, the wide range of support it has pulls together people/institutions with very diverse backgrounds and affiliations that makes the notion of exclusivity rather unclear. Within the past 5 years or so, Hizbullah’s network of support has in fact transcended the Arab world to reach societies in Africa and in Latin America to name a few. This constant association with the “downtrodden” – to quote the secretary general – has really widened its appeal and given it a more universal message than any other Islamic movement this part of the world has witnessed.

    I really don’t mean for this to be a back and forth debate, so sorry if my postings are a bit long. But I think this whole Hizbullah phenomenon is very thought provoking and quite hard to frame. I enjoy exchanging ideas over it.

    Posted by Arwa | November 30, 2009, 5:36 pm
  8. Ghassan,

    You strongly disagree with a party that maintains an illegal armed presence within the established system and so you should. However, since the current and previous governments in Lebanon have made it part of their statement that the Resistance has the right to bear arms and since the army continues to support the Resistance and its arms, illegal is incorrect in this context.

    But my question to you is this.
    Given that any hostility with Israel always means that the people of the South bear the brunt of it.

    Given that the central govt. has never protected those people and simply cannot today.

    Given that our army has trouble taking on a small band of Salafists because it is so under-funded and poorly armed.

    What can you say to the people of the South that will actually convince them to give up their arms, irrespective of how illegal you or the rest of the country feel they are?

    You say they are a party whose calling is theocratic, undemocratic and exclusive.

    I have to beg to differ. I will not assume any knowledge on your part so I can only tell you what I know.

    Theocratic, well, yes they are led by men who happen to be of religious schooling and they subscribe to a reading of Shiasm that is theocratic. But, and this is a big but, they represent and rely on a community which is not, contrary to what is spouted by some, blind followers. Much of the Shia community, if not the majority, are religiously much more affiliated to the doctrine of Fadlallah than Nasrallah.

    Undemocratic? How so? Their leadership is elected, their MP’s are elected, so what do you mean by undemocratic?

    Exclusive? I’m afraid that is simply not true. For security reasons and maybe personal and familial reasons, you may not hear about it, but there are plenty of non-Shia in the party.

    Posted by mo | November 30, 2009, 6:26 pm
  9. Mo,

    What was the name of the individual who ran against Sayyed Hassan in the most recent Hizbullah elections?

    I’ll rename this blog Qifa Nad7ak if you can tell me the answer to that question.

    🙂

    ps: I’m sorry I never had a chance to respond to your objections on the Palestinian naturalization post.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | November 30, 2009, 6:33 pm
  10. Qifa,
    Whats your point?
    If you are saying that its a reflection of their “democractic” values, I will be a tad disappointed! 🙂

    p.s I didn’t have objections. I was pointing out realities.

    Posted by mo | November 30, 2009, 6:39 pm
  11. Wlak ya zalameh you said that “their leadership is elected.”

    If they’re elected, then tell me who ran against Nasrallah last week.

    He’s as “elected” as Amin Gemayel, Nabih Berri, Walid Jumblatt, Saad al-Hariri, ila akhirihi.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | November 30, 2009, 6:46 pm
  12. Mo and Qifa, I hate to intervene in this conversation, but this bit of info really itches: Sayyid Hassan does not assume absolute powers over the party AT ALL, whether or not there was someone competing with him in an election is irrelevant. I recommend Ahmad Nizar Hamzeh’s “In the Path of Hizbullah” (Syracuse University Press, 2004). The internal dynamism of the party structure is very complicated.

    Posted by Arwa | November 30, 2009, 6:51 pm
  13. Arwa

    No one said that he assumes absolute powers — that is immaterial to Mo’s point’s about the leadership being elected.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | November 30, 2009, 6:53 pm
  14. Ok I see, but no they are not quite “as” elected.
    Firstly none of the above were ever “elected” in the first place. Nor where they even selected.

    Nasrallah did not vie for the job, not did he inherit it, nor did he mount some sort of coup. He was recommended by his predecessor and was elected by the council as per the rules of the party. Members of the council are elected by party members so, like any leader of any Western “democratic” country, he was selected as leader by the party.

    Who ran against him? If anyone did no one knows but the council members, but if no one did it wouldn’t be surprising if, for no other reason, they would look like a fool for trying to usurp a man that every poll has shown is the most popular political figure in the Arab world?

    But the fact is, if any member of the council had wished to, they could have put their name up for selection.

    Tell me that could happen in any of the parties whose leaders you mention.

    Posted by mo | November 30, 2009, 6:59 pm
  15. Aha! ok 🙂

    Posted by Arwa | November 30, 2009, 6:59 pm
  16. And one further difference that I can add is that unlike those listed above, come the end of his leadership the party will not dissolve and now will his replacement share his surname by family.

    Posted by mo | November 30, 2009, 7:51 pm
  17. and nor will his replacement share his surname by family thats meant to read….

    Posted by mo | November 30, 2009, 7:52 pm
  18. mo,
    The arms are accepted only because no one has a larger cache. They do constitute a violation of every democratic principle in the world by creating a state within a stae.
    Undemocratic because they are intolerant of the other, of the right to dissent and of personal liberty.
    Theocratic because they are on a mission from God, the great designer.
    Exclusive because they seem to believe in the myth of purity and authenticity.

    One more thing mo, why is it that the discussion always devolves into comparisons between parties or organizations. Couldn’t one argue that all of them are not acceptable and that the crisis is systemic?
    I happen to believe that it is futile to save the system because it is rotten whether it is the LF, Kataeb, Amal, HA … The system stinks precisely because of these actors and therefore the construction of an acceptable, responsible, modern, accountable system must reject all of the present players in an attempt at forging a new synthesis in which none of them has a role to play. We need a total revolution, a quantum leap and not an meaningless superficial evolution.
    BTW, Israel was content to stay out of Lebanon until the “resistance” started its incursions across the border, first by the Palestinians and then the Lebanese i.e it serves the interests of the resistance to have Israeli incursions because without these incidents the whole rationale for the resistance crumbles.

    Posted by ghassan karam | November 30, 2009, 7:59 pm
  19. Mo

    The system you’re describing is a far cry from being democratic, and comparing the Hizb to the neo-feudal parties in Lebanon is not particularly flattering to either side.

    You already admitted that they are a theocratic party.

    All that’s left is the issue of “exclusivity”… do you know Christians who are members of the party?

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | November 30, 2009, 8:18 pm
  20. ghassan,
    I don’t think the arms are accepted only because no one has a larger cache. I think they are accepted because to do otherwise would be futile, which is I suppose what you mean. I accept that, but nevertheless, they are technically legal.

    You see it as a violation of every democratic principle in the world by creating a state within a state.

    Can I ask that you also see it from the other side. That they created a state for the Shia where there was none.

    And a violation of every democratic principle in the world? The second amendment of the supposed centre of democracy, the USA, states that “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms…”

    And is a resistance a violation of every democratic principle in your view? The right to resist is enshrined in UN law.

    But you still didn’t answer my question. If you take away the arms, what exactly do you protect the people of the South with? What do you promise them in return?

    Undemocratic because they are intolerant of the other, of the right to dissent and of personal liberty?

    Do you have examples of this? Nasrallah has just spoken about creating a state where the right of personal liberty should be enshrined in law. If you have examples of this I would like to know. I haven’t even seen this intolerance in the areas they control (not since they booted Toufeili out anyway).

    Im not sure I know what you mean by “the myth of purity and authenticity”

    Dont blame me about comparisons between parties, thats Qifa’s fault.

    You can argue all you want about these parties being the cause of the problems rather than the solution but the problem is that his high level academic discussion, and much of Lebanon is simply not interested. And in that scenario you will have greater success making changes from within the system than going for the revolution.

    Ghassan, if you truly believe that Israel was content to stay out of Lebanon before the cross border attacks then that is your choice. My choice is to believe that otherwise.

    Qifa,
    How is the system i’m describing any different from how the British elect their party leaders?

    They are theocratic in the way they run their own affairs – I think they have that right. That does not translate to their political ambitions.

    As to the exclusivity question, you know well enough that no operational member is going to divulge his or her membership, right?

    Posted by mo | November 30, 2009, 9:12 pm
  21. Mo,
    If Israel would have been interested in Lebanese land, it would have taken it in 1967. Do you have a rational explanation why according to your theory Israel didn’t do so?
    The Arab armies were demolished and Israel had already mobilized all its reserves. It would have been a cake walk. Yet, Israel did not attack Lebanon because it was not attacked by Lebanon. What is your explanation?

    Posted by AIG | November 30, 2009, 9:23 pm
  22. For those not aware, Dayan lost his first eye in Lebanon, he didn’t want to risk the other..And he had other plans:

    “Israel had achieved provisionally satisfying frontiers, with the exception of those with Lebanon”
    Moshe Dayan

    “All that is required is to find an officer, even a captain would do, to win his heart or buy him with money to get him to agreed to declare himself the savior of the Maronite population. Then the Israeli army will enter Lebanon, occupy the necessary territory, create a Christian regime that will ally itself with Israel. The territory from Litani southward will be totally annexed to Israel, and everything will fall into place. ”
    Moshe Dayan

    Posted by mo | November 30, 2009, 9:47 pm
  23. mo says:
    ” You can argue all you want about these parties being the cause of the problems rather than the solution but the problem is that his high level academic discussion, and much of Lebanon is simply not interested. And in that scenario you will have greater success making changes from within the system than going for the revolution.”

    Feel free to dismiss an argument as being too academic and feel free to believe that when a problem is systemic you can still change it from within. That is a fatal type of analysis that pervades the social sciences. use band aids, address the superficial and maybe the problem will go away. It never had and it never would. Allow me to give only one example: So many in the world are obsessed with the idea of sustainability , ecologic degradation and climate change. But since no one seems to be willing to consider the academic solution we are spinning our wheels as civilization is being increasingly endangered. The solution is simple and clear but very difficult to accept. All of these problems result from economic growth and so a meaningful solution requires that we adopt a completely differnr set of values that renounces growth. But as you seem to suggest the world agrees with you that we can use half measures and band aids, palliatives if you will. But make no kistake about it, all these shallow measures will be as they have always been a waste of time and resources. The crisis will grow and eventually we will have to come to the realization as most academics have for decades that w radical revolution in the way that the world is structured is the only way out. Yes we are free to continue BAU but then we must be willing to pay the price which will be terribly costly.

    Posted by ghassan karam | November 30, 2009, 10:50 pm
  24. Mo,

    Don’t make me laugh. Dayan lost his eye in Syria first of all. Second, your quotes are total fabrications.

    I am waiting for an explanation. Israel could have just strolled into Lebanon in 67 and it didn’t do it. Why???

    Posted by AIG | November 30, 2009, 11:10 pm
  25. Hezbollah is using ‘prostitution’ in order to maintain control over its so-called Shia followers.

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2009/11/25/the_militarization_of_sex?page=0,0

    Recently, this practice has forced Hezbollah to ask for government intervention in South Beirut in order to control drug use and prostitution. What kind of ‘religion’ is this which ‘legalizes’ such practice?

    This is abhorrent!!! And you guys expect respect for democracy from such lunatics?

    Mo, So Nasrallah created a monster and now he wants the governmnet to deal with it?

    Posted by mike | November 30, 2009, 11:33 pm
  26. @mike:

    Seems like a far superior social mechanism than “The Jerry Springer Show”! 🙂

    Posted by anonymous | December 1, 2009, 1:54 am
  27. In an answer to a question yesterday, Nasrallah declared that his “Resistance” needs no backing from the Lebanese people, that the Lebanese support is helpful, but not necessary. Here lies the main issue. When a heavily armed movement continues it military activities against the will of its own people, than it is undemocratic, and illegal. When a reporter asked whether the arms will continue to be used to protect the arms, Nasrallah indirectly admonished the reporter for seeking to create a problem, and ignored the question.

    In an answer to another question, Nasrallah re-emphasized his party’s adherence to the Wilayat al Faqih in Tehran. Thus the party is still heavily theocratic in both a spiritual and political sense since the Wilayat al Faqih doctrine does not only follow a religious cause, but it extends to political interests in Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, and the rest of the world.

    Now will someone please explain to me how the above points could ever lead to the abolishment of political sectarianism? The way I see, that call was never serious, and the issue was only mentioned to throw sand in the eyes of those who refuse to support it under the current circumstances. Hizbollah based its political platform over the past few years over the idea of the “alienation of the Shia” in the aftermath of the Cedar Revolution. The March 8 demo, the Quad Alliance, the re-election of Berri (twice), the resignation of the Shia Ministers, and the repetitive creation of unconstitutional national unity cabinets were all allowed because of this sectarian system, and Hezbollah’s abuse of its Shia constituency. They will never give that card up, and this call is equal in credibility to the declaration a few years ago that the arms will be handed over after the liberation of the Shebaa farms.

    The arms are here to stay indefinitely is what Nasrallah announced yesterday, and by extention, so it the sectarian system.

    Posted by Purple Monkey | December 1, 2009, 2:55 am
  28. If I can permit myself as I do not have the strength to write a fully-fledged analysis of that, I would not even say that there is a ‘shift’ in Hizbullah political practices or ideas or so. There is just a better description of it. A longer experience of the subject. It is like a painting you started years ago, and then you came back and added more colors more nuances. It is like you write a text and you go back to it every so and so and add details. If you compare the opening letter to that political document this is what you will see. Something none of the journalists present understood, and even less the “Lebanese” at large. More on this later…

    Posted by bech | December 1, 2009, 3:39 am
  29. Ghassan,
    I am not dismissing your ideas nor am I saying you are wrong, but like you say, the world is not willing to give up growth or even their cars for the environment. And much the same way, most Lebanese are still too insular to consider Lebanon first and before their sect/tribe etc.

    So instead of aiming for a change no one wants when you dont have the power to force that change, why not try change from the inside?

    AIG,
    Dayan lost his eye outside a police station his team assaulted after crossing the Litani on the 8th of June 1941. That would be Lebanon unless you are trying to be ironic.

    If those quotations are fabricated, they are fabricated by your fellow colonialists and not by me. Why didn’t they invade? I am not privy to the cabinet meetings of the time. Maybe because Lebanon wasn’t involved in the war and the Israelis were going to have a hard time justifying their keeping hold of the West bank and Gaza; Maybe they made the same mistake as Hitler did with Britain and thought they could have an ally in Maronite run Lebanon; OR maybe they just thought that “by Toutatis, these Lebanese are crazy”. How should I know?

    Mike,
    Tell you what, I won’t use the Tehran Times or even Al Manar to push silly propoganda if you agree not to bother with American neo-con publications peddling bullshit. What, now Hizballah are critisied for allowing govt. control in their areas after years of people complaining of the govt. has no control over Hizballah areas? Do make up your mind.

    PM,
    When a heavily armed movement continues it military activities against the will of its own people, than it is undemocratic, and illegal. Unfortunately, for you at least, over half “the people” voted for the oppostion so the mandate is clear. Unless of course, when you say “the will of the people”, you mean only the people that you consider worthy of an opinion.

    And hey, if you believe that Nasrallah and Hizballah don’t want to end secterianism, feel free to encourage the rest of Lebanons leaders to call their bluff.

    bech,
    Im not sure if its that simple. I think Nasrallah’s speech was bit more than an expansion of earlier doctrine. To take your analogy, I think its more like going back to a text you wrote as a youth and re-wrote it with the hindsight and maturity of an adult.

    Posted by mo | December 1, 2009, 6:06 am
  30. Mo,

    “And a violation of every democratic principle in the world? The second amendment of the supposed centre of democracy, the USA, states that “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms…””

    They’re spekaing of a militia, not a well oiled organisation externally funded and equipped and trained in tha arts of war and organised thereafter. And besides, pointing to, what in my view is, a flaw in an otherwise democratic country does not a question answer. Any country, even democratic, can have laws that should not be.

    “And is a resistance a violation of every democratic principle in your view? The right to resist is enshrined in UN law.”

    The right to resist occupied land is enshrined, but so is the way of the guerilla’s resisting the occupiers. And would this argument be used still after half of Ghajar is returned? Sheeba farms is neither defined in size nor to whom it actually belongs. And if you speak of West Bank and Gaza, where is it enshrined in the international law that one can resist from another country’s territory?

    “But you still didn’t answer my question. If you take away the arms, what exactly do you protect the people of the South with? What do you promise them in return?”

    This is a fundamental question, but still not THE question. For starters, there are some 12000 or so UNIFIL troops posted there. They can not stop an Israeli invasion, but they sure deter one.

    I think THE question is why Hizbollah should be allowed to decide war and peace for Lebanon when they obviously adhere to Iran, and only serve Iran’s interest, under the guise of resisting the Israelis and helping the Palestinians. Why is Iran interested in taking the Arab cause away from the Arabs? Why are Arab countries more scared of Iran than they are of Israel?

    If Hezbollah is there to aid the Palestinians, why did they not do so in January this year, other than meager statements and trying to give them some more useless missiles? What are they waiting for? Is their strategy a defensive one? Will that help the get back the West Bank and Gaza? Or are they actually waiting for an Israeli strike on an Iranian nuclear plant? So, again, why should an organisation that ultimately adheres to Iran be allowed to decide war and peace for Lebanon?

    You also mentioned earlier that their weapons are sanctioned by the state, so they are not to be considered illegal. They can twist the arms of their allies, so these government statements are rather pointless, other than justifying them for people like you. Secondly, let’s pretend they were not sanctioned by the state, who in god’s name would be able to disarm Hezbollah? They don’t listen to Lebanon, they care only for Iran and Iran’s agenda, and Iran’s agenda requires them to keep their weapons.

    Even a devoted Hexbollah follower should at least admit this much. Note that I didn’t mention whether I am for or against Iran’s agenda.

    Posted by Doc | December 1, 2009, 8:29 am
  31. Ghassan

    ” The solution is simple and clear but very difficult to accept. All of these problems result from economic growth and so a meaningful solution requires that we adopt a completely differnr set of values that renounces growth.”

    Allow me to differ. Economic growth can go hand in hand with a reduction in environmental impact. This has been shown by mainly the Nordic cuntries, especially Denmark, since the 80’s. The technology is there, the financing could be solved. All we need is political will. In Abu Dhabi they’re building a zero-carbon city.

    Let’s repeat that mantra, for hopefully a politician is reading. All we need is political will. All we need is political will.

    Posted by Doc | December 1, 2009, 8:37 am
  32. Dayan lost his eye outside a police station his team assaulted after crossing the Litani on the 8th of June 1941. That would be Lebanon unless you are trying to be ironic.

    Mo,

    Just FYI, there was no independent country called Lebanon or Syria in 1941. The pro-Nazi, Vichy French government “occupied” these two countries at the time.

    Aged 14 he joined the Haganah at a very early stage. He was arrested by the British ten years later (when the Haganah was outlawed), but released after two years as a part of Haganah’s renewed cooperation with the British. In one of the operations against the French mandate of Syria (then under control of the Vichy France government) he lost his left eye and began wearing an eyepatch that would become his trademark.

    http://www.knowledgerush.com/kr/encyclopedia/Moshe_Dayan/

    Posted by Akbar Palace | December 1, 2009, 8:48 am
  33. Mo,

    “Unfortunately, for you at least, over half “the people” voted for the oppostion so the mandate is clear. Unless of course, when you say “the will of the people”, you mean only the people that you consider worthy of an opinion.”

    Lets assume for a minute that the election results do no prove the exact opposite of your statement because Im not going to get into an argument about numbers, the improbability of your statement, and why Hezbollah districts had 80% turnover and other districts in Akkar and Beirut had less than 20%.

    With that assumption, why is it so convenient for you to dismiss the notion of “consensual democracy” when it comes to Hezbollah’s weapons while making that same notion a central part of your political platform (at least the one Hezbollah announced just yesterday)?

    According to Nasrallah, the abolishment of sectarianism, or the current status quo of “consensual democracy” are the only options available for the Lebanese. (Its very democratic to present the Lebanese with only two options to chose from both of which have nothing to do with the constitution, dont you think?)

    The existence of a militia, more armed than the state, including members of one single sect, and oblivious to the hopes and dreams of the rest of the Lebanese contradicts both options (abolishment of sectarianism and consensual democracy).

    So, again, assuming your first statement is correct, Nasrallah does not practice what he preaches, and he is very undemocratic.

    As for your invitation for political parties to call Nasrallah’s bluff, I wish that would happen, but I, as well as you, as well as Berri and Nasrallah all know that it will never happen due to the “Christian fears of marginalization”, including those of Aoun.

    On that note, does anyone else find it interesting that GMA quickly jumped on Berri’s initial proposal by demanding that he withdrew it while we have yet to hear anything about Nasrallah’s invitation?

    Posted by Purple Monkey | December 1, 2009, 9:08 am
  34. @mo29:
    “Mike,
    Tell you what, I won’t use the Tehran Times or even Al Manar to push silly propoganda if you agree not to bother with American neo-con publications peddling bullshit. What, now Hizballah are critisied for allowing govt. control in their areas after years of people complaining of the govt. has no control over Hizballah areas? Do make up your mind.”

    So according to you the use of prostitution as a social mechanism is a valid ‘religous’ belief from the Shia point of view?
    If so then could you please answer my original question? “What kind of religion would this be?”

    Posted by mike | December 1, 2009, 9:21 am
  35. lol, don’t all rush at once now…..

    Doc,
    I don’t agree. What they are speaking of is for the ability of the people to be able to protect the freedom of the state if the state is unable to do so.

    “so is the way of the guerilla’s resisting the occupiers”…Where? Are you saying there are laws on what strategy a resistance can and can’t use outside of international law?

    And would this argument be used still after half of Ghajar is returned? As long as the people of the south consider Israel a threat, and as long as the state cannot defend its own borders, the people have EVERY right to take over the responsibility of that defense.

    “This is a fundamental question, but still not THE question.”

    Oh yes it is, for the people of the south, the people you want to take the arms away from, it is THE question.

    “For starters, there are some 12000 or so UNIFIL troops posted there. They can not stop an Israeli invasion, but they sure deter one”

    On what planet? If you believe a European is ever going to raise a rifle against an Israeli then if when the time comes, one of us is going to be VERY surprised.

    But Doc, if you still honestly believe that Hizballah exists to serve Iran and Irans agenda then you know very little of the party and of the people that make up the party. And if you think I should admit as much I will tell you otherwise: These accusations are offensive to the memory of those that have given their lives for Lebanon.

    PM,

    Im not sure what you mean by ““consensual democracy” when it comes to Hezbollah’s weapons”. That Hizballahs political and ideological opponents, some of whom would rather be allied to Israel than the Shia, should have a say in Hzballah strategy?

    Do you think the current system works? If so good. They don’t and are presenting alternatives. Whats wrong with that? QN has pushed just one alternative on his blog, does that make him an opponent of democracy?

    “The existence of a militia, more armed than the state”

    And theres the rub. Why should a militia, ostensbly armed by one country be better armed than the army. Maybe if opponents to Hizballah arms spent more time decrying the feebleness of the Lebanese Armed Forces and the reasons for that weakness rather then the strength of the Resistance, then maybe we wouldn’t need to have this conversation.

    “oblivious to the hopes and dreams of the rest of the Lebanese”

    And when the South was living in aqualor, without basic services what were the rest of the Lebanese doing about Shia hopes and dreams? But oblivious is wrong. they are not oblivious they just dont agree with you that your hopes and dreams come above the safety of their families and friends.

    Mike,
    No according to me Hanin Ghaddar is from the NOWlebanon stable of bigoted reporters and FPolicy.com is a piece of shit website peddaling bullshit neo-con fantasies.

    Posted by mo | December 1, 2009, 10:01 am
  36. Doc says:
    “Allow me to differ. Economic growth can go hand in hand with a reduction in environmental impact. This has been shown by mainly the Nordic cuntries, especially Denmark, since the 80’s. The technology is there, the financing could be solved. All we need is political will. In Abu Dhabi they’re building a zero-carbon city.”
    Doc, I hate to go off on a tangent but I feel very strongly about this and so I will be very brief:
    Name a major Ecologist/Environmentalistwho believes in sustainable growth lol. They just do not exist. I will be willing to expand on this at a different time or a different forum.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | December 1, 2009, 10:24 am
  37. Mo, you are a master debater, eloquent, polite and factual. I am very glad that I agree with everything you’ve said, and actually dont hink I could have said any of it better. I applaud your style and maybe more importantly, your patience. I am actually sad that there are no more comments to read : (

    Posted by Edgard | December 1, 2009, 12:02 pm
  38. Mo,

    Of course you know why Israel did not attack in 1967. The problem is that you do not want to acknowledge the obvious answer: Israel did not attack because it does not want any Lebanese land and because Lebanon did not attack Israel. However, once you accept this simple answer, all your arguments fall like a house of cards.

    The truth is very simple. After years of being treated like shit by the other sects, the Shia believe it is their time and right to be powerful and that is why they will hold on to their weapons whatever happens and they will invent a myriad of excuses to do so.

    Posted by AIG | December 1, 2009, 12:05 pm
  39. Of course you know why Israel did not attack in 1967.

    Which begs the question, why wasn’t there a peace process before the “evil” occupation?

    Some questions just can’t be answered.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | December 1, 2009, 2:26 pm
  40. Edgard (37):

    “Mo, you are a master debater, eloquent, polite and factual. I am very glad that I agree with everything you’ve said, and actually dont hink I could have said any of it better. I applaud your style and maybe more importantly, your patience.”

    I SECOND THAT.

    But, “am actually” not “sad that there are no more comments to read” 🙂

    Ed, surely you & I are not the only ones enjoying the symphony – many more are smiling behind their screens, no?

    Posted by PN | December 1, 2009, 3:49 pm
  41. Mo (35):

    “These accusations are offensive to the memory of those who have given their lives for Lebanon.”

    Amen.

    The earthly memory of Sara from Marwaheen is probably offended. Rest assured Mo that her soul is breezing in some heavenly space smiling down to you.

    QN:

    I bet she is smiling down to you too 🙂

    Thanks for lending this mixed engine so the Mo’s out there can dust away some of the blurriness surrounding her lovely memory as well as the memories of many more.

    Posted by PN | December 1, 2009, 3:52 pm
  42. in my opinion the Shia share alot with the Jewish minority in this Arab world so I call for those 2 minorities to make peace and unite.
    inshallah soon we will see Sayed Hassan Nasralah signing a peace treaty with Israel and after that “bateekh ykaser ba3do” 🙂

    Posted by V | December 1, 2009, 5:38 pm
  43. Since we are on the subject of the Hizz i thought i would throw this piece of journalism out there…

    http://nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=129688

    I heard about a few shia getting kicked out of the gulf states, but to link that to an economic downturn in dahiye seems kind of ludacris to me, it would of been more believable had ezzidine been responsible for the flourishing crime and prostitution in dahiye.

    here is another kicker that i’m sure you’ll like by the same journalist

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2009/11/25/the_militarization_of_sex?page=0,1&%24Version=0&%24Path=/&%24Domain=.foreignpolicy.com,%20%24Version%3D0

    Posted by Tamer K. | December 1, 2009, 6:37 pm
  44. Edgard and PN, thanks for the kind words.

    AIG, one last thing, if you honestly believe that the weapons are an internal matter to the Lebanese, why do they bother you so much?

    V,
    The Shia and the Jews, in fact the Arabs,Muslims and Jews have no quarrel to make peace over. When the Crusaders attacked Jerusalem, it was Muslim and Jew standing shoulder to shoulder that fought to defend the city.

    Our quarrel, and it is not a Shia one alone, is with colonialism and Zionism. To make peace with those that took what was not theirs, butchered those that stood in the way of their colonialism is to countenance that action and even worse become an accomplice in that action. The Palestinians have something to gain from signing peace. We do not.

    Signing off on this thread now so thanks for the debate guys and I hope we as Lebanese and Arabs can start to see our differences as just differences and not a reason to hate or fear one another.

    Posted by mo | December 1, 2009, 6:55 pm
  45. in my opinion the Shia share alot with the Jewish minority in this Arab world so I call for those 2 minorities to make peace and unite.

    V,

    Sure, why not?:) I would be happy if the Shia (and more importantly their leadership) wasn’t always focused on Israel’s destruction…

    Posted by Akbar Palace | December 1, 2009, 7:06 pm
  46. When the Crusaders attacked Jerusalem, it was Muslim and Jew standing shoulder to shoulder that fought to defend the city.

    Mo,

    So I guess the only difference now is that Jews are the majority and the hebrew printing on the currency is bigger than the english and arabic?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | December 1, 2009, 7:10 pm
  47. V #42,

    Nice try, but no cigar.

    Many others.

    The half truths and utter falsehoods inundate this thread.

    History, both contemporary and recent, vouches for the policy of expansion pursued by the racist state of Israel since before its inception in 1948 at the hands of European Zionist gangs (Menahim Begin wanted on terrorism charged, only to become a PM) with support from guilt-ridden Europeans. The designs of the Zionists on Lebanon are well documented in writings by Zionists themselves.

    Sowing the seed of disunity by Israel has worked in the past in Lebanon. Now however, all the attempts would fall short of the hoped-for objective of throwing Lebanon into further disarray such as we witnessed and suffered in the seventies and eighties. The credit goes to those who have the will and strength to stand up against such endeavours, namely Hizbullah, being a continuation of the resistance that has exited for decades.

    Those who complain about the resistance’s prowess are actually wishing back a black and bleak history of Lebanon when arms were directed at compatriots rather than the real enemy. Either that or they are the enemy within.

    Debate about the socio-political system of Lebanon is legitimate, so long as the common ground is the well being of Lebanese, all Lebanese, southerners, northerners and easterners; Lebanese Christian, Moslem and Jew -yes jew.

    If one was to be candid in a cold way, one would say that if the Hizb, with all its military and organisational abilities, were to take a strategic decision to take over Lebanon it would have done so by now. But that is not the objective.

    Others in the past had the illusion that, with the support of Israel and the USA, they can control the country, have failed miserably and led their constituency down the painful pass of near oblivion, politically speaking.

    The launch pad for a Lebanese restructuring the various aspects of their state is for them to realise that they are part-and-parcel of the socio-political fabric of the area, and to unequivocally agree once and for all about the common enemy coming from the south, as has been for decades.

    Israel and its domestic supporters/allies/bed-fellows of convenience once believed that they can prevail by brute force; they utterly failed in changing the socio-political realities of the n nation. In their attempt to recover some ground lost on the battlefield, especially in 2006, they tried the political avenue. Again, the other side proved quite apt at playing a successful tactical game, based on a strategic vision, that led to them ‘losing’ the parliamentary election while gaining the cabinet and consequently redressing the imbalance in the country, which prevailed since the seventies.

    After that If anyone thinks that so-called publicists in the employment of the Israeli government (such as Perez, the ‘good cop’) paid to engage in public debate -including bologospheres- will change anything on the ground; if anyone thinks this will make the slightest of difference, then he/she will need to wake up and smell the coffee.

    Part of the problem with Zionists the world over is their racist tendency and self-delusion about being the masters of all. I cannot blame them, really. Episodes such as the 1948 occupation of Palestine and the ease with which they prevailed in 1967, and the charade that was the 1973 war, politically speaking and with all respect to the Egyptian and Syrian soldier, would put any mortal in a false sense of superiority over other mortals. Well now the situation is quite different.

    Regards

    Posted by Question Marks | December 1, 2009, 7:56 pm
  48. Mo,
    After 2006 it is clear that the Hizballah weapons are mostly a problem for the Lebanese and not for Israel. We both know what will happen if the weapons are used against Israel.

    Very soon Hizballah will face a dilemma it will not survive in its current form. When Israel attacks Iran, Hizballah will have to decide whether to attack Israel or not. If it attacks Israel, it will have proven that it is an Iranian entity and not a Lebanese one. And if it doesn’t, this is the ultimate proof that the weapons are only for internal use and not aimed at Israel.

    My opinion is that Hizballah will attack Israel and try spinning it as a war of self defense that was in the interest of Lebanon to fight. That is how they tried portraying 2006. They are too much indebted to their Iranian masters not to attack. But nobody except the party faithful is going to buy it in Lebanon. It will even be too much for FPM to accept. What will happen afterwards, we shall see…

    Posted by AIG | December 1, 2009, 10:12 pm
  49. Question Marks,
    You really have to get over your inferiority complex. The first step, is you need to stop caring what we Zionists think or feel. That has no relevance for what Lebanon needs to do in order to be prosperous and successful.

    Posted by AIG | December 1, 2009, 10:22 pm
  50. HN proves once again that he and his hizb are Iranian tools and do not belong to Lebanon:

    http://www.14march.org/news-details.php?nid=MTgxMzg0

    Since mo is very clever in avoiding direct answers to very direct question (how can you mix prostitution with religion?) then he should now ponder why should the Lebanese State even provide services to HN followers when HN seems not to have any allegiance to the Lebanese State.

    (You know ‘mutaa’ IS prostitution regarldless of the reporter’s credentials. My question relates to Mutaa practice not to Hanin Ghadir’s journalistic skills)

    Posted by mike | December 2, 2009, 12:06 am
  51. I think the issue of being allied to Israel has been put behind our backs now. No sect, party or individual has hesitated from declaring Israel as an enemy to Lebanon; the Christians for fear of naturalization, and the Sunnis & Druze for ideological pan-arabist motives. So, get over it. Consensual democracy as per Hezbollah, seems to be directed at all big and small issues, except that of the illegal presence of their arms. The Lebanese, Hezbollah’s opponents or not, should have no say in Hezbollah’s religious or ideological preferences, but when it comes to their arms and how they are being controlled, the “approval” of the Lebanese should be necessary, and not optional as Nasrallah had stated. Otherwise, I dont see a difference between the Hezbollah armed presence, and the presence of the Syrian army in the period between 1990-2005. Both are/were here to hegemonize Lebanon, under various pretexts, regardless of the will of the Lebanese, and for ideological reasons not limited to the well-being of Lebanon.

    Mo, the current system does not work, but no system will ever work under the armed presence of Hezbollah. I DO NOT FEEL SAFE with an armed Hezbollah. I DO NOT FEEL SAFE with the presence of Israel to the South. I DO NOT FEEL SAFE with the presence of Syria to the East. A solution that integrates Hezbollah under the control of a consensual leadership (the army), to protect me from Israeli aggressions, and Syrian abuse of my fragile social fabric is exactly what Hezbollah opposes, while that is exactly what Consensual Democracy demands: the protection of my interests and yours.

    Finally, I will commend you for acknowledging that its the Shia hopes and dreams that Hezbollah is protecting, not those of the South, namely the non-Shia villages such as Marwaheen that PN mentioned and which is completely neglected by both Hezbollah and the Lebanese Government. Those non-Shia villages is where the tragedy lies, so please stop the Zionist methods of self-victimhood just in order for you to score points. While the South has been neglected from basic services, so have Akkar, Denniyye, Bekaa, Tripoli, the Palestinian refugee camps, and the Christian villages which have been emptied from their inhabitants. This brings me back to my initial point; a party that admits to being present only to protect the hopes and dreams of its own sect, has no interest in abolishing political sectarianism.

    At the end of the day, if you think the say of half the Lebanese is irrelevant to the way Hezbollah conducts its business, than youve just proven that Hezbollah is above the state and above the institutions, and will eventually come down the same way the Syrian regime did.

    Posted by Purple Monkey | December 2, 2009, 2:00 am
  52. #48,49

    I beg to differ. It is quite clear that Hizbullah arms capabilities is looked upon in the state of Israel as one of the more serious problems facing its endeavours to maintain/further develop its hegenomy and policy of occupation, expansion and aggression; Iran and its development of its arm capabilities is another. My assertion is amply justified by the non-ending reports emanating from Israeli officials and think tanks alike is a indicative of the level of concern permeating the state of Israel about both perceived (I claim real) threats to Israel’s position in the region. Let us just monitor the level of heightened activities within the military establishment in its endeavour to regain the balance of tactical power with Hizbullah; an endeavour that is utilising a great deal of resources, financial and otherwise.

    I can safely claim that your alleged ‘caring’ for Lebanon vis-a-vis the presence of Hizbullah in all its manifestations, military, political and sectarian strikes me as distinctly disingenuous.

    For once I will agree with you that any military adventure in the region, namely an attack on Iran or even Syria would provoke a response from Hizbullah in Lebanon. After all, all parties are allied in their declared enmity towards the state of Israel and what it stands for in terms of continued occupation and annexation of others’ land against every single relevant international resolution and treaty, the persecution, along racist lines, of the occupied and last but not least Israel’s bullying tactics using its once-superior balance of terror.

    The USA on several occasions came to the assistance of Israel militarily and monetarily, and still does. Are we to presume that Israel is subservient to the USA and does its bidding blindly? Or is it thatb they share common strategic and political goals?

    It is only logical and objective for the observer to view the Hizb-Iran relationship in that light.

    I believe that Hizbullah’s ‘second coming’ eloquently reflected in SHN’s address a few days ago has once and for all ended the hoax debate surrounding the Lebanese nature of the Hizb.

    I draw you attention to the fact that it was the so-called inferiority complex that led the Zionist gangs to launch a war of annihilation against the Palestinians that is continuing, and embark on a decades-long campaign of regional expansion against the wish of the international community at large.

    I will humour you by saying that at some stage, me, the Arab felt helpless in finding a ay to defend myself and making right the on-going wrongs committed by Israel. Today however the helplessness is something of the past; thanks to Hizbullah and all the resistance movements, Palestinian and Lebanese that preceded it.

    As for your suggestion that prosperity in Lebanon has nothing to do with the State of Israel, again I have to differ. Every single state in the region has been suffering as a result of illegal occupation, subjugation and suppression of the occupied by a military that has a state. We all can remember back in the in the sixties (1968), before the wide-scale presence of the PLO in Lebanon, how the Israeli army, armed with its ‘purity of arms’ and latest air power supplied by the USA, found the Lebanese civil airport as an appropriate military target, crippling tens of cvivlian aircrafts while on the tarmac.

    This unwarranted aggression came at a time when Lebanon was going through its ‘golden phase’. The military operation put back the national flag carrier years, and led to perhaps one of the most acute economic crises Lebanon faced since its independence. As a result we had the Intra Affair with all its negative economic and social ramifications.

    We can add this early aggression against Lebanon to the hundreds and thousands of incursions into Lebanon, in addition to decades of occupation and meddling in Lebanese affairs and attempts at forcing unto Lebanon a status quo conducive to its aggressive policies of hegemony.

    No, the real fact of the matter, supported by history, is that Lebanon’s well being and prosperity is far away from Israel’s heart. The Zionist propaganda machine tries to assert differently, in an attempt to sow further seeds of internal strife.

    #50,
    A complementary piece of advice: Your statements and contributions would gain more credibility if you were to widen the scope of your readings and references, and present us with other sources of information. M14 and Now Lebanon sites are required sources of information, so long that it is balanced by some independent sources, and they are out there aplenty.

    #51,
    I read the beginning of your contribution with a measure of excitement at first. After thinking about it for one second I asked myself whether your statement, that is well intentioned, I believe, is an accurate reflection of the diverse political/ideological landscape of Lebanon…and my answer was an unequivocal NO!

    For this statement to be true it needs to be accompanied by action. All that we have been through since the disaster of assassinating Rafiq Hariri makes your opining statement obsolete. Supporting the disarmament of the Hizb without/before developing a viable national defence and deterrence ability is playing right on the side of the Israeli aggressor who, by the way, would love to see the back of the Hizb and its consttuency. Looking at another state such as Syria and Iran as being the main threat to Lebanon while ignoring the historical and existential threat that the Zionist state constitute to the Lebanese entity as we know it.

    I await with anticipation the day when there would be a unanimous Lebanese stance on core strategic issues in word and deed.

    I am loath to respond to your statement comparing Hizbullah to Syria in Lebanon. Some Lebanese have in the past (and still maintain) a direct comparison between Israel of 1982 and Syria of 1976, although the first invaded Lebanon while the second as invited to protect and keep the peace by the same people who turned against them and allied themselves with the barbaric invasion of 1982.

    Hizbullah is composed of free-spirited Lebanese partisans who, in the absence of a strong central government that would effectively deal with the invasions and incursions, risked limb and life in defending their country, land/property, family and future. These free-spirited partisans paid with their lives to bring back a measure of dignity to being Lebanese, and became a real and feared deterrence in the face of agressors. The Hizb wants to maintain and develop this deterrent, and asks its compatriots of various political, social, cultural and religious persuasions to take part.

    Regards

    Posted by Question Marks | December 2, 2009, 8:09 am
  53. PM,

    I agree with your comment #51 particularly with your accurate descriptions of Hizb’s use of consensual democracy as a tool to avoid discussing their possession of illegal weapons. I also agree with your description of this organization as being similar to Israel, Syria and the Palestinians in their hijacking of Lebanese sovereignty. I disagree with this statement, however:

    “The Lebanese, Hezbollah’s opponents or not, should have no say in Hezbollah’s religious or ideological preferences”

    The Lebanese must have a say in certain groups’ religious beliefs particularly when these beliefs infringe on State sovereignty or certain laws that are based on universally accepted social norms and ethics. First of all, the belief in the Wilayat al-Faqih is in complete contradiction to Lebanese sovereignty as it requires total allegiance to a foreign leader. In addition, the Lebanese Shia traditionally did not believe in this allegiance up until Hizb encroached on Lebanese affairs. Secondly, the practice of Mutaa (or prostitution sanctioned by Hizb) is in complete contradiction to the banning of this practice under civil law in Lebanon as well as in most of the world. Someone (anonymous 26) has made a comparison between Jerry Springer Show and prostitution – equating the Show to prostitution. Equating Mutaa (prostitution) to Jerry Springer Show is inaccurate. In Mutaa, money is exchanged for sexual services in the exact manner as in prostitution. There is no such exchange in the Jerry Springer Show (except if you want to argue absurdly that Jerry and perhaps some of the participants are paid by the producers of the show).

    #53
    “A complementary piece of advice: Your statements and contributions would gain more credibility if you were to widen the scope of your readings and references, and present us with other sources of information. M14 and Now Lebanon sites are required sources of information, so long that it is balanced by some independent sources, and they are out there aplenty.”

    Glad to know that Lebanese can still read NowLebanon the time being. When will it be banned? In the next Hizb’s announcement? Who exactly do you suggest I should read? Abbas al-Moussawi? Do you know what jerk means?

    Posted by mike | December 2, 2009, 9:57 am
  54. QM admits that if Israel attacks Iran or Syria, Hizballah will attack Israel. All the BS about Hizballah being a Lebanese party in his mind are thus completely refuted. There is really no more to say but to face the fact that Hizballah does not have Lebanon’s interests at heart.

    Posted by AIG | December 2, 2009, 10:59 am
  55. #54,

    The usual articulate, well thought out response, with the intellectual’s decorum at the end!

    I am not telling you who you should or shouldn’t read, neither suggesting that you stop reading. Rather I am advising you to read even more, and in the process widen your horizon by varying your reading habits. Try it; you will initially discover that it is difficult, no doubt, but will eventually find it invigorating and intellectually satisfying, and may lead to lessening the use of unbecoming language…and might, just might, add to your contributions much needed credibility.

    Regards

    Posted by Question Marks | December 2, 2009, 11:07 am
  56. #55,
    I believe that your response is selective (the parallel with the Israeli-US relationship is missing) and perhaps lacks in strategic acumen. However, you make up for these shortcomings, in my view, with a tried and trusted propaganda method of ‘repeat over and over again an untruth and will eventually resonate’; Gobles, I believe. Alas, the ways, and indeed methods of Gobles and his disciples are much less effective now with the ‘global village’ and media technologies.

    Regards

    Posted by Question Marks | December 2, 2009, 11:15 am
  57. Have the Hizballah supporters actually lived through recent history, or were they in a coma?
    Let’s review their claims:
    1) Hizballah deters Israel – proven wrong in 2006 and again in 2008/2009. Israel attacked Hizballah and was not deterred by its rockets in 2006. Israel was again not deterred and attacked Gaza. In fact, it was Hizballah that was deterred since they did nothing to help the Palestinians. And the last 3 years have never been more quiet on Israel’s northern border.
    2) Hizballah helps the Shia – proven wrong in 2006. No party ever was the cause of so much damage as was witnessed in the South and Dahye. Hizballah was also the cause of the recent financial debacle in which many Shia lost their life savings.
    3) Hizballah is a national Lebanese party – proven wrong by direct admission and general understanding that they will attack Israel if Israel attacks Iran. They would accept huge damage in Lebanon, just to help the Iranians.
    4) Hizballah is non-sectarian – proven wrong again by their unwillingness to put the issue of war and peace in the hands of all Lebanese. It is only the Shia that get to decided this. That and of course the infamous occurrences of May 7.

    Why don’t the Hizballah supporters just admit it? The other sects treated you like shit for decades, and you believe it is now your time to lord it over them.

    Posted by AIG | December 2, 2009, 11:21 am
  58. #57
    What parallel?
    Yes, the US helps Israel. But when the US is attacked, does Israel join it in retaliating??? There is not one example of that in history. And conversely, not ONE American soldier gave his or her life in an Arab-Israeli war. We don’t fight for the Americans and they don’t fight for us.

    What you are proposing is that Lebanon go to war with Israel for Iran’s benefit. That is clearly against Lebanese interests and shows where your true loyalties lie.

    Posted by AIG | December 2, 2009, 11:28 am
  59. Question marks

    Hizballah is not a sovereign state yet. You cannot equate the funds and support they get from Iran to the support Israel gets from the USA!

    For others who keep repeating the statement that Lebanon or the South of Lebanon needs protection from Israeli aggression? What aggression? The past wars and invasions did not come from void or from Israeli expansion policy as others would like to claim. We the people of the South allowed the Palestinian PLO to use our towns and areas to launch a futile war of attrition against Israel and this is the true clear fact, we chose aggression against Israel. why we allied with the PLO and chose aggression? That’s a whole different story and surprisingly not for solidarity with the Palestinians it was more for rebelling against the Lebanese Government at the time.

    And MO your wrong it is only the Shia of Lebanon who in the past sacrificed their lives and land and the only ones left fighting.
    The seasonal tape recording from Bin Ladin calling the faithful to fight the Jews doesn’t count.

    Why is everyone terrified at the prospect of peace with Israel? Repeating the arguments about Israel pillaging and rapping the land and the people 60 years ago isn’t the solution, what in your opinion is the solution now? Can we morally accept kicking them back out? What about their generations that are born and raised now in Israel. (These questions are not for the fundamentalists) but unfortunately it is the fundamentalists who are now in charge of giving answers and waging wars.

    Let’s try Peace for a change do you think we can have a Peace Now movement in Lebanon?
    What are the odds we will be allowed to hold “Peace with Israel” rallies in Down Town Democratic Beirut Lebanon? 

    Posted by V | December 2, 2009, 5:39 pm
  60. Let’s try Peace for a change do you think we can have a Peace Now movement in Lebanon?

    V,

    Smartest post of the day.

    What are the odds we will be allowed to hold “Peace with Israel” rallies in Down Town Democratic Beirut Lebanon?

    V,

    You tell us. Aren’t you Lebanese?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | December 2, 2009, 10:03 pm
  61. Yes I am Lebanese and from south Lebanon and we all know we can’t have Peace with Israel rallies in Beirut.
    the only rallies we can have are death to Israel and America!
    or Thank you Syria rallies lol

    but hey thanks to QN we can at least dream of peace here !!

    Posted by V | December 2, 2009, 11:04 pm
  62. V – freakin amen. normalization of relations undercuts the nutjobs on both sides. make love and money, not war! =)

    Posted by sayke | December 3, 2009, 6:09 am
  63. V, Sayke,

    Well, get your friends and family together and let’s “demonstrate” here on the internet!

    It’s anonymous, fast, and little Nasrallah can’t track you down!

    “Make Love, a small profit; Not War!”

    Let’s sign a peace treaty right now!

    Posted by Akbar Palace | December 3, 2009, 8:43 am
  64. V, Sayke,

    Absolutely. I think if there is one substantial peace demonstration in Beirut Israel should immediately give Sheba to Lebanon if that is legally possible (since the Syrians still claim it). If not, give control over Sheba to the UN.

    Posted by AIG | December 3, 2009, 11:16 am
  65. Wow. This is a first. AIG is arguing that Israel make a concession. 😉

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | December 3, 2009, 11:28 am
  66. QN,

    Yeah, that Sheba Farms issue is a difficult, thorny issue and a huge obstacle to peace.

    Let’s hope Netanyahu can muster the same strength.

    But wait, he already has…

    In his message, Netanyahu expressed a willingness to solve the Shaba Farms question and the issue of the village of Ghajar on the Israel-Lebanese border.

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1070055.html

    Posted by Akbar Palace | December 3, 2009, 11:56 am
  67. QN,

    It is not the first time at all. I am on the record as saying that Israel should give back the Golan to a truly liberal and democratic Syria.

    I am also for the two state solution which involves giving up territory.

    What I am not for is dealing with weak and hypocritical Arab governments that subdue their own populations using terror. A large pro-peace with Israel march in Lebanon would convince me that the Lebanese are not terrorized by their government or Hizballah.

    Posted by AIG | December 3, 2009, 3:46 pm
  68. Hizbullah serves us a reheated meal

    By Michael Young
    Daily Star staff
    Thursday, December 03, 2009

    Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s speech last Monday, outlining Hizbullah’s latest “political document,” was a compendium of positions and interpretations the party had developed over the years. In that sense it offered few surprises. More revealing was that Nasrallah felt he had to make the speech now, recognizing that much has changed in Lebanon since 2005, when Syrian soldiers withdrew from the country and the favorable political environment Hizbullah had benefited from collapsed.

    Nothing in the political document suggests that Hizbullah has altered its outlook when it comes to its relationship with the Lebanese state. The party continues to defend its military autonomy, and demands that we all come around to doing the same; it strives to push Lebanon in directions hostile to the United States and even Western Europe; at the center of its preoccupations are the Palestinian cause and the rescue of Jerusalem, casting serious doubt on Hizbullah’s willingness to limit its ambitions to liberating the Lebanese half of Ghajar and the Shebaa farms; and Hizbullah remains especially loyal to Iran, so that “the creation of contradictions with it represents a harming of the self and of Arab issues.”

    And yet something has changed when Nasrallah feels the need to issue a second document on Hizbullah’s worldview to the Lebanese public (the first being the party’s Open Letter of 1985, announcing its political program). The party’s “Lebanonization” will never amount to much for as long as Hizbullah rejects the premises of sovereign Lebanese statehood. However, there can be no doubt that after 2005 Hizbullah was forced to contend much more with Lebanon, for whose domestic political ways and byways Nasrallah had expressed such contempt before that time, when Syrian cover gave him the luxury of focusing on his conflict with Israel.

    Hizbullah’s record when it comes to Lebanon has been much more mediocre than Nasrallah cared to admit. It was amusing to hear the secretary general mentioning the need to respect Lebanon’s consociational system, just after his denunciation of sectarianism, perhaps because Hizbullah has systematically violated the rules of consociationalism and remains among the most sectarian of organizations. But that inconsistency helped better to explain why Hizbullah’s “rediscovery” of Lebanon after 2005 proved such a failure.

    Over the past year, there has been much hand-wringing, particularly in the March 14 camp, that the May 2008 military onslaught of Hizbullah represented some sort of a victory. The view is simplistic. The offensive did substantiate that the party would resort to arms when its interests were at risk, but the long-term costs of that undertaking were prohibitive, and continue to rise. Hizbullah gained a blocking third in the Cabinet, and it did get the election law it wanted. However, neither brought the party very much. The impact of the blocking third was significant symbolically, but otherwise its repercussions were contained, while the election law did not produce an opposition victory last June as Hizbullah had hoped.

    On the negative side, Hizbullah’s takeover of western Beirut highlighted its limitations. It showed the party could not afford to act against Christian areas, and that its capacity to hold hostage predominantly Sunni neighborhoods was limited in time. For its efforts, Hizbullah earned undying Sunni animosity, confirming it could only really get its way by resorting to its guns, undermining Nasrallah’s earlier claim that he would not turn his weapons on the Lebanese. Worse, Sunni anger and rising Christian doubts, expressed in the parliamentary elections, established that there no longer was a national consensus behind the “resistance.” Nasrallah’s credibility remains only as good as his threats.

    Nasrallah’s need to submit his program to the Lebanese may have been surreptitious recognition of the setbacks brought about by the May confrontation. By communicating with his countrymen, the secretary general perhaps sought to publicly acknowledge that, somewhere, he had to be more transparent about his aims, more willing to address Lebanese society on equal terms, transcending the violence of the past.

    But if that was indeed Nasrallah’s objective, his message all but neutralized it. Rather than being an instrument of interchange, Hizbullah’s document is a hypocritical effort to conceal that the party has every intention of imposing its priorities on Lebanon, regardless of what anyone else wants. The national dialogue over Hizbullah’s weapons will remain a sham. Nasrallah’s vision of a “state of resistance,” with Hizbullah as its vanguard, will continue to generate great tension, since a sovereign state and a sovereign militia cannot coexist. By reciting from his old song book, Nasrallah betrayed that for all his purported willingness to communicate, his preferred communication method is the monologue.

    The secretary general will not persuade very many people to get over Hizbullah’s actions in 2005 and afterward. Most Lebanese will not soon overcome their suspicions of Hizbullah’s role in the assassination of Rafik Hariri and several others, regardless of whether the party is guilty. Few will forget Nasrallah’s speech on March 8, 2005, in defense of Syria, then and now the only serious culprit in the former prime minister’s killing. Few will soon forget the 2006 war, with its devastating consequences amid vacant exclamations of a divine victory; and even fewer can fail to grasp that the next war will be far worse, because Nasrallah’s vision, as outlined in his party’s latest document, only guarantees this.

    In that light, the Nasrallah speech, like the document he read, has only heightened the contradictions in Lebanese society. Hizbullah realizes that the partial Syrian return to Lebanon, facilitated by Saudi Arabia, may restrict the party’s ability to maneuver in the way that it had been able to do until recently. Nasrallah’s effort to anchor himself better in the Lebanese political reality may be, in part, an effort to widen its political latitude with regard to Damascus, even as Hizbullah remains Syria’s main tool of intimidation in Lebanon. However, that only confirms the inconsistencies at the heart of Nasrallah’s reasoning.

    We were waiting for something new on Monday; instead Nasrallah merely reheated yesterday’s meal. This demonstrated that Hizbullah is in more of a bind than it will disclose, devoid of fresh ideas. They’re here and we’re here, and for Lebanon’s misfortune only one of us can come out on top.

    Michael Young is opinion editor of THE DAILY STAR.

    Posted by AIG | December 3, 2009, 4:38 pm

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