A Lebanese Abroad

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Saturday, July 02, 2005

Is Hezbollah Dictating Lebanon's Foreign Policy? Their Arguments and Counter-proposals.

It’s alarming to witness the increasing frequency of discussions pertaining to Hezbollah and its role in Lebanon, internationally and with Israel. The issue of Hezbollah’s position is still dominating the political agenda in Lebanon. This is good or bad depending on whether Hezbollah’s heightened clatter is perceived as wanting to increase their profile, power, visibility and agenda, or whether it is a precursor for a real and lasting normalization of their status, including a non-military integrative role into Lebanon’s politics.

A new report from the Berlin-based Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is a must read because it presents a summary of arguments from both sides regarding the Hezbollah conundrum. And today, a Daily Star article headlines that Europeans Propose Merging Hezbullah with Lebanese Army, a suggestion that would “include international guarantees for Hezbullah's leadership that Lebanon would not sign a peace treaty with Israel before a general solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.” Further excerpts relevant to the ensuing analysis:
Hizbullah politburo member Ghaleb Abu Zeinab told The Daily Star the party's main concern is to defend Lebanon against Israel. He said: "Our main worry is to provide Lebanon with security. Hizbullah arms are providing that."
Asked whether integrating Hizbullah's arms into the Lebanese Army would hinder security, Zeinab said the party in its current situation is already providing security.
He added the party had no objection to disarming, but the challenge lies in maintaining security and peace in Lebanon. Zeinab said any national suggestion presented for preserving Lebanon's safety would be welcomed for discussion.
But Zeinab insisted any such suggestion should be discussed and agreed upon behind closed doors, given the sensitivity of the issue.
He said: "We will study any suggestion carefully and see if it preserves the country's security, and if it will generate national support and approval we will be ready to discuss it and adopt it."
Zeinab added Hizbullah is now the main resistance power in Lebanon, and it is supported by the Lebanese Army and the Lebanese people.
It’s a de-facto observation that Hezbollah has managed to become a heavy influencing factor for Lebanon’s foreign policy almost to the point of indirectly dictating it, due to the passivity of Lebanon’s past government relating to Hezbollah. This comes on the heels of repeated statements by Western powers that Lebanon will not get economic aid without the full implementation of UN 1559.

But Hezbollah’s arguments deserve counter-arguments that address them directly and with logic. Here’s a run-down of six key arguments and counter-proposals to them:

Argument: Hezbollah is a Lebanese internal issue.
Counter: But how come you are linking it to the full resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict?

Argument: We have never turned our arms against the Lebanese people.
Counter: OK, but in the meantime, foreign investment is shying away from Lebanon because you are still perceived as a negative macro-economic factor.

Argument: Who will protect Hezbollah if we give our arms?
Counter: Jordan and Egypt are at peace with Israel, and there has not been any violations. If peace agreements are good for Jordan and Egypt, wouldn’t they be for Lebanon?

Argument: Hezbollah’s arms are needed to protect Lebanon.
Counter: Why couldn’t a Lebanese army of 70,000-100,000 (well equipped and modern) do the same job as the 10,000 Hezbollah fighters?

Argument: We won’t discuss disarmament until the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Counter: The Palestinians inside the Territories are now discussing peace with Israel without being concerned about the rest of the Arab world. Syria is the only remaining stumbling block. If we keep waiting for them, this could extend the status-quo for another 30 years, something the majority of Lebanese may not want. Why don’t we take a referendum in Lebanon regarding whether Lebanon should start peace discussions with Israel now or wait for Syria?

Argument: We are a resistance movement, not a militia, therefore the UN 1559 and Taef do not apply to us.
Counter: This is pushing the semantics rhetoric too far.


Blogger JoseyWales said...

Haven' seen he MEMRI piece. But I would add to your last two posts:

Argument: Hezbollah’s arms are needed to protect Lebanon.

Let's do the one thing Syria is successful at: army at the border (and or some UN). In other words peace at the border WITHOUT a peace agreement until kingdom come if that is a sensitive issue for HA and others..

Argument: Hezbollah is a Lebanese internal issue.
Why are Syria and Iran involved and commenting?

6:15 PM  
Blogger JoseyWales said...

Has it occurred to anyone that resistance movements make sense when:

1)you are occupied AND 2) you do not have a standing army on, or bordering, the "occupied' land.

An argument I like in those cases is the "mouzayede" argument: HA was the only successful mvmt against Israel and got back territory and is helping the Palis in the occ. terr.

How about setting up HA assistance to the Syrian locals to organize resistance to regain the Golan heights. They could get logistical support from the Syrian army and regime. I'd love to hear the answer to that one.

PS Argument had more bang when the Syrians were still in Leb. but it would still deflate one of the arguments for HA.

6:40 PM  
Blogger ThinkingMan said...

The only problem with the MEMRI report is that they don't cross-link arguments from each side- as if they crossed the air.

Sending Hezbollah to the Golan to "help" Syria is a great idea...

7:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, in reply to the question that the title of your post asked, we see today that Hizbollah insists on getting the Foreign Ministry portfolio.

10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would mark a sad beginning for the Lebanese government if indeed Hezb gets the Foreign Ministry.

And it would be a joke as well.

11:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How dare you say this rubbish. Who fought for you when the enemy destroyed our country turning it into a landmark of rubble? HezbAllah did! Who's innocent blood did the enemy spill? Our blood! For HezbAllah's sake? No!

This war was going to happen if HezbAllah kidnapped 2 enemy terrorist soldiers or not. Its precedence is written about by israeli journalists even, and israel does not deny that this war was going to happen regardless of anything hezbAllah did. The war was planned for october, but israel found the kidnapping as an excuse to shift the date to july.

If HezbAllah fighters didn't defend us with their own blood, then this ceasefire would never have happened; the israeli army got scared off by the soldiers of the resistance. Thus they are defeated, by whom? By HezbAllah?

What is the matter with you, they love Lebanon, and are already rebuilding brick by brick and mortar by mortar. If you believe disarming HezbAllah will protect the sovereignty of Lebanon, think again and very carefully.

HezbAllah are the only force that is able to defeat the israeli army, and is formidable, with the Help of God. If you think to disarm HezbAllah, there will be no Lebanon, it will become the new Iraq, and the israeli presence will loom and forever dominate our beloved country.

As long as hezbAllah is protecting us, and as long as the enemy is too scared to face them, Lebanon will be a free and democratic nation. Israel is defeated, they cannot fathom how with all of their missiles emptied into Lebanon, and specifically into the bodies of inncoent civillians, and with their barrage of weaponry, they would never and never did succeed in dismantling HezbAllah.

Now they are playing the dirtiest war ever, by using the weapons they know how to use best. Creating lies, division, hatred, and above all, a civil war in that which would result in brainwashing HezbAllah's own people to turn against the resistance group.

Don't let the enemy win. the liberty of Lebanon, the sacred blood of all whom were killed, the martyrs that fought and won the war, would be all in vain, if the enemy were to penetrate our minds and hearts and make us turn against HezbAllah.

Put Lebanon first, unite from all factions of race, religion, and political beliefs, under a common objective; Lebanon First. There are more Lebanese living outside of Lebanon than in it, they know the tools of the enemy, that's why you see them waving flag's of HezbAllah and chanting NasrAllah.

They have lived outside of Lebanon, within the west, within the so called "liberated' society, and "free-thinking", and they made an informed decision, they know the truth. And the truth is more resounding than the lies of the enemy Israel and America.

How will Lebanon's economy benefit from decreased tourism if there is a civil war, after the war that has already been bestowed upon us by the enemy israel and america? How can we rebuild our houses and our cities if we are too busy spilling the blood of our neighbour?

If we listen to the enemy, we will fail, and Lebanon will fall, just as Iraq did. This is what the enemy wants. Let us learn from history, and not repeat the same mistakes, by letting the enemy be poison in our ears, and unlawful money bribing our pockets.

Let us listen to our heart beat, in memory of those who's hearts stopped beating when the enemy struck their souls. Let us listen to our blood boiling with pride of being Lebanese, in memory of those who's blood was spilled by the enemy israel and america. Listen now, close your eyes, and your soul will tell you the truth. Listen to the truth, before its too late, and the vicious cycle of war never ends.

9:51 AM  

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