Sunday, December 03, 2006

one's got to go...

Yesterday, fellow blogger abu kais and i sat down for a discussion. he said something profound: either hizballah goes or lebanon goes - simple. I agree. In fact, I feel Lebanon is on the brink of "going."

Gradually, with the passing of time, it dawns on me that (as i alluded to in my previous blog entry, a message to hizballah) the very reason behind Hizballah's success on the battlefield and in the so-called "Arab street" will be its downfall in Lebanon - or, alternatively, Lebanon's downfall. Hizballah's black and white vision of the world: evil-good, ally-enemy, devil-god, etc... is incompatible with a fluid, complex and contradictory political field and process.

Today, the organization's main focus has shifted from south of Lebanon's border to Beirut, Lebanon's capital. Interestingly however, the party continues to utilize the same language, or more accurately, vocabulary, in referring to the Lebanese government and other political players.

In other words, the primary focus (or, maybe, subject) of the organization has changed, but the organization itself appears intransigently set against change. Consequently, Hizballah portrays its political opponents within Lebanon, and deals with them (politically) in a similar manner to its dealings with Israel. Nuance, subtlety, sensitivity, and all other forms of accommodation seem non-existent in that party's political tool-kit. In the gray zone of the Lebanese political playing field Hizballah appears as fish out of water.

The main problem with this situation lies in its implication for Lebanon and Lebanese in general. Farid el Khazen (AUB professor and current MP) suggests that the Lebanese civil war of 1975 began because existing political processes and institutions were not able to absorb all the pressures inherent in, among other things, the PLO's presence in Lebanon.

Today, I see a parliament that's defunct, a presidency that, for all intents and purposes, is also defunct, and a government that's struggling to stay afloat. Needles to say, this situation does not bode well for the future of the country. On this note, I'll add that it doesn't surprise me that among the MPs rumored to have left MP Aoun's bloc is Farid el Khazen.

In the mean time, everybody who can is leaving the country.

In light of these developments, one thought that comes to mind is how difficult the project of co-opting Hizballah into becoming a Lebanese political party is turning out to be. I am convinced that if this process is to continue, the party itself will have to undergo a considerable overhaul - starting with its leadership. Hassan Nasrallah has obsessed about Israel since the 1980s! It is humanly impossible for him to, all of a sudden, focus his thinking and efforts exclusively on, say, improving his flock's socio-economic conditions.

Tensions and conflicts will continue in Lebanon until something dramatic within Hizballah occurs. Hizballah's mission to Hizballah-ize the state will fail. I hope that the consequence of that failure will no be the destruction of the state itself.


Anonymous said...

One's go to go. That's for sure.

I remember trying to debate and convince our friends from Israel or the West that Hezbollah could be dealt with peacefully, within Lebanon. And that it had to be integrated into the Lebanese political system. I must say, I was wrong about that. The conclusions you and Abu Kais draw here are very similar to the ones I have in mind too.

apokraphyte said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lazarus said...


in fact, one can probably argue that "lebanon" never existed.

one thing i do disagree with you is your statement that "HA's vision is black and white". all i can say to that now is to never underestimate your enemy. one thing that can be done is to understand the economics behind HA's vision. it's all about the money, and that is never black and white.

- l.

abubalboola2 said...

well.. I've been away for a couple of month. I come back, open the news, and got so disappointed.
stagnation between Israel and Lebanon, regression between the Lebanese themselves.
Assasination of a minister, mass protests and a leader of a private army is calling to topple the government.
This is a beginning of chaos. Is Lebanon going into another civil war?
At best, it might be a non violant escalation but one which will paralize the country. but then.. not violent?! a minister was assasinated!!

Raja, your description of nasralla, reminded me of my opinion of Arafat. he made Israel see reality through a struggle, but when he needed to move to a political mode of operation, he simply could not do the mental switch and from there on was actually in the way of his own people to independance.

Arnold Evans said...

Wait one second, the Shiites really cannot have enough cabinet members for a veto? The Christians have enough to veto and many people believe Shiites outnumber Christians. Hezbollah today is probably more popular than March 14 in Lebanon.

Lebanon really cannot amend its electoral law so that it is one person one vote?

It seems to me that acceding to the reasonable demands of Hezbollah would solve this. It also seems as if you are looking for compromise and accommodation only from the Shiites.

How about the Shiites disarm, put Hezbollah's armed wing into the Lebanese armed forces chain of command and get two more ministers and one person one-vote elections in 2009?

That is a reasonable proposal that Hezbollah would accept and that March 14 is rejecting.

I expect that you will say March 14 can never share power with Hezbollah, and can never deal with Hezbollah in government on an equal basis even if Hezbollah has more support from the population. Then you will go back to accusing Hezbollah of being uncompromising.

Anonymous said...

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R said...

I agree with you and Abukais Raja... HA is proving irroconcilable with the concept of a multi-sectarian, diverse state...

I'd be willing to live with a version of Arnold's compromise solution though as long as they disarm (screw integrate into the army, we have seen that they only take orders from their leader) under international supervision.

Anonymous said...

it is funny to see you people,seriously discussing the fact that either HA has to go or Lebanon has to go. each of you has something to say and no one seems to care that these people represent 1/3 of lebanon if not more. where do u people come from???
im not a shi3a but do u think for a second that sunnis or christians are better lebanese than shi3as, maybe they are more educated but thats only because the consecutive governments never did anything to educate them from 1943 till now.
i assume most of you live in the US and thats why u think of hizballah as only a terrorist group and not as a lebanese party representing a significant part of the population.
as long as people like you, who have lived in the west and seem educated, seriously discuss wiping out a third of the population or dissimating their political views, Lebanon will move from one war to another with no hope of peace.
bonne chance
Keep talking who knows maybe next time the christians turn will come...

Doha said...


where do you see anywhere talk of shi3as? hizbullah does not mean shi3as of Lebanon. Raja is in no way saying that 1/3 of the population needs to be wiped out. I don't know where you can deduce anywhere in his post that that's the case.

if any party's political views are based on use of arms then it should transform itself in order to operate within a delicate political system in Lebanon.

Raja said...


First, don't put words in my mouth. I don't think I have ever referred to Hizballah as a terrorist group. I have described it as a militia that was successful in helping to bring Israel's occupation of Lebanon to an end.

Moreover, i want to point something out to you: I do not believe Jumblatt, Jaejae or Hariri represent my own interests...

In a similar vein, I do not believe that Hizballah represents the interests of Lebanon's Shi'a. However, they will begin represting their constituents' interests when they help bring raise to the surface leaders who are genuinly committed to solving serious problems such as that faced by Lebanon's energy sector and the state's welfare institutions. Bitching about problems and then dragging the country into oblivion after oblivion is not the way to go.

Lastly, allow me to point out that your entire comment was based on the first statement I made. If you had read the entire entry, you would have realized that my conclusions were a little more nuanced, and based on observasions regarding Hizballah's behavior in the Lebanese political playing field.

Hizballah, as it is today (as it behaves today), either goes or Lebanon goes. I stick to that assertion.

Solomon2 said...

Hizballah's black and white vision of the world: evil-good, ally-enemy, devil-god, etc... is incompatible with a fluid, complex and contradictory political field and process.

Hizb has gotten this far by changing the process, has it not? Hizb has total domination of the Shia sphere, correct? What is to stop Hizballah from doing the same elsewhere in Lebanon? Over at The Blacksmiths Marc Mikhael describes how families of the former Israel-supported SLA - kicked out by Hizballah - were allowed to return on condition of subscribing to the Hizballah agenda. The author characterizes this as an advance. What can prevent Hizballah from doing the same everywhere else in Lebanon?

Anonymous said...

I am glad I got your attention and you are right I did focus on just one part of your post, my mistake, that’s only because I don’t see Hezbollah as Lebanon’s main problem.
Lebanon’s major problem, at least from my point of view, is the lack of an institutionalized government under which all parties can differ democratically and instead we have a ruling coalition that made the government a part of the conflict.
It is true that Hezbollah as it stands today is a major problem in the Lebanese society one that has to be solved if we are ever going to have a decent country but the problem is not being addressed correctly.
Instead of constantly attacking Hezbollah and trying to blame it for every wrong doing in the country one should address the root of the problem. Ever since independence the shi3a have been marginalised in almost every government and their regions are some of the poorest in Lebanon, furthermore they alone have suffered the blunt of 30 years of Israeli aggression, each family has lost at least one person and their homes have been destroyed on daily basis.
In order to change Hezbollah you have to tackle the reasons for its existence, ever since moussa el sadr. That is poverty, lack of government institutions (hospitals schools etc….) and constant Israeli threat and aggression. In that way only we can greatly undermine its presence and bring out shi3a leaders who can focus on their constituent’s problems and interests.

So you see we all want to take away their arms and change them from a militia into a political party but we differ on the means.

I believe the best way is, to address their fears and concerns and at the same time address the fears and concern of every other political group instead of constantly blaming them for Lebanon’s misfortune.

Going back to your post, ever since the Syrian occupation ended Hezbollah has been drawn deeper into the Lebanese political arena, but what has it found, it has found treachery and deceit. First in the elections it was back stabbed by its so called 14th of March allies, then in the distribution of power then during the war etc… I am not trying to exonerate them but I am just saying that the other parties have been the least receptive to their entrance into politics.

You see the March 14th group, which is mainly made up of x-warlords, arm smugglers, thief’s and bandits who decided to repent a day after the death of Mr hariri, are continuously exercising the methods they have learned from their Syrian masters and that is the main problem in Lebanon.

So Hezbollah actions alone will not lead to Lebanon’s oblivion, but the absence of a government and responsible leaders will.

Avraham said...

Hizbullah, my friends, is not even Lebanese - it is an Iranian, controlled and directed by the Guardians of Islam, founded with the dissapearence of the "Hidden" "Imam", Musa al Sadr. As an entity, it did not come to be to help Lebanon. It did not come to be to even "fight the Jews" It came to be in order to Revolutionize Lebanon. It came into being to destroy Lebanon. It came into being, simply to utilize Lebanon - it's resources, people and geographic position in order to make jihad against Israel, the US and even Europe. It is one arm in the great struggle controlled by the other Shia in Iran. You know this, even if you or people you know have been afraid to consider it. Think back of the long history of the Shia and the bloddy trail left in their wake. This isn't even about Israel, it's about Shiite dominance. Unfortunately, Lebanon is populated by sheeple just as the United States is and Hizbullah has now reached it's critical mass of supporters. My advice for any decent Muslim or Christian is to get the hell out of Lebanon as fast as you can. Between Hizbullah, Syria, Iran and the corrupt bastards in Israel, there is going to be a region-wide war with very little not destroyed. Unfortunately, Lebanon is so much like the Jewsin World War 2. Nobody is going to do anything until it's too late and then the world is going to weep crocadile tears and then bring further destruction to the region. I truly, TRULY wish the Lebanese people the best of luck, Mashallah, but I don't see it happening. I just hope that the US, UK, Europe, Australia and New Zealand open their borders for you as we enter into this new period of great bloodshed.