Friday, August 11, 2006

How to Effectively Dismantle Hizballah: Part IV

Theres absolutely no military solution to Hizballah. If 18 years of military occupation and confrontation hasn’t proved that, if the so-called ‘Grapes of Wrath’ campaign – a virtual replica of the current Israeli aggression with the important exception that the Israelis didn’t need to invade Lebanon because they were already in there – didn’t prove that, and if the past month of intense military activity against Lebanon as whole (and not just Hizballah as the Israelis contend) hasn’t proved that to you yet, then nothing will.
Hizballah is the best guerrilla army in the world, and a guerrilla army (any guerrilla army) is by definition one that specializes in confronting a standing army, like the IDF, in a way that pretty much guarantees military victory in the long run. Therefore, it is fair to say that a guerrilla army is by definition one that you cannot defeat militarily.
As this conflict has twisted and turned, as the Israelis have demolished the fragile and already incomplete infrastructure of the Lebanese Republic, as they re-occupy dozens of villages in Lebanon and completely desert the last square inch of the moral high-ground they occupied in the first moments of the confrontation, so has public opinion regarding the disarmament of Lebanon’s last militia. This confrontation has proved both, the effectiveness of the resistance group in facing down Israeli aggression, and the corrosive danger of the group to our government and our nation’s sovereignty. It is this paradox that the existence of Hizballah poses to the Lebanese nation – along with the group’s domestic charitable and political activities previously described – and that has made their disarmament such a controversial issue.
There is another way!
There is another way to deal with the Israelis that has been adopted by a majority of Arab nations. I believe that if we can realign with those moderate Arab elements already present, if we can train our military, equip them to deal with the volatile elements that dominate the regional and domestic scene, if we can establish a viable and effective alliance with those nations to guarantee our sovereignty in the face of Israeli aggression – and the inevitable Syrian meddling that would follow any steps towards stabilization in Lebanon – then, at least, we can maybe provide a somewhat equivalent substitute to Hizballah’s deterrent capability. The decision is political and it is monumental
The How

In the past, I've half-heartedly advocated the integration of Hizballah into the army because it seemed like a good compromise, one that would benefit the army and the nation as a whole. But the truth of the matter is that this move doesn't go far enough. The true strength of the resistance lies in its ability to completely dissociate itself from the broader national armed forces (which are infiltrated beyond belief by both the Syrians and the Israelis). Their secrecy is therefore their primal asset in their ability to confront Israel, and integrating them into the army would render them somewhat useless as a fighting force. Another reason I don't really like integrating them as they are into the army is the following; to properly integrate a militia into a national army u have to completely break it up. That is to say, you can't leave them as a unit because their command structure will remain intact and they'll still take orders from Iran (or whoever) no matter who is their nominal head. If we really want to integrate Hizballah into the army, we need to take absorb them in the capacity trainers and instructors so that they can train units from all sects, thereby creating organic guerrilla units from within the armed forces.

This move, however, would entail Lebanon eventually entering into broader ‘normalization’ talks with the Israelis. As unappealing as this prospect may be a to a large portion of Lebanese at the moment, moving to disarm the resistance entails benefits to Israel that we should be able to capitalize on (in the form of negotiating points) and costs to Syria that we need to insulate ourselves from.

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