Wednesday, August 09, 2006

How to Effectively Dismantle Hisballah: Part III

The truth of the matter is that there are different ways of dealing with the Israelis in the Arab world and, along with Syria and Iran, we have been the only ones to deal with them at the level of hostility witnessed in this conflict (and way beyond this level even, given that the Syrians haven't fired a single shot on their territory in over 30 years...and the Iranians....well...never!). All the other Arab countries from Qatar, Oman, and Bahrain through Jordan and Egypt, to Tunis and Morocco, have a vastly different and more subtle diplomatic relationship with the Jewish state.

Now what had been going on behind the scenes in the first week of the war was that the government (and more specifically Hariri and his Future Movement) had quickly moved to try and workout a general plan allowing for a complete realignment of Lebanon’s international and regional policies along an Egyptian-Jordanian-Saudi axis of sorts. This means that we would be adopting a completely new philosophy in terms of regional powers and dealings with Israel. So to that affect, a realignment towards more moderate Arab regimes and away from the harder-line regimes of the region makes sense to me.

In reality, Hizballah is a way of life for Lebanon, they aren't just an element of Lebanon but really make up a whole foreign and defense strategy that has been – and through their continued existence, continues to be - completely aligned with that of Syria's and, to a lesser extent, with Iran. Operating over a multitude of geographical political layers (domestic, regional, and international) is a complicated affair not without its contradictions and paradoxes. As I noted in an earlier post Hizballah’s leader, Sheikh Hasan Nasrallah, had made a number of promises to his fellow ‘national’ leaders and members of the governing block concerning his group’s paramilitary activities. The breach of these promises – in the operation that resulted in the abduction of the two IDF soldiers – will now surely cost the leader and his party great political capital with little to show for it on the domestic front. To that end, this conflict has solidified the argument for the disarmament of the group. It has shown that when the goals of the regional elements which control the group conflict with the group’s domestic or national well-being, it is Hizballah’s nationalism, and the nation as a whole, that lose out.

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