Thursday, August 03, 2006

How to Effectively Dismantle Hizballah: Part I

In this post I will seek to highlight the potency of the tactics used by Hizballah to embed itself in the hearts and minds of its constituency, the Shiite community of Lebanon.

This embedding is better described, I think, as a total smothering of the Shiite community in Lebanon. Here's the situation as I see it, Hizballah (in conjunction with its 'rival' Amal) has created for itself the role of exclusive provider for the Shiite community whether it be in terms of political representation or social services ranging from medical to educational to welfare services. This situation undoubtedly arose from a historical negligence on the part of the central governments of Lebanon of that community but I think can also be attributed to an active effort by Hizballah and Amal to limit the involvement of the central government in the affairs of the Shiite community. More explicitly, I think that what Hizballah and Amal have been doing over the last 15 years is the following: they actively refuse to allow the central government a role in providing the needed services to the Shiite community so that they can have a complete monopoly over it. Hizballah denies its supporters access to national services so that they can provide them with those services and so render their constituents completely dependent on them. It is this dependence that feeds the community's unconditional love for the party and its leader, his is the hand that feeds them, what the community fails to see is that his is the hand that also deprives them, and so the illusion and partial reality of neglect has been upheld. Perhaps the most detrimental aspect of this tactic is that (unlike other movements and parties in Lebanon who are also attempting to impose a monopoly on their sect's representation) Hizballah provides those needed services through institutions outside the framework of government thereby making them an intensely dangerous element to Lebanon's sovereignty and democracy.

More worryingly, however, it is Hizballah and Amal's suppression of all kinds of political and social liberties that is having the most detrimental effect on the advancement of the community. Nobody in the Shiite community dares run in the elections, nobody dares voice an objection to their policies, politics, or hegemony. Combine this with their complete circumvention of the institution of government through their services and their weapons and you've got yourself a explosion waiting to happen.

Alright so I haven't talked about any dismantling but I thought it was important to highligh the non-weapons part of the problem first. Part II will talk about how to alleviate the Shiite community's complete dependence on Hizballah while Part III and IV will deal with the weapons!

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