Across the Bay

Friday, April 24, 2009

More on Hezbollah's "Lebanonization"

Hezbollah's Naim Qassem has once again vindicated the perceptive scholarship of the likes of Dick Norton and, more recently, Joseph Alagha, who preached the "Lebanonization" of Hezbollah among other cute delusional fantasies. Here, can't you tell?

Qassem confirmed that “Hezbollah’s path goes beyond the electoral battle, and it crosses domestic boundaries to regional ones, because our enemy is Israel, and we must believe that the region will be exposed to Israeli attacks in the future. This enemy understands one language, which is the language of resistance.”

I explore all this in depth in an upcoming essay in Current Trends in Islamist Ideology. For an older critique of Hezbollah scholarship, see this post from February 2008, after the Mughniyeh assassination.

The latest journalist to carry water on behalf of Hezbollah is Borzou Daragahi over at the LAT, who, without blinking or offering a single critical qualifier, wrote the following even as a Hezbollah cell was arrested operating in Egypt: "[Qassem] rejected Western accusations that Hezbollah conducts operations overseas."

It was amusing, however, to see Qassem in that interview trash the basis of the British decision to engage Hezbollah's so-called "political wing," and along with it, trash the whole dominant "evolutionary" model which holds that somehow by "integrating in the Lebanese political process" Hezbollah "transitions away" from "the military option":

"All political, social and jihad work is tied to the decisions of this leadership," he said. "The same leadership that directs the parliamentary and government work also leads jihad actions in the struggle against Israel."

Instead, as we found out from the Egypt cell case, Hezbollah used its penetration of state institutions like the Surete Generale and the Foreign Ministry to subordinate them in the service of its external military operations, through the issuance of forged documents, carrying official seals.

The delicious irony (or hypocrisy) of the British position, of course, lies in the possibility that their overture towards Hezbollah may be directly tied to hostage negotiations involving Hezbollah operatives and British hostages in Iraq, all of which of course highlights and confirms, beyond any doubt, Hezbollah's "Lebanonization," its lack of global reach, its non-involvement in overseas terrorist activities, and all that jazz that since the 1990s has passed for "scholarship."

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Assad's "Peace"

Here's my latest commentary on Assad's recent interviews and his statements regarding "peace" with Israel. I note that not only do Assad's statements constitute a kind of throwback to the rhetoric of the Khartoum summit's three "no's", but also they publicly articulate for the first time what some of us suspected was the Assad's regime's (both under father and son) intentions all along.

More commentary to come.