The real war begins

I did not expect SG of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah to be capable of doing it with such ease but he nively gave a basic lesson of politics to the some politicians in Lebanon, during his latest speech yesterday.

His acute analysis of the current “state of the state” is remarkable in terms of its awareness of history (something Lebanese are profoundly in denial of). what he basically said is how can the Khezballah give back their weapons when there is no party to whom they could give their weapons. The Lebanese State? controlled by who? The “majority” that is agitating for disarmament when Israeli soldiers are still performing last-minute murderous operations? Can’t these people realize what’s at stake here? Giving back Hezbollah’s weapons right now is akin to telling Israel “Mission accomplished”.

Read Joseph Samaha’s excellent analysis in this regard. I am translating one sentence here:

These forces [14th of march gathering] are trying to appeal to the Israeli “optimists” by stating that what the latter could not accomplish during last month with all the strength deployed, will become reality in the near term thanks to the help of the former!

Giving back the weapons now is putting the Lebanese army in danger, as observed by none other than certain officials in the army! The thirst for power of the 14th of March heteroclite ad-hoc formation knows no limit in its potential to destroy. Didn’t they understand that following US and Israeli directive is literally bad for health?

But here is the crux of Nasrallah’s wisdom yesterday (of course posed indirectly and not spelled as such): the recognition that Hezbollah could have not existed if the State was strong. I want to write about this for some time now, but could not gather my thought. Now is the opportunity: Hezbollah exist because only confessional groups can become strong enough to do something in this country, and as long as there wasn’t any serious effort to create a “national” force, strategic initiatives can only be performed effectively by parochial groups. No one would have dared liberating the south were it not for a group of radical crazily determined people. The state never cared for this part of Lebanon. Until now, many political forces from other regions deep down inside never really understood “the fuss about the liberation of the south”.

You cannot have a disarmament before having a strong state. What a great dilemma! Nasrallah is (maybe after Fouad Chehab) the first Lebanese to actually put unity of ranks as a requirement – and has the power to do so – for the future development of the country. The dilemma is: Relinquish your long cherished goals for power that you can get through the American door, and unite with those you hated all your life in order to see them relinquish what you always feared the most.

Do you think the Americans will let this happen easily? Well, think twice.. the Americans, according to a report in the Newly published newspaper Al-Akhbar are already choosing and picking from available “worthy” Lebanese army officials for the ‘reforming’ of the army in return of which they will give funds for reconstruction. Let the real war begins.

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13 thoughts on “The real war begins

  1. How cna he be the uniting leader when he instigated Israel’s over reaction?

    He could’ve been more uniting by channeling all his energy through the government.

    Contrary to what you say, I believe PM Siniora has more credentials.

    Our army will have big balls if he gets his militia to join.

  2. MAZE, yes but if you had conventional warfare between 2 armies, Lebanon would likely have been wiped out completely.

    I mean, can you see Lebanon acquiring arms comparable to Israel’s, or being allowed to threaten Israel’s up until now accepted regional dominance? That’s the practical battlefield side of it.

    As much as Hizbollah’s strength is in asymmetric warfare, Lebanon’s survival relies on the continued propping up of a Thunderbirds-like government that can raise its hands up mock-innocently, cry on demand and absolve itself of any responsibility for events in the ‘wild’ frontiers down south.

  3. hmm… u seem to have overlooked a very important point in his speech, which is the reconstruction bit. As you know political powers in this country are made with reconstruction plans: Hariri with the Centre-Ville, Berry in the South and Joumblatt with the Displaced.

    Nasrallah cut the grass under the feet of a government he disregards by offering to reconstruct the houses of his people (he accused the Gvt to which his party belongs of being ‘too slow’). Which implies two things:

    1- He is continuing to hijack his community with money and political influence, leaving no chance for the State to fill the gap before it could even make any proposal.

    So by attacking the Gvt who included all the revendications of the Hezb in its 7 points plan, it is not political forces you oppose you are attacking, but the ccpt of a Central State that you are weakening. Indirectly clientelism is back with vengance in the South since citizen’s loyalty will again be directed to a party rather than the State.
    This is how things were going anyway on the ground. I worked in a refugee camp for kids. Like almost all other refugees camps it was controlled during the second week of war by Hezballah. In the end all the help the Lebanese provided was channelled by the Hezb. Many kids thought that it was the Hezb who provided eveything, and NOT non-hezb Lebanese organisations and citizens. It is how a huge movement of solidarity has been ignored by those who benefited from this help. It is very cruel to all those inside and outside Lebanon who wanted to show their solidarity with this community.

    2- It shows that the Party does not consider in its plan more ‘national’ sites for reconstruction, since it provides help only to its community and not to the rest.

    At the end of the day: clientelism has triumphed, the Central State has lost and the gap between the shiite community and the rest of the country is widening.

  4. Good point S K B N, although it needs to be thoroughly looked at. I don’t think Hezbollah will hijack “the reconstruction” process, it may add balance to the already hijacked reconstruction process by Hariri for the last 20 years.

    the point he was trying to make is that: there is no state. Meaning that coalitions that have roots on the ground should be formed. then the end process will be a state. For now the state is held by the 14th of March coalition which is a mafia in itself. Let’s see what Hezbollah has to propose (like coalitions with Aoun and other independents).

    But you may have a point. In the absence of a “comprehensively national” state, there is room for abuse. But Hezbollah may overcome this problem because it is in his interest to do so.

  5. It is so amazing ya bech how we can look at the same events, listen to the same speeches and still have different interpretations…We surely agree on how and why the hezb emerged, though after that we have very little in common 😉

    (I really have nothing to add to what suburbankid said…as far as i am concerned he speaks for me)

  6. maha

    your argument is exactly the same as the one the syrian taxi driver gave me as I left the country.

    Hypothetically, the army could have its own special guerilla force wing specially to fight Israel, or the resitance could be national as it was initially.

    My point is that the asymetry argument is necessary but not sufficient. Other conceivable forces could “technically” do what it did. The rich history of our land however has not allowed this to happen and bech synthesises that well.

  7. I agree with you with regard to the 14th of March although it would be unfair to call them all mafia. There are mafia elements in this movement: Joumblatt, Hariri. There are ex-warlords like Geagea, there are truly incompetent ministers and Nayla Mouawad is a gross case of incompetence — she was given a Ministry that was supposed to ‘neutralise’ her and the war made it a central ministry: she truly failed in her mission.
    But there are also very capable persons: Siniora is a good ‘notable’ as we would say in french: reasonable, (over-?)sensitive, qualified etc. He is an anti-Zaim in style as I said at some point before, saved by his lack of charisma. Jihad Azour is competent and tarek Mitri proved to be a very decent in NY too.

    Well my point is that there is a bit ef everything in this heteroclite ensemble of leaders.

    But to come back to what you said I think that there is a state in the South. The state is the most important employer in the south. Clientelism gives the illusion the state has been absent but it simply does not bear the fruit of its presence.

    What we need to fight for now is:

    1- to push the Gvt whether we like him or not –we can encourage the element we like in it — to fill the gap left by hezb if there is any.
    The State does not only have to be present with the Lebanese army, it needs to conquer the heart of the people of the South. I think there is now an opportunity to do things right.
    I don’t think counter-balancing other people’s abuses by making new ones is a right thing to do. We need to build a state: it is why we should allow the State to rebuild our homes. What I reproach to Nasrallah is to immediately take the credit for all the reconstruction EVEN if Hezb or Iran won’t be the major donors. By associating himself with any effort of reconstruction he is denigrating the State and it is very bad. It goes against Aounist’s fight against clientelism and against effort to do state-building.
    The fight for reconstruction should be fierce cos it can help to create stronger bonds between the shiites community of the South and the rest of the Lebanese

    2- We have to fight Berry’s influence which very very very negative. We tend to think of him as indispensable and as the ‘moderate’ element. He is a political animal making its way quietly and surviving to all the regimes. If the money goes through him it is a catastrophy.

    So basically encourage the State and discourage clientelist dinosaurs

  8. SuburbanKids.. Thank you for elaborating so eloquently on exactly how I feel. I really like your posts.

    Now it’s a real chance for HA to show unity by sticking with the government since kept insisting on national unity during the apartheid state’s offensive,.

    Other than that it’s just another exercise of segregating loyalties again.

    Maha,
    No matter how the army is made up, you just need a good commander to control the troops. Surely, they could follow the same tactics HA has done to outperform Iskharael. Think outside the box is what HA did. If they joined the Lebanese army, then I am sure they can utilise similar if not better tactics. Most importantly, they’ll represent all of the Lebanese population.

  9. If Hizbollah becomes the State there will be no targets off limits the next time Hizbollah attacks Israel.

    Well, enjoy the peace while you can. The next war will be much worse.

    Also remember, tactics that worked in the last war rarely work in the next one.

    Hizbollah was tactically defeated. The next defeat could be strategic.

    You may not always be so lucky as to having an Olmert run the war against you.

  10. The Israelis are already working on the next war. While the fools of Lebanon are discussing how the spoils of victory will be parceled out.

    And what are the spoils? Power and Control. And worst of all you folks are already thinking of how to make the most profit out of Iran buying your country.

    Meet the new boss. Worse than the old boss.

  11. Nasrullah is an excellent politician. He gets Israel to attack Lebanon then takes the credit when they decide to leave.

    Not because he forced them out.

    Nope. They left when Hizbollah decided to stop fighting. Had Hizbollah continued the fight the Israelis would be in Lebanon still.

    Nasrullah surrenders and then claims victory. That would be the Saddam 1991 tactic. What did it get him? 12 more years and a hideout in a sewer.

  12. Easy there M. Simon.

    Your whole nation is built upon a grand zionist vision atop other people’s misery living in apartheid condition.

    So don’t come preaching like a wise singing gala.

    Lebanon needs to be independent of both Israel and Syria. Unfortunately, both countries are just as bad as one another.

    For the record, your army may be mighty, but out of all the wars Israel had(too many to count + a 58 year old occupation), Lebanon has been the only Arab country that dented israel’s butchering expeditions.

    Israel is only good at being hated by causing wars and trouble.

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