Hizbullah and resistance by print

Timur Goksel has a chapter on the “Implications of the July 2006 war on the future Israeli wars” in a book published by a think-tank that is affiliated in some way to Hizbullah (al markaz al Islami lil dirasat al fekriyah). Goksel, for those who don’t know, was the former official spokesman of the UNIFIL forces stationed in South Lebanon, and now teaches international relations at the American University of Beirut. The book is called “Al intisar al Moqawim” which is kind of hard to translate in English not the least because initially in Arabic it does not make much sense, but here we go: “the Resistant victory” (The aim was probably to try to get the word “victory” and “resitance” in one flashy title).

I find this book fascinating. It is an excellent sign that Hizbullah and the intellectual/ideological sphere around it reads quickly power dynamics in the West: producing papers, putting views about future policy course, political visions, etc. on print. The book exceeds 500 pages of good quality paper, with a hard cover, has a nice abstract design, and has contributors ranging from Ayatollah Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah, to party member like Naim Qassem, to ad hoc intellectuals from several social (confessional spaces), to American leftists journalists like Frank Lamb, etc.

But I don’t want to comment on everything in this book as there is so much to note. Goksel chapter struck my attention in the sense that it has a detailed analysis of how Israel fared on the ground, and how it is probably learning from its mistakes, and what will it potentially do differently in a new incursion. And this is coming from an ex-UN military man, turned academic in an American institution based in Lebanon. That’s the most beautiful gift Hizbullah could get. And beyond this symbolic asset in the economy of knowledge, for once, it is somebody trying to learn from Israeli military tactics rather than trying to unearth Hizbullah’s strategies. Most of the time, studies are focused on how “the terrorist” think, how the “insurgent” (nicer term for terrorist) acts. The academic department I am affiliated with in London has “Counter-insurgency reading groups” and “counter-insurgency students”. Hizbullah is trying to lead the way in the institutionalization of what one would call “American and Israeli imperialist” studies. Here I use the term “imperialism” with some reserves, could not find a better one for the time being.


5 Replies to “Hizbullah and resistance by print”

  1. The pretentious hyperbolic name of this book (probably inspired by iranian fundamentalist rhetoric of hizballah’s masters), reminds me of Orwellian double speak. “Defeat is Victory”

    Since when did not being completely destroyed, publicly asking for a ceasefire, having a casuality ratio of 100:1 , and barely surving an onslaught that destroyed a country in which at least 50% did not want this silly war, which “Lebanon” lost , even if in a karbalaa induced delerium you think Hizb won.
    wake up dude!

  2. Well i am not with Hezbollah but i do believe that they won over Israel this time, tactically to say the least. When was the last time you heard that the Israeli war machine was stuck in a quagmire at the very beginning of one of its blitzkrieg wars? I think Hezbollah dealt a hard blow to the Israeli army, besides when measuring up ratios you should not mix two factors. Measure Hezbollah/Israeli Army losses, i think you’d have a more appropriate figure.

  3. DSL
    Militarily and if you look at the death ratio, Hezbollah didn’t perform better than Hamas in Gaza. What they did was keep firing, and resist in a couple of villages, knowing time was on their side. They were moslty smarter in communication, organization and how all that affected the israeli side psychologically. They played the israelis, the lebanese and the rest of the world and they actually beat the israelis and the americans in their own usual propagandist game. That’s how it’s very easy to say that Hezbollah did win the war, and I still don’t get how your argument that “least 50% did not want this silly war” is relevant in deciding whether they won the war or not.
    One last element though : one effect of the war is more tightening of 14th of March and tender attachment to US policy in Leb. So until we see how things evolve, we don’t really know yet whether it’s victory or complete failure of a more than 20 years work.


  4. sophia, I don’t know… the way these books are distributed I would assume is still very local. We have to check if the publishing houses are opening offices in other countries. This is very possible. Sometimes these books circulate used, through individuals and end up in specialized places like universities etc.

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