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Now’s Not the Time for Hezbollah to Cut-and-Run

by FRANKLIN LAMB

Dahiyeh, South Beirut.

This observer admits that politically speaking, things might appear a bit tough for Hezbollah these days but will spare the dear reader the tedium of a laundry list of what the Party has experienced over the past 20 months in terms of domestic and foreign attacks, condemnations, calumny, obliquey, sundry plots, and legislative and political wounds, some a result of the Party of God lumbering under the weight of some tawdry political ‘allies’ who it must work with in Parliament. Some of the more commonly known and intensifying targeting of the Resistance by its internal and foreign foes who have pledged at all costs to dismantle it but sowing Sunni-Shia discords, include exploiting the chaos in Syria, manipulating the frustrations of the Lebanese public given widespread lack of public services, and attacking Hezbollah’s  success in linking its military power with its growing political power but periodically insisting that it gives up its weapons.

Concerned friends of Hezbollah sometimes over react out of sincere solidarity and friendship and a desire to protect the Resistance from surrounding events that are swirling out of control around them. Perhaps it is in this context that the editor in chief of the pro-Hezbollah Beirut newspaper, Al Akbar, Ibrahim al Amin is demanding that Hezbollah throw in the towel and withdraw from Lebanese politics.

On 7/18/12, the 6th anniversary of Lebanon’s July 2006 victory over Israel during the latter’s fifth war against Lebanon which included its brutal 1978, 1982,1993, 1996 aggressions, it was quite normal to discuss and evaluate  where the Resistance is today in terms of its work and goals, not least of which is Hezbollah’s moral, religious, political and humanitarian duties to support the Palestinians growing international campaigns to retrieve their country which is still occupied by  a Zionist colonial regime after more than six decades and their obligation to enact in Parliament right to work and home ownership legislation for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

One interesting,  provocative but wrong-headed proposal in this observer’s opinion was put forward in a 7/18/12 editorial in Al Akbar newspaper, by its Editor and Chief Ibrahim al-Amin, reputed to be close to some Hezbollah officials.

Editor al-Amin did not mince his words, declaring thus:

“There’s no longer any point in the resistance (Hezbollah) remaining in government. The government is no longer good for anything. No good will come from the current (Hezbollah led) government surviving.

There’s no longer any point in the resistance remaining in any branch of Lebanon’s government, not even in parliament. It’s impossible for it to play a legislative role given the weird and wondrous partnership between the executive and legislative establishments.

There’s no longer any point in the resistance remaining involved in domestic political quarrels or discussions…There’s no longer any point in the resistance getting mixed up in political games that tarnish its reputation, undermine its standing, and make it resemble the gangsters who make up most of the political class in this land of the deranged.”

Al-Amin editorializes that

“The system sees the resistance as an alien body which must be ejected by any means: through isolation if possible, sectarian strife if necessary, and treason and the summoning of foreign invaders when desperate.

Al Amin additionally concluded:

“There’s no longer any point in the resistance continuing to be involved in government crises which it never had anything to do with, and when there is no real partnership in decision-making. This reduces it to the role of mute witness to daily acts of robbery, waste, sabotage and the destruction of what remains of the hybrid state.

“There’s no longer any point in the resistance remaining around the table with people who are above the law, however lofty or lowly their ranks. This has become akin to providing cover for the debasement of every family and individual in the country.

“There’s no longer any point in the resistance remaining a player in a game of appointments and patronage that does nothing to protect the resistance fighters or maintain the dignity of their families. Instead it isolates those who are willing to sacrifice all they hold dear for their people and beliefs but still cannot cross a road un-harassed or provide for their children.

“What use is there in Hezbollah staying in a government, parliament or other state bodies that it cannot trust?

“What is the use of remaining in a government that provides misleading, fabricated or skewed information to sustain an international body which seeks to damage the resistance in the name of justice – helping Israel achieve what it failed to do by force of arms? It grinds its people to the bone, and will not spend a penny on developing public utility.

“What is the use of remaining in a government that provides misleading, fabricated or skewed information to sustain an international body which seeks to damage the resistance in the name of justice – helping Israel achieve what it failed to do by force of arms? It grinds its people to the bone, and will not spend a penny on developing public utility.

Editor in Chief Amin’s  sunshine-patriot weak-kneed laments and his apparent eagerness to throw in the Resistance towel plus his expressed fears sound at times like they were written by a speech writer last July for Libya’s  Gadhafi  or Yemen’s Salah, and he errs with virtually every syllable he pens.

Defending its political mantle and participation in government is key for the future of the Hezbollah led Resistance. The Resistance is bigger than Hezbollah and has now become truly international as has its project of supporting the Palestinian cause.  Daily, the Resistance gains strength and support as Israel weakens and US and Western regional implantations and hegemony fades into the pages of history books.

Setbacks are surely in store for the Party of God, as with this country, region, movement, era, and culture of Resistance, inspired as it is by the 7th century sacrifices for the commonweal by Hussein bin Ali and the martyrs at Karbala and the 1st century C.E.  Martyred Prophet from Nazareth at Calvary.

Were the logic of the no doubt well-meaning Al Akbar editor to prevail and were Hezbollah to become ostrich like politically, the predictable result would be nothing less and quite likely rather more than the following consequences.

Withdrawing from the political battles in Lebanon’s government would be an egregious capitulation to the designs of Elliot Abrams and the Bush administration when Abrams requested in 2004 of the Saudi Regime, $ 50 million in funding to set up the March 14th coalition. Abdicating its legislative duties would be for the Resistance to cave to the likes of Israel’s Netanyahu, the Zionist controlled US Congress, reactionary despotic Arab regimes and other defenders of the Zionist occupation of Palestine  at the expense of people of good will everywhere and supporters of the Hezbollah led Resistance throughout  Lebanon as well as internationally.

The suggestion that Hezbollah cannot remain cutting edge in its military preparedness simultaneous with the high quality of its Parliamentary delegation including Mohammad Raad, Nawaf Musawi, Ali Fayad, Hassan Fadallah, and Mohammed Fneish, to name just a few, is faulty.  This stellar Loyalty to the Resistance team is more than capable of continuing to advance the Hezbollah campaign pledges and party platforms in Parliament and get results while Hezbollah remains vigilant and prepared to defeat the coming Israeli aggression.

The decision of Hezbollah to participate in Lebanese politics and government was the right decision when it was debated and decided in 1992 and it remains even more so today.

Hezbollah is known for its culture of dialogue, analysis, elements of democratic centralism and patience in decision making.  Many supporters of the Resistance, including this observer, believe that proposals for Hezbollah to disengage from Lebanese politics err at best and at worst they are patently absurd, counter-Resistance and undermine prospects for a prosperous future for Lebanon and the people of all 18 confessions who Hezbollah seek to serve.  Participating in Lebanon’s government  and not least in the mundane work of trying to ameliorate scores of local government problems after decades of neglect is a noble cause.

Whether in Palestine or here in Lebanon, the Resistance takes nearly countless forms, paths, protests, operations, from military to academic and social.  Continuing to engage every day, every hour with Lebanon’s government of which Hezbollah is an essential component and is vital.

Now is not the time to throw in the towel just because times are tough, but it would be well for the tough to get a move on and to redouble efforts to serve the people by concrete results from Parliament and through government agencies.

Franklin Lamb is doing research in Lebanon and is reachable c/o fplamb@gmail.com

Franklin Lamb is a visiting Professor of International Law at the Faculty of Law, Damascus University and volunteers with the Sabra-Shatila Scholarship Program (sssp-lb.com).

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