Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Hezbollah and the Lebanese State

"After the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon in April 2006, Hezbollah felt compelled to join the government to ensure a balance between the various Lebanese forces and protect Lebanon's vulnerable position in the regional equation. This paper by the head of Hezbollah's main think tank, asserts that the movement is determined to abide by Lebanon's democratic political system based on the rule of consensus, and to support a strong central state, a transformation in the movement's understanding of the requirements of the Lebanese domestic balance and its appreciation that internal stability is central to its national project if it is to succeed in its pan-Arab and Islamic mission. While the national dialogue started in spring, between all Lebanese factions was making progress on issues of power sharing, divergent views about foreign policy, first and foremost about the strategy towards Israel and about regional alliances constituted a major fault-line. On the eve of the war with Israel, Hezbollah was arguing that the issue of its armaments should be discussed within a broader debate on a national defense strategy that addresses reciprocal guarantees between Lebanese groups, and reconciles the resistance's defensive function with the State's strategy of regaining its sovereignty, away from external influences. In a vision of "inter-related balances" to which the leader of the movement sheikh Hasan Nasrallah is committed, Hezbollah's contribution to the regional equation is an automatic result of its achievements in the domestic national arena. The Lebanese national interest is therefore the main criterion that determines the movement's behaviour, and the contradiction between its domestic and regional roles no longer exists. In the aftermath of the war with Israel, Hezbollah's regional popularity has grown beyond any expectations but the movement is reasserting its attachment to its Lebanese national agenda. … … …

"Hezbollah and the Lebanese State. Reconciling a National Strategy with a Regional Role" Ali Fayyad 28 August 2006


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