Thursday, April 23, 2009

Updated: Memo to British Government: Dar al-Harb Isn't Arabic For House of Lords

It’s been a busy time for British policymakers. First, they announced they are going to begin contacts with Hizballah’s “non-military wing.”

Next, they attended the Durban-2 meeting, walking out for a few minutes during Prime Minister Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech, then returning to approve a resolution which precisely mirrored the Iranian regime’s political line.

And then, rather than rest on their laurels, a group of British parliamentarians invited Hamas leader Khaled Mashal to address--albeit through modern long-distance technology--a meeting at Parliament.

[Update: There is some justice. After several speeches by those present in London about how wonderful Hamas is--leaving out the calls for genocide against Jews, the expulsion of Gaza Christians, and the murder of Fatah supporters, among other things--the telephone link-up with Damascus (where Mashal lives protected by the Syrian dictatorship) didn't work!]

Having written about two of these events, let me not leave out Her Majesty’s Government’s dialogue with the radical, Shia Islamist Lebanese group Hizballah, an organization that is a client of Iran and Syria, and which has used terrorism as one of its main tactics.

This step is supposedly acceptable because the British government will be targeting--perhaps not the best choice of words since it is Hizballah that really targets people—Hizballah legislators.
The goal is to talk to Hizballah members of the Lebanese parliament allegedly to get them to encourage their organization to abandon violence and play a constructive political role in Lebanon.

This approach is based on the assumption, of course, that parliamentarians are parliamentarians, friendly, outgoing chaps who know how to kiss babies and slap backs in the local constituency. This, however, misreads what Hizballah is about.

Yes, Hizballah is a political party but that’s where the similarity to the Labour or Conservative parties ends. The name gives it way. At least historically, the Labour party is supposed to represent workers; the Conservative party those who are either better-off or favor the historical status quo more.

But Hizballah means, in Arabic, literally, the Party of God. That’s who they represent, or think they do, and their purported constituent is a bit harder to please than the trade unions and the local gentry or greengrocers.

And the Hizballah parliamentary delegation is called the Loyalty to the Resistance group. Resistance has become the codeword for the Iran-Syria-Hizballah-Hamas-Iraqi insurgent (a nice word for terrorist) bloc which seeks to promote Islamist revolution throughout the Middle East. What are they resisting? Peace and moderation. Who are they resisting? America, Israel and the West. How are they resisting? Assassinations, car-bombs, kidnappings, and suicide attacks are high on the list of favored tactics.

Of course, Hizballah like other revolutionary Islamists has social welfare programs. But the purpose of these is to build its mass base so it can seize power, and then to do all the things it wants to do .

Having tea with Hizballah parliamentarians is sort of like breaking bread with the elected members from Stalinist Communist parties or fascist parties of the past. While you’re breaking bread, their doctrines are all for breaking heads. Hizballah is led by clerics and gunmen (perhaps that’s what is meant by the division into political and military wings). The Honourable Member from south Sidon is not making the decisions or influencing party policy.

Even if Hizballah plays a political role within Lebanon it is hardly likely to be a constructive one. Their goals include: turning Lebanon (or at least the Shia parts of it) into an Islamist society; welcoming Iranian-Syrian hegemony over the country; wiping out Israel violently; expelling Western influence; spreading Islamic jihad elsewhere; and such things.

For Hizballah the word "constructive" means constructing a caliphate.

This is a naïve approach to say the least. And of course such actions are read by Lebanese as Western support for Hizballah so the opposition might as well give up and the faint-hearted jump on the Syrian-Iranian bandwagon. Arab states look on such antics as crazy. Why help your worst enemy take power? No wonder they believe in Western conspiracies. The alternative would be to believe that the West is insane.

1 comment:

  1. Just think of the message it sends to Lebanon's Christians, Sunnis and Druze - who have no desire to live under Shia suzerainty. By legitimizing Hezbollah, the UK tells those communities they are unimportant and their concerns about Hezbollah influence need not be taken seriously. If this is meant to encourage Lebanese democracy, talking to Islamists hostile to it will have the opposite of its intended effect. All without ever moderating Hezbollah's radicalism in the bargain.


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