Saturday, July 18, 2009

The idea that Hizballah has a "political wing" which isn't terrorist and can be engaged is absurd

By Barry Rubin

Nawaf Musawi was until recently the leader of Hizballah’s “political wing.” He is now a member of parliament from Tyre. Note that Britain, Russia, and other countries have had high-level officials meet with this political wing on the basis of the idea that it isn’t involved with terrorism but is some kind of legitimate parliamentary organization.

But listen to what Musawi says in a profile of Musawi in al-Nahar, as translated by Tony Badran. Asked about his candidacy for parliament and political work generally, Musawi responds:

“Fundamentally, our role in the party is Jihad work. Without it, there's no value or role for Lebanon. If I had the opportunity to go back, I would have chosen the path of military jihad, because the position of a true warrior (muhajid) is more important than that of a member of parliament."

And what does he think of Hizballah’s leader, Hasan Nasrallah, who always advocates armed struggle against Israel and often against the West, is closely tied to Tehran and has periodically suggested his goal is an Islamic republic in Lebanon?

“Nasrallah is my leader and my spiritual guide [wali amr]. If he should stand up [I stand up] or sit down [I sit down]. “

The article adds, “He admits that his eyes teared up when Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah went on television in the first address after the beginning of the [2006 war with Israel] `Because on that day I remembered the sight of Imam Hussain, peace be upon him, in Karbala.'"

In other words, he equates Nasrallah, with religious fervor, with the most holy specifically Shia figure in sacred battle.

Thus speaks the leader of Hizballah’s political wing.

Other such statements have also been made, some even in English. For example, Hizballah second-in-command Naim Qassem:

"All political, social and jihad work is tied to the decisions of this leadership. The same leadership that directs the parliamentary and government work also leads jihad actions in the struggle against Israel."

Or this Hezbollah fighter interviewed by the BBC:

"But Mahmoud, the fighter, says the UK is fooling itself by making this distinction.

"`We have two arms, but we belong to one body. There is no such things as the military wing or the political wing of Hezbollah. We are all part of one resistance,' he said."

"`Hezbollah will become a purely political party only when Israel ceases to exist,' he said."

So on what basis can Western analysts, diplomats, or officials claim there is some gap between a terrorist military wing and a peaceful, parliamentary “political” wing which is worth engaging and might become more moderate?

The Western media should not be fooled by Hizballah's public relations' tricks and this is especially true for the British government.

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