I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking a lot about what's going in Lebanon. I've said before that I don't understand why Israel is doing this bombing thing. It is inherently sloppy (i.e. kills and so alienates civilians) and yet it's unlikely that Israel can disarm Hezbollah (a good goal!) with air strikes alone. Leaving that puzzle aside for a moment, I was thinking about why Hezbollah still has it's military and what that can tell us about it's motives.
Hezbollah developed it's military wing during the Israeli occupation of South Lebanon. It's understandable how it came about in that circumstance. But Israel pulled out of Lebanon (except for some tiny enclaves here and there along the border) years ago. What's more, Hezbollah has proved quite successful politically and has won representation in the national government. So why hasn't Hezbollah dismantled its private military? Why has it instead strengthened it?
Suppose that Hezbollah's motive is purely to "defend Lebanon" when the national military cannot? If that is the party's goal, why doesn't it simply donate its equipment (and troops) to the national military and advocate a strong defense like many hawkish/nationalist parties around the world? One might say, "Well, Hezbollah's supporters are poor and can't afford to pay for a national military strong enough to deter Israel." Fair enough. And that is probably why Hezbollah's funding for it's own military comes mainly from Iranian and Syrian aid.
So why would Iran and Syria give military aid to Hezbollah but not to the Lebanese army (which uses a mixture of western military equipment and some older Soviet stuff)? I suggest it is because they prefer that Hezbollah BE the Lebanese government rather than simply participate in it. That Hezbollah accepts this arrangement suggests that they share this goal.
I'm increasingly convinced that the argument that Hezbollah needs it's military because of the Israeli threat to Lebanon is nonsense - even given the current invasion by Israel. If defending Lebanon was the goal, Hezbollah would support the national military. That they insist on having a private military reveals their more selfish concerns.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Posted by Raised By Republicans at 12:08 PM