Monday, July 24, 2006

Hezbollah and Iran

LGF points out an invaluable timesonline article on Hezbollah and its relationship to Iran. Be sure to read the whole thing, but in the meantime here are a few excerpts:
What are the links between Hezbollah and Iran? In 1982 Iran had almost no influence in Lebanon. The Lebanese Shi’ite bourgeoisie that had had close ties with Iran when it was ruled by the Shah was horrified by the advent of the clerics who created an Islamic republic.

Seeking a bridgehead in Lebanon, Iran asked its ambassador to Damascus, Ali Akbar Mohtashamipour, a radical mullah, to create one. Mohtashamipour decided to open a branch in Lebanon of the Iranian Hezbollah (the party of God).

[...]

In 2000, when the Israelis evacuated the strip they controlled in southern Lebanon, Tehran presented the event as the “first victory of Islam over the Zionist crusader camp” and Hezbollah was lauded across the Arab world. Hezbollah taunted the Israelis with billboards on the border reading, “If you return, we return”.

To prop up that myth, Tehran invested in a propaganda campaign that included television “documentaries”, feature films and books and magazine articles. The message was simple: while secular ideologies — from pan-Arabism to Arab socialism — had failed to liberate an inch of Arab territory, Islamism, in its Iranian Khomeinist version working through Hezbollah, had achieved “total victory” over Israel in Lebanon.

[...]

Hezbollah is a state within the Lebanese state. It controls some 25% of the national territory. Almost 400,000 of Lebanon’s estimated 4m inhabitants live under its control. It collects its own taxes with a 20% levy, known as “khoms”, on all incomes. It runs its own schools, where a syllabus produced in Iran is taught at all levels. It also runs clinics, hospitals, social welfare networks and centres for orphans and widows.

[...]

“The Israelis would be foolish to think they are dealing with nothing but a bunch of mad fanatics,” says a former Iranian diplomat now in exile. “Hezbollah in Lebanon is a state in all but name: it has its territory, army, civil service and economic and educational systems.”

1 Comments:

Anonymous Eric said...

The Sunday Times gives us insight into trying to understand the history and status of Hezbollah. Most of the rest of the press casts them as a rabble of fanatical rebels. No, in fact they are pretty much a government it seems. But their power has two pillars, without which it would diminish. The first seems to be Iran. Iran funds Hezbollah and supplies them with both arms and ideology. The second is war and the need to keep fighting. Peace means losing their reason for being- the fight for Islam and the destruction of Israel. With this they can keep convincing the population they control (some 400000 people) of their radical ideology- on which their unofficial state is founded. With peace, there is no reason for Hezbollah not to submit to the central Lebanese government and Iran then loses its substantial influence in that part of the world. War is in their interest- that is why they are fighting.
For more please look for the Olmert and Hezbollah article in the Middle East section at http://ericstake.com

9:02 AM  

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