Triumphant over Who?

“That Hezballah (Party of God) shall be triumphant” (فإن حزب الله هم الغالبون) as their slogan says. But triumphant over who?

Throughout the years, Hezballah’s raison d’être has expanded and contracted with the fluctuating winds of its geopolitical, strategic, confessional and pan-Arab interests. With this, the targets of its rage have also varied, winning it die-hard supporters in some and solid enemies in others. But today, in addition to taking it upon itself to free Lebanon from Israeli occupation (itself questionable after Israel’s 2000 withdrawal), Palestine from Israeli occupation and maintain itself as one of the sole repositories of Arab struggle and dignity, an unexpected new enemy has come to grab its attention. The enemy is in Syria, not Syria; battling the people, not the regime: this is Hezballah’s new front line.

Official Hezballah Flag: "That the Party of God shall be triumphant. Islamic Resistance of Lebanon."

Official Hezballah Flag: “That Hezballah shall be triumphant. Islamic Resistance in Lebanon.”

This time, Hezballah doesn’t stand on the side of the oppressed, but the oppressor. It doesn’t stand on the side of the people, but of an oligarchy that gained popular support through force and nepotism. It stands against much of what it purportedly stands for, with irreversible consequences on its structure, ideological foundations, military strength and place in Lebanon’s ever-evolving political landscape.

Hezballah’s involvement in Syria is no longer a question of whether or where? Confirmations have come from many sources, including from Hassan Nasrallah himself, specifying if only Al Qusayr and the surroundings of the Sayida Zeinab shrine as locations of Hezballah’s presence. Involvement has also gone beyond questioning why Hezballah is taking part in the increasingly brutal and bloody civil war. Reasons range and are often a mixture of defending its ally the Syrian regime, partly out of its own volition and partly as a proxy for Iran in its struggle with Israel and the West, as well as part of the ongoing Shia-Sunni (of which most of the Syrian opposition is made of and supported by regionally) confrontation, exacerbated by the ever-growing presence of radical Sunni takfiri Islamists across the border. Involvement has also become an instinctive war of survival for Hezballah, for who can forget the pivotal role the Assad regime has played in supporting Hezballah’s existence and guaranteeing its strength during the past two decades.

Graffiti on the walls of Beirut, a play on the Hezballah's official slogan: " Freedom: That the People shall be triumphant." Courtesy of @MoNajem.

Graffiti on the walls of Beirut, a play on Hezballah’s flag and official slogan: Freedom: “That the People shall be triumphant.” Courtesy of @MoNajem.

Thus today, the question is what comes next? What will victory for Hezballah look like in Syria and how will it be translated in Lebanon? What will Hezballah’s martyrs in Syria have died for and what is now the holy promise the party will have fulfilled in fighting to protect the Assad regime? How does its involvement in Syria differentiate it from the Lebanese Sunni involvement (whether that of former Prime Minister Hariri through his minion MP Okab Sakr or that of wannabe Sunni leader Ahmad Al Assir, both to be equally condemned) other than turning Syria into yet another battlefield, this time for Lebanese Sunni-Shia confrontation with potentially disastrous consequences on Lebanon.

Hezballah’s tone remains defiant, regardless of the fact that its battle in Syria has not a fraction of the legitimacy it has in facing Israel and puts an entire country in the line of fire. It remains defiant, and seemingly in denial that it has allowed itself to be dragged into a battle with no future, for Assad will eventually collapse. It remains defiant despite the hypocrisy in supporting other Arab uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Bahrain, while being adamantly against the one in Syria solely because it targets the Assad regime. It is true that the Syrian uprising has developed into a civil war, far from its initially secular and progressive objectives and extreme Sunni elements are a major cause for concern, but this turn of events isn’t something up to Hezballah to reverse and fight against today.

Since the 2006 July War with Israel, Hezballah’s trajectory has been an uphill battle to maintain its unquestionable status as a political party-militia, having been subcontracted the defense of a country on its own terms. It has clashed with its internal opponents and turned its weapons toward them, despite assurances that its weapons were only aimed at the Israeli enemy. Internal opponents must share part of the blame for this, erroneously trying to face a mighty party with threats of destruction at the stroke of a pen. But today, Hezballah refuses to retreat and drowns itself in yet another battlefield with much to loose for itself, its supporters and more importantly for Lebanon.

Even after all these years, Hezballah’s loyal and unconditional ally may be the only one able to slowly bring the party to its knees, if only as the undefeated resistance movement it has portrayed itself to be. Triumph for who shall it be this time?

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8 Responses to Triumphant over Who?

  1. Dr. Noble says:

    The world could not wish for anything better … Let the extremist Sunni and Shiite exterminate each other .. Just feel bad for civilians and refugees. In reality, the middle east is still tribal despite having few modern people in big cities (Beirut, Cairo, Dubai,…). Borders of countries are insignificant when it come to the Shiite and Sunni tribe. This region is hopeless !

    • hassansaba says:

      In Peace times with ‘democracy’ in action.
      12,844 U.S citizens are murdered every year. This system is hopeless !
      Save your breath.

  2. Sam E. says:

    One has to love a piece of work that mimics exactly every mediocre, myopic, and generic writing about the region. Keep up the good work.

      • Sam E. says:

        That was probably a bit harsh, but you are mostly preaching to the choir. I am not a Hizballah fan, at least not any longer, but I do understand that their total failure now is that they’re acting exactly as everyone else has been acting. I just thought, naively, that they would be able to hold on to their principles a bit longer. But then again, they’ve liberated a whole country, provided social services to the poor (mostly Shia) when their government was more than happy to see them rot, and they showed restraint for years when they could have easily afforded not to, all they got is a most ungracious Lebanon, one that insisted to step on them and badmouth them; it’s a miracle they held to their lofty principles for so long.

        In economics, there is something called the economics of discrimination. The theory explains how prejudice almost always wins in dictating the behavior of those who are discriminated against. For example, a very productive black woman who happens to be supervised by a racist white manager, hard as she might try to show her productivity and good workmanship, she will always be seen as slacking by that manager, so that at one point the employee realizes that it would be more feasible for her to actually slack than be productive, and she will eventually become a slacker.

        Hizballah has endured enough prejudice that one would have expected them to cave years ago; again it is a miracle that it took them that long.

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  4. hassansaba says:

    To me the Zionists, the Muslim brotherhood, Hezbollah, al-Qaida, Hamas, the evangelicals, W.A.S.Ps, etc I think you get the drift they are nothing but pawns that use religions to serve a higher calling, on their phones, this is the same currency.

    They strictly galvanize support based on religion (which is easy, especially in dire straits) at the same time they change course according to a higher calling, and as we all know, she is always right!

    Identity politics does not serve anybody, but its creators. No wonder all such entities are preferred adversaries to each other (& support each other behind the scenes), contrary to what we hear they consistently are propped up by their higher callers (any imperial hand).

    This is why real just-based solutions will rid of such crony’s, refuted by these AWs, because it contradicts the bases of their existence. E.g. (one state solution), pick any cause and plug it in the formula.

    I feel sorry for the ‘left’ in Lebanon; stop f riding waves. It is brutal though!

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