Political Survival, At The Cost Of The Country

Over at The Nation, Adam Shatz examines possible motivations behind Hezbollah’s “Operation Truthful Promise” (a.k.a. the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers):

Since the 2000 Israeli withdrawal… Hezbollah has faced mounting pressure, from the West but also at home, to lay down its arms and become a purely political organization–a fate the party dreads, since it prides itself on being a vanguard of Islamic resistance to American and Israeli ambitions in the Middle East. This pressure dramatically intensified with UN Security Council resolution 1559 (2004), which called for the disbanding of all Lebanese militias, and with the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon last year. By conducting a raid that was likely to provoke a brutal Israeli reprisal, Nasrallah may have gambled that the fury of the Lebanese would soon turn from Hezbollah to the Jewish state, thereby providing a justification for “the national resistance” as Lebanon’s only deterrent against Israel. So far, Israel (with the full support of the Bush Administration) has played right into his hands, inflicting more than 300 casualties, nearly all of them civilians, and pounding the civilian infrastructure, eliciting sympathy for Hezbollah even among some Lebanese Christians.

Related: Shatz interviewed Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah a few years ago for an article, and he shares his thoughts with NPR’s Melissa Block here.

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