The Mideastwire Blog

Excerpts from the Arab Media & Analysis of US Policy in the Region

Qifa Nabki on STL – is Hariri helping to sweep the issue under the rug?

Qifa Nabki has analysis here on the STL and Nasrallah.

I agree with QN that this is probably the most important speech by HN in the last year – although if there is indeed war in the coming months then I would say HN’s articulation of how they view the coming conflict may have been more important….

But in any case, I would take issue with the key statement by QN:

“…There is no desire anywhere — except among certain politicians in the Kata’ib and Lebanese Forces — to use the STL as a battering ram against Syria or its allies in Lebanon.”

I would not view the recent developments on the STL as an attempt welcomed in order to sweep the issue under the rug by the Hariri-Saudi axis. They know FULL WELL that this course is unacceptable for Hizbullah and Nasrallah. And they know full well that Hizbullah views this apparent trajectory as extremely dangerous. So it simply cannot be viewed by them as a nice way to deal with the STL and move on with rapprochement etc. It is a weapon, a card and a chink in Hizbullah’s armor – all at once. (If you want to view the Hariri-Saudi stance benignly you could argue that they are just trying their best to reign in a Hizbullah which could very well “provoke” or even launch a devastating war with Israel…. so even in its OFFENSIVE nature, the track is welcomed as a conflict mitigator because of the rejiggering of the balance of power and SWOT matrix (Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats).

Furthermore, it is clear that the US, Israel and some other actors allied with both DO – for better or worse – very much see the STL as one of the few remaining, effective tools of containment left! One should remember that Hizbullah MOST fears internal strife, especially sunni-shiite…. and that its enemies know this very well (the only time Hizbullah attacks went down on Israeli and its proxy forces during the 1982-2000 period was when Hizbullah was fighting….AMAL. I also remember the discontent among some Hizbullah supporters and partisans who had to deploy to Hamra in May 2008 and quietly wondered, just wondering as an act of independent reasoning, what they were doing there, really, when they were devoting their entire lives to facing off with Israel) The STL is one of the only remaining levers for activating and accelerating this key strategy of fitna – whether “intentionally” pulled or not – so its current track will undoubtedly be welcome by the Settlement Axis in general (whether it should be is another issue) and especially the Israelis who need “deep state” and “epistemological” weapons more than ever.

Which is to say: This STL track – if it is true – is dangerous on many levels for the Party but the key level I would want to highlight is vis-a-vis delegitamization. Hizbullah is deeply invested in being seen as a rational, a reasonable actor par excellence – even among its enemies (even in the 1985 letter Hizbullah went to great lengths to “prove” that they were not bearded crazies fire bombing liquor stores and killing christians – a discourse that ONLY strengthened over time). Abiding within the realm of reason is viewed by the party as an absolutely essential leg – of two legs – for remaining as an effective resistance party in the long term (the key “goal”) – ironically the existential threat of delegitimization is also seen on the Israeli side!

The STL track now is – well could be – a powerful tool for de-legitamizing them in Europe (where they are indeed concerned about being listed and banned as terrorists which they are not currently), in the Sunni world, the Arab world in general, in media circles etc. The rebut that the STL is an Israeli tool, broken from just about the outset of the effort is not a really effective rebut for many in these circles, states, elites, popular levels etc.

So that means the Hariri-Saudi and US-Israeli axes are both NOT aligned with Hizbullah’s interests (the former of which was asserted by QN).

With a major conflict possibly approaching, it seems that Hizbullah’s opponents and enemies are ready to strengthen themselves wherever they can – which makes since in a certain way for both the short, medium and long terms – since over the past four years they have mostly only counted their collective losses.

It seems, then, that the cards are being called in, ducks are getting into rows and everyone is trying to see exactly where ones own SWOTs lie and where the SWOTs of their opponents lie – and push their advantage while there is still relative peace. My real hope is that the Israelis do not read to much weakness into Hizbullah’s domestic political position as a result, and, when they get Iron Domed in November, dont feel confident enough to step into the war that many in the Israeli body politic seem to not want, but crave – dido for Hizbullah.

Written by nickbiddlenoe

July 23, 2010 at 7:50 pm

Posted in ANALYSIS

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