The Mideastwire Blog

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

Concessions by great powers don’t have to add up to appeasement

My piece today in National Interest here and excerpted below. I am going to wait a bit and then add some ideas on the blog to flesh out the last two paragraphs since it needs more explanation (along the lines of here and here).

[ADDITION… oh no, I just noticed in the piece now online they chopped a key para towards the end! there should be this bit instead of the mangled line they gave!

“…In other words, reason and broad public support may still be indispensible, but with no options provided for escaping a broad collapse of the Levant leg of the resistance Axis in anything approaching a just manner (something that was available in March 2000, for example), Hezbollah will have little choice but to become a vital part and parcel of one last climactic conflict.]


In the opening weeks of the year 2000, Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Lebanon’s militant Shiite movement Hezbollah, granted a series of lengthy interviews to the Arab media that directly addressed the gravest threat hitherto seen to his party’s continuation as “The Resistance”: a looming peace agreement between Syria and Israel.

Acknowledging that such a deal would necessarily obligate Hezbollah as well as Lebanon (given the tens of thousands of Israeli and Syrian troops occupying different swaths of the country), Nasrallah answered the provocative question of what he would do when the Star of David flag was raised over the Israeli embassy in Beirut by saying that this would, in fact, represent a victory for the “rationale of resistance” which had forced an end to Israeli occupation. Still, he and his constituents would “refuse to normalize” the relationship in the coming years.

No trade, no Israeli tourists visiting South Lebanon, he suggested.

Backs turned.

Crucially though, no rockets and no car bombs.

The end of violent resistance.

The “Syria Track,” of course, collapsed spectacularly in March of 2000, largely as a result of a dispute over a few hundred meters of shoreline around Lake Tiberius which the Syrians and the Israelis refused to concede (although U.S. President Bill Clinton didn’t help matters by lying to the dying president of Syria, Hafez al-Assad, promising him that he had the shoreline in his pocket as a means to cajole Assad into coming to Geneva to sign a deal).

Eleven years on from this intensely regrettable episode, Hezbollah again faces a major existential challenge, but this time the ending, if there is to be one, looks decidedly more violent and open to all possibilities.

Indeed, much to its surprise and chagrin, the party is now besieged.



Written by nickbiddlenoe

July 8, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Posted in ANALYSIS

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