The Mideastwire Blog

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

Schatz on Hizbullah

Adam Schatz has a good bit here:

“…To read Self-Criticism After the Defeat today is, in some ways, to be transported back to a vanished world of cafes in Beirut, Damascus, and Cairo, where Marxist intellectuals debated the finer points of revolutionary theory over strong cups of coffee, confident that the future belonged to them. It has not turned out that way. The prospects of socialist transformation in the Middle East—or of Israel’s neighbors becoming an Arab North Vietnam, providing weapons and shelter for Palestinian guerillas in the occupied territories—are even more distant now than they were in 1968. The only Arab army that has challenged Israel with any degree of effectiveness is the Lebanese Shi’a militant organization Hizballah. The soldiers in Hizballah are as skilled in the ways of flexible, nomadic warfare as the Vietnamese, but, with their implacable religious convictions and commitment to Iran’s Supreme Leader, they defy al-`Azm’s modernist belief that religion is a necessary obstacle to Arab success on the battlefield. (Al-`Azm, a secularist thinker who views religion primarily as a symptom of backwardness, could scarcely have imagined that the Arab world’s Giáp would be a Muslim cleric, Shaykh Hassan Nasrallah of Hizballah.) Nor has religion always impeded the creation of modern institutions. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is a party of engineers, doctors, and engineers, the most effective provider of social and medical services in poor neighborhoods—and, as the recent elections have demonstrated, the most efficient vote-getter. In the non-Arab state of Turkey, an Islamist government has presided over 7.5 percent growth rates and pursued an ambitious foreign policy that has made Prime Minister Erdoğan a folk hero in the Arab world. Al-`Azm’s prescience did not extend to the Islamist wave: he mentions Islamists only in order to mock them. Like most secular nationalists, he viewed Arab politics as a struggle between left-wing radicals and “reactionary” oil-producing regimes. Today, however, the reactionary monarchies remain in place, thanks to petrodollars and Western sponsorship, while secular nationalism of all stripes—from the Ba’athist right to the Marxist left—has been in terminal decline since the defeat…”

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Written by nickbiddlenoe

December 28, 2011 at 8:45 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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