The Mideastwire Blog

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

Jonathan Speyer claims Hizbullah popularity “significantly” hurt by Syria stance…but no evidence is given

Jonathan Speyer is a decent writer in the vein of advocate-analyst, but one always needs to remember that his political mission on mideast subjects necessarily clouds his analysis-often quite signifcantly. He is still interesting to read though in order to understand the winep-gloria line. Here he falls into a classic trap when discussing Hizbullah – he assumes things like their popularity has suffered because of the syria stance, but offer NO EVIDENCE FOR HIS CLAIM…. He just assumes. Moreover, ZERO reference is made to any arabic sources save for one conversations with a syrian activist! Not even sources in translation!

He has it in his head that his conclusion makes sense, logically, because it does to him and his political position which has it that hizbullah is essentially a totalitarian evil organization ONLY.

But he is not listening to the natives themselves, much less interacting with his research subject, so the conclusions are not useful analytically but only as a means to underline the polemical position which is pretty fashionable.

Speyer may be right of course – though I think he far overstates the central claim of his “paper” – but the point is that when people make these arguments THEY ARE NOT REFERRING TO ANYTHING MORE THAN narrow anecdotes… or in the case of speyer – NOTHING AT ALL!

He says:

“In so doing, Hizballah has paid a significant price in terms of its popularity and legitimacy across the region.


“It concludes by asking what implications the events of 2011 and the broader changes under way in the Middle East are likely to have on Hizballah’s future. It is argued that among its many other effects, the Arab Spring has served to tease out the contradictions apparent in the various components of Hizballah’s identity. In particular, the uprising in Syria has made apparent the central contradiction between Hizballah’s claim to represent and support the will of the peoples of the Arab world against tyranny and oppression. It has also made clear the movement’s status as a component of a regional strategic alliance centered on the Islamic Republic of Iran and including Asad’s Syria.”

Keep in mind the recent polling that shows hardly any arabs view Iran as a threat, but most view Israel as the major threat! Just that one reference to one poll should give pause to journos and others who throw the sorts of facile claims by Speyer around.

Jonathan – for who exactly is it now CLEAR that hizbullah is XY or Z?


Written by nickbiddlenoe

April 15, 2012 at 10:42 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

%d bloggers like this: