[Prev] [Contents] [Next]
5.1 Hizballah: Islam as a Resistance and Solution

Crucial however is that Lebanon experienced a new group of actors. Juxtaposed to Syria's fear of losing its grip over Amal during the Israeli invasion of 1982, resentement rapidly had started to arise within Amal and the Shia community. Thus, when Nabih Berri joined "The National Salvation Committe" - sitting side by side with Bashir Gemayel - one member of Amal's Command Council, Husain Musawi, strongly condemned the movement for collaboration with "the enemy" and resigned.[106] He had no reason to feel alone; many Lebanese Shiites were ready to join his lead. The moderate policy of Amal and Nabih Berri's accomodating posture against the Beirut regime evoked disgust among large Shiite sentiments who were longing for more radical changes, many of whom were strongly inspired by the Islamic revolution in Iran. Equally important, there were external supporters. Firstly, as mentioned, Syria could see the benefits in backing up those new sentiments as they turned against the Western powers when Amal did not. Secondly, there was Iran. In order to counteract the Western aspiration for influence on the Lebanese scene, Syria let Teheran deploy 1000 Revolutionary Guards in the Bekaa Valley, in east Lebanon, which started to provide financial and moral support alongside military training for those Shiite elements that distanced themselves from Amal.[107]

Hence, internal and external interests converged. In the Bekaa Valley, with the help of the Revolutionary Guards, Husein Musawi formed his splinter group, Islamic Amal, calling for a relentless and unequalled resistance against the Israeli invasion forces alongside the establishment of an Islamic regime in Lebanon, Iranian-style.[108] More such formations were to follow. The bombings against the MNF headquarters, for example, were connnected to another group called Islamic Jihad, which after the attacks declared that they were "neither Iranians nor Syrians nor Palestinians" but "Lebanese Muslims" who followed "the principles of the Koran", and that the attacks were carried out in order to show that the "fortresses of reactionary imperialism" did not frighten them.[109]

This equation: the split within Amal, the reaction against its accomodating posture from radical elements among the Lebanese Shia, the Syrian need for allies in an environment that turned pro-West, and the willingness of Iran to offer its help and support, constitute the ground for the genesis of Hizballah.

True, a radical wing of the Shia community had existed in Lebanon alongside Sayyed Musa and his - in comparison, moderate - Amal movement ever since its mobilization. In Najaf, Iraq, during the sixties, a special religious school of Shi'ism - containing a multi-national core of students - had developed new thoughts of activism. However, as the Ba'th party overtook the Iraqi regime in 1968, the Shi'ite clerics within those academies became targets for "extensive operations of suppression" due to the Iraqi Ba'th party's fear of the "subversive propensities" of the Shi'ites.[110] As a result, the Lebanese branch of this clerical wing in Najaf was deported to Lebanon, where they became "spurned" by the Shi'ite clerical establishment.[111] On their own, they formed an independent institutional system in order to spread the doctrines of Shi'ite activism they had learnt in Najaf.

An outcome was the formation of the Lebanese Islamic Da'wa Party, working in parallel to the Amal movement. The Da'wa Party acknowledged Shaykh Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah as its spiritual leader. He was a mujtahid (authority in religious law) and graduate from Najaf, who, since 1966, had run charitable associations, clinics, orphanages, and schools with Shiite outlook. Furthermore, as a spiritual guide for those religious circles, standing outside the framework of Sayyed Musa's mass movement, Shaykh Fadlallah rejected to be a part of the Lebanese political system, within which Sayyed Musa, on the contrary, so ambitiously tried to operate.

Maybe that was the main difference between the two: as the followers of Sayyed Musa's Amal reckoned the Lebanese state as justified (if only in need of reforms), Shaykh Fadlallah and the Da'wa party during the seventies despised the national borders of Lebanon, refusing to "accept the Christian's rule over the Muslims in Lebanon as an unassailable fact" or taking any part in the formal political structures of the country.[112] In the early round of the Shia mobilization though, the mass following of Amal implied that the Da'wa party and Shaykh Fadlallah more or less ended up in the shadows.

Anyhow, the Iranian revolution, Amal's appointment of a secular leadership, the Israeli invasion of 1982, and the entering of Iran's Revolutionary Guards into the Bekaa Valley, brought Shaykh Fadlallah and the radical wing of the Shia into the forefront on the turbulent scene of Lebanese reality. For the Da'wa party, the challenges from Israel and the Western powers were too great, too dangerous, and in urgent need to be resisted on a broader front. As'ad AbuKhalil points out that the party's "form of political organization, with its underground structure and and emphasis on secrecy, became too isolated from the masses in the eyes of the pro-Khumayni ulama [clergy]".[113]

Therefore, in the Bekaa Valley, together with Husain Musawi's Islamic Amal movement, a group of radical clerics, some with their roots in Najaf and the Da'wa party, some who had broken with Amal, formed a coalition of political and military cells which they named Hizballah, the Party of God.[114] "This new group or new framework", Hizballah's present secretary-general Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah asserts, "had the conditions for its formation before the Israeli invasion. But the invasion accelerated its existence, and Hizballah was born as a resistance force in the reaction to the occupation." He denies that the formation of Hizballah was an initiative or an order by Iran, declaring:

Hizballah was formed by a Lebanese decision, contrary to the accusations associated with Hizballah that it was Iranian - it was a Lebanese decision; founded by a group of Lebanese with a Lebanese leadership, and the Lebanese grassroots and freedom fighters are Lebanese...Hizballah was at its inception - its thoughts, mind, conscience, feelings and plan - centered on resisting the occupation, nothing else. Any one who tells you there were other [aims], do not believe him. And I have been in this movement since its inception.[115]

However, among the Shia, the reaction of Hizballah was well received. Soon, Shimon Shapira notes, "this small group had become a mass movement"; from all around the Shiite communities of Lebanon young men chose to take up arms under Hizballah's banner of Islamic resistance.[116]

5.2 The ideological platform: The "Open Letter" to the world

The rise of Hizballah in the heydays of the resistance against the MNF and the Israeli forces shows that the Shia community was far from political homogenous. As we have seen, certain Shiite sentiments demanded more radical stances and actions than those of Amal, and Hizballah emerged as a movement and channel through which those demands and actions could be conducted. Nevertheless, in a closer study of Hizballah at its infancy, several question marks appear: What was the ideology of the movement? What goals did it strive for? And why? And what means did Hizballah justify in order to reach those goals? Down below, I shall have those questions as targets, and by answering them I shall also try to detect and analyse how the Hizballah ideologists looked upon the context surrounding them during the eighties. This is necessary, because as I see it, in order to understand the logical reasoning behind the demands of a certain group, one also has to understand how they perceive the specific context surrounding them.

However, as the secretary-general Shaykh Hassan Nasrallah remarked earlier, Hizballah was from the start a reaction to the Israeli invasion of 1982. And according to him, the movement had no other agenda in the early start.

There was no plan. There was no plan other than to resist the occupation....Remember, the south was all occupied, as was Beirut, and part of the Mountain and the Central and west Bekaa. The rest of Lebanon was threatened as no one knew when the invasion would stop. We were thinking at first: Let us restore the homeland and then we will think of the political system. That was the thrust and focus of attention of Hizballah.[117]

Anyway, as time went by and Hizballah firmly established itself as a mass movement in Lebanon, its leadership released an ideological declaration on 16th February 1985 called "The Open Letter Addressed by Hizb Allah to the Downtrodden in Lebanon and in the World".[118] This text clearly reveals the perceptions and aims governing the cause of the movement in the mid-eighties. Indeed, as Shaykh Hassan Nasrallah emphasizes Hizballah's early role as a resistance force, the "Open Letter" articulates continuing discourse of the movement in the same track. But why resistance? And against what? Well, in the view of Hizballah, an international plot is facing Lebanon, directed by USA and carried out by Israel and its Lebanese allies, the [Christian] Phalange party. As a proof, Hizballah point to the Israeli invasion and the Phalange's cooperation with the invading forces "so as to complete Israel's plan and to give it what it wishes in return for leading them to power". The National Salvation Committee - joined by Amal leader Nabih Berri - is described as an "American-Israeli bridge over which the Phalange crossed to oppress the downtrodden". And Amin Gemayel's campaign against the Muslim community with the help of the MNF alongside his will "to conclude the ill-fated May 17 accord that turned Lebanon into an Israeli protectorate and an American colony", serve further to show how this plot was modelled.[119]

In addition, the wrong of this order, Hizballah declare, can not be fought by other means than violence, because the international community of "world arrogance" simply does not recognize or care about those glaring pieces of injustice and suffering of the weak ones.

We appealed to the world's conscience but heard nothing from it...We were horrified and then realized that this world conscience stirs only at the request of the strong and in response to the interests of arrogance...We could not endure more than we have endured. Our tragedy is more than ten years old and all we have seen so far are the covetous, hypocritical, and incapable.[120]

On their own therefore, Hizballah state that they see "no other alternative than confrontation".[121] Furthermore, the movement's total rejection of Israel's right to exist as a state and its despising of the Lebanese regime appear strikingly clear. Those two subjects only serve the plan of America's colonialist schemes, forming tentacles through which the US can gain influence in the region.

As for Israel, we consider it the American spearhead in the Islamic world. It is an usurping enemy that must be fought until the usurped right is returned to its owners. This enemy poses a great danger to our future generations and to the destiny of our nation, especially since it embraces a settlement- oriented and expansionist idea that it has already begun to apply in occupied Palestine and it is extending and expanding...Therefore, our confrontation of this entity must end with its obliteration from existence...[122]

So strong is Hizballah's resentment against Israel that the movement even condemns any party who wants to mediate between it and the Jewish state, because "mediation will only serve to acknowledge the legitimacy of the Zionist occupation of Palestine".[123]

With respect to the Lebanese regime, Hizballah regard it as a "fundamentally oppressive structure that no reform or patchwork improvement would do any good" and urges that it "must be changed from the roots". Accordingly, any participation in this system - either in opposition or in cabinet - is out of the question, and no change in qoutas and proportionality "within the framework of the rotten sectarian system" can change that standpoint. Instead, Hizballah demands that the Lebanese shall be given the opportunity "to choose with full freedom the system of government they want", without any interference of foreign powers or stipulated political hegemony of the Christians. In this discourse the movement does not hide its commitment to Islam and the establishment of an Islamic regime, but stresses that it carries no aspiration "to impose it by force".

[We] do not wish to impose Islam on anybody and we hate to see others impose on us their convictions and their systems. We do not want Islam to rule in Lebanon by force, as the political Maronism is ruling at the present...But we stress that we are convinced to Islam as a faith, system, thought, and rule and we urge all to recognize and to resort to its law...We declare that we aspire to see Lebanon as an indivisible part of the political map opposed to America, world arrogance, and world Zionism and to see Lebanon ruled by Islam and its just leadership.[124]

In the shadows of the Cold War of the mid-eighties, Hizballah offer an alternative to western capitalism and eastern socialism, a stand of "no-East and no-West, only Islam".[125] Those two ideologies have failed in creating the "just and serene society", Hizballah note, as well as they having been unable "to establish a balance between the individual and society or between human nature and public interest".[126] Driven forward by material content "behind the mask of disagreement over principles", the two superpowers are only struggling to extend their influences and interests over the world.

Consequently, the oppressed countries have become the struggle's bone of contention and the oppressed people have become its fuel...Therefore, we stand against any western or eastern imperialist intervention in the affairs of the oppressed and of their countries and we confront every ambition and intervention in our affairs.[127]

Hence, in Hizballah's perception, I can detect two main pillars. First, the injustice and exploitation done by the powers of the West and the East against the third world countries, "the oppressed", who enjoy the natural right to resist those unjust and imperialistic ambitions in order to break loose and determine their own destinies. Second, as a solution when deciding their own fate, and as an alternative to the failures of capitalism and socialism, Hizballah appeals to the righteousness and just order of Islam.

In respect to the first pillar, Hizballah could easily - as shown - point to the Lebanese experience of foreign interventions and interferences in order to give substance to their paradigm and view. And indeed also for their own reason of taking to arms.[128] However, regarding the Islamic appeal, it is crucial to approach the movement's ideological connection and attachment to the Islamic republic of Iran and its leader, Ayatollah Khomeini. In the "Open Letter", Hizballah clearly announce their committment to the Iranian revolution and its leadership:

We, the sons of Hizb Allah's nation, whose vanguard God has given victory in Iran and which has established the nucleus of the world's Islamic state, abide by the orders of a single wise and just command currently embodied in the supreme Ayatollah Ruollah al-Musawi al-Khomeini, the rightly guided imam who combines all the qualities of the total imam, who has detonated the Muslim's revolution, and who is bringing about the glorious Islamic renaissance."[129]

Thus, as the movement acknowledges itself as a part of a larger upheaval in the region, spearheaded by Ayatollah Khomeini and his regime in Teheran, I regard it as important to take a closer look at the ideological discourse of the Iranian revolution which must be relevant for Hizballah in Lebanon.

5.3 The rule and regional activism of Ayatollah Khomeini

Signifying Ayatollah Khomeini's view is the regional approach of his activist discourse and his concept of Islamic rule. To him, there is a threat and a call. The threat stems from the two superpowers of "world arrogance" who are trying to subdue the third world countries within the Muslim world in order to secure their own materialistic interests. Crucial indeed, this threat is not only materialistic; equally important is that the interference of the west and the east threatens the entire cause of Islam: "the original objective of the imperialist countries is to destroy the Holy Koran and to obliterate it, and to destroy Islam and the Muslim ulama (religious leaders)...and their plan is to keep [Islamic countries] backward, and in the name of encouraging education...they have suppressed religious schools".[130] Thus, the threat is both physical and religious, and Khomeini addresses the world's umma (Muslim community) within all Muslim countries exposed to imperialism to rise and resist. So if Sayyed Musa used the paradigm of Kerbala to activate the Shia Muslims of Lebanon, Ayatollah Khomeini uses the same paradigm to activate the Muslims all over the world, something he calls the Husaini Rostrum ("which immortalises the martyrdome of al-Husain as a symbol for the struggle against all tyrants in Islamic history").[131] The fight for justice is one between oppressed peoples and their tyrannical regimes, and the Iranian revolution shall serve as an example of how a people can topple any oppressive structure that serves the schemes of the superpowers: "There has always been a deprived class, fighting the Satan. Pray to God, today the might of the Iranians and the strength of Islam are such that they have become the focus of attention of all oppressed nations".[132]

Moreover, loyality to Islam is not merely a religious obligation, it also constitutes the best shield against the threat of imperialism; "the implementation of God's Sharia (law) on Earth is necessary" in order to "guarantee and to safeguard Islam and Muslims".[133] The solution accordingly, is to break loose from capitalism and socialism, to choose an Islamic alternative, and thus protect the umma from any future foreign infiltration attempts. Hence, one of the most crucial tenets of Ayatollah Khomeini's ideology is the Rule of the Jurist (Wilayat al-Faqih) which implies that the ulama, the clerical elite, through the guardianship of Shiite jurisprudence rules the state in the awaiting of the Twelfth Imam's return to earth.[134] This tenet can be regarded as the ultimate characteristic of Shi'ite activism as it - besides rejecting the traditional Shia school of taqiyya and submission to the ruling regime (as I presented in earlier chapter) - also offers a purely Shiite model of governance. This is the call, a divine call, and as such, the establishment of an Islamic state is not only a means of protection; it carries as well an intrinsic value - to implement God's will among the human beings.

Nevertheless, Ayatollah Khomeini's concept of a regime ruled by a clerical leadership elucidates, in my point of view, the universalism and elitism of his activist posture. In the absence of the Twelfth Imam - the true intermediator between Man and God - Khomeini urges that the ulama has the capability - and the obligation - to direct the people, to translate the words and implement the guidelines, given by God. In addition, this notion justifies the export of the Iranian revolution: on the one hand because it was needed if to fight imperialism and, on the other because Iran's leading ulama is bringing forward the "divine truth", which, for obvious reasons does not reckon any national borders.[135]

Those two aspects also explain why Ayatollah Khomeini stretched out his hands to Hizballah in Lebanon.

5.4 The Islamic posture of Hizballah

The connection between Ayatollah Khomeini and the Lebanese clerical leadership of Hizballah is not that far-fetched. Beside their joint confessional belonging to Shi'ism, they also shared the same views of its activist branch since years back. During his exile from the Shah regime in Iran, Khomeini, as an ayatollah (a leading mujtahid, authority in religious law), had teached in Najaf, Iraq, where many of the Lebanese clerics - as I earlier mentioned - had received their religious graduates. Accordingly, long before the Islamic revolution took place in Iran in 1979, the ideas of Khomeini were already wide spread within certain streams of the Lebanese Shiite clerical élites.[136] Doubtless, as expressed in the "Open Letter", Hizballah's commitment to the Iranian revolution constitutes the most vital part of the movement's ideological spine. The similarity between the two main pillars of Hizballah, as I mentioned, and the threat and the call of Ayatollah Khomeini is neither difficult to expose. The followers of Hizballah faced the threat on their own "backyard", embodied in the Israeli occupation forces and the MNF, supporting the Amin Gemayel regime. The call is the declared loyality to Ayatollah Khomeini and Islam.

Anyway, due to the conviction of being messengers of the divine truth, Hizballah work in a universal discourse, not confined by any national borders, and consequently, Iran can not be regarded as a foreign power. Shaykh Hassan Nasrallah explains the topic: "They say to us, 'You are working in the interests of Iran'...We say, 'Yes, we are working in the interests of an Iran that has no interests but Islam and the Muslims in the world'".[137] Another Hizballah founder, Ibrahim al-Amin, expressed: "The Iranian regime does not rule through Islam. Islam rules through the regime in Iran, and it will eventually rule the entire earth".[138]

As I see it, this is most crucial to note when studying the ideology of Hizballah: Iran is the core from which the Islamic revolution erupted, it is guided by Ayatollah Khomeini and the movement is accomplishing its enjoined share of it in Lebanon. In other words, as Ayatollah Khomeini has lifted the struggle of the Islamic cause to a regional - indeed, even global - level, Hizballah are a part of it on a national level.

Thus, the Iranian leader's view of the superpowers as the utmost threat against the potential of a vast Islamic uprise leads Hizballah to turn their main focus on the state of Israel, "the American spearhead in the Islamic world". Without doubt, Israel's destruction was top priority on the agenda of Hizballah during the mid-eighties.[139] The battle and liberation of Jerusalem embrace the divine call for Islam and its obligations - in fact, for Hizballah, it is tantamount to the Islamic cause.[140] Therefore, the Islamic universalism even imbibes the whole character of the efficient armed resistance against the Jewish state. Well aware although of the powers they are facing, Hizballah urge all Muslims to join their efforts in order to wipe out Israel once and for all:

This Islamic resistance must continue, grow, and escalate, with God's help, and must receive from all Muslims in all parts of the world utter support, aid, backing, and participation so that we may be able to uproot this cancerous germ and obliterate it from existence...While underlining the Islamic character of the resistance, we do so out of compatibility with its reality, which is clearly Islamic in motive, objective, course, and depth of confrontation.[141]

Like Ayatollah Khomeini - in his vision of the potential Islamic uprise - Hizballah distinguish between the peoples and their regimes and put great faith in the Muslim communities of the region alongside their severest condemnations of the "defeatist Arab regimes".[142] The movement anticipates more rebellion; similar to what has occured in Iran and to what they are wishing to accomplish in Lebanon themselves. "The day will come", they declare, "when all these brittle regimes will collapse under the blows of the oppressed".[143]

As a matter of fact, prominents of the movement have stated that a broad uprise on many fronts is a necessity if ever to establish an Islamic regime in Lebanon. The country itself is too small, too heterogenous, and jammed between too powerful actors for alone being able to constitute a model of any purely Islamic enterprise. "We do not believe that it would be natural for an Islamic state to arise in Lebanon outside the plan," spokesman Ibrahim al-Amin has said. "We wish Lebanon to be a part of the plan".[144] The plan, of course, is the Islamic vision of Ayatollah Khomeini.

However, in Lebanon, the Islamic discourse of universalism and elitism also comprises the structure of Hizballah as an organisation. Actually, from my point of view, when studying its formation and main characteristics, the movement's organizational form carries the same attributes as Iran's governing administration. On the one hand, Hizballah, like the Iranian Islamic republic, acknowledge themselves as having no limits: their message is divine, from God, it concerns all Muslims. "This is the aspiration of a nation", the movement declares, "not of a party, and the choice of a people, not of a gang".[145] Former secretary-general Abbas al-Musawi likewise explains: "we are not a party in the traditional sense of the term. Every Muslim is automatically a member of Hizballah, thus it is impossible to list our membership".[146]

On the other hand, the strict hierarchial order of Hizballah's ranks and leadership carries the same characteristics as Khomeini's concept of the Rule of the Jurist which is governing the Islamic republic. The ulama, the "Open Letter" declares, is the "best qualified to perform [their] duty of leading the nation toward Islam", and the Shura Council - Hizballah's top organ - is consequently composed of a tightly knit group of clerics.[147] As I see it, this signifies two things. Firstly, it confirms the religious discourse of Hizballah, as the two subjects of religion and politics are merged. Secondly, it reveals the movement's elitist thought of mind: the ulama can solely bring about what Hizballah ideologists call "the consciousness of unification" (i. e. the universal guidelines that unite all Muslims, and which they indeed ought to follow).[148] However, although this corresponds with the Shiite tenet of a believer's strict obedience to a marja (religious authority), there is a snag. As Martin Kramer notes: "Unlike Iran, [Hizballah] cannot draft young Shi'ites into its armed ranks and send them into battle against their will. Ultimately [they] must be pervasive to succeed."[149] That is, there are several marjas in society, and they are not necessarily always of accord. The ordinary believer on the street moreover, has the possibility to choose the marja he figures suits him best.[150] Accordingly, as Hizballah do not rule Lebanon, and as their supporters for the most part consist of masses outside the strict organizational structure, the movement has to be very convincing and "pervasive" when giving directives to the communities - if to expect that anyone will follow it. Therefore, it is crucial for Hizballah to expand the number of clerics and agitators in society in order to create an "Islamic atmosphere", and their mosques, schools and various Islamic associations therefore play an essential role when distributing the messages and guidelines.

Frankly, though, in purely practical matters, regarding decision-making: how strong is Iran's influence on Hizballah in Lebanon?

Well, the full extent of this relation, I believe, is obscure and is most likely- for an outsider - impossible to trace. In Beirut, Hizballah's Politburo member Hajj Youssef Merhi said that Iran still is the leader of the movement and Iran's spiritual guide, Ayatollah Khameini, is regarded as their marja. Hizballah spokesman Dr. Abdallah Mortada, in contrast, emphasized that the movement makes "totally independent decisions from the Iranian regime"( adding "and this is no consumption speech").[151] Anyhow, maybe it is all a question of semantics, maybe the truth is to be found somewhere in between: as Iran serves the general guidelines of action, Hizballah - best familiar with the situation of their own country - enjoys the freedom to execute those directives the way they figure most suitable.[152]

5.5 Hizballah contra Amal: an analyse of discourse

So far I have presented the perceptions of Hizballah, their political ideology, and their close links to the Islamic vision of Ayatollah Khomeini. I have also described the linkage of Hizballah to the early Shiite uprise of Sayyed Musa and Amal: how circumstances on both a national and regional level spurned those more radical sentiments within the Shia to take action against the Israeli invasion in 1982 and against the presence of Western forces in Lebanon. How come then, that Hizballah succeeded in gaining a mass following ?

Obviously, there was fertile ground for recruitment. Many Shiites, who had fought side by side with the PLO before its expulsion from Lebanon, were afterwards despised by Amal for collaboration, whereas in the ranks of Hizballah, those militia men were more than welcome.[153] Moreover, in Beirut and the south during the mid-eighties, there were still tens of thousands of Shiites living in socio-economic misery for whom Amal - with all its unfulfilled promises - was seen as belonging to the same ill-functioning traditional establishment and structures that had neglected the Shia community for so long. More and more frequently, Richard Norton remarks, Amal had to face accusations of "incompetent leadership, corruption, and more than a modicum of arrogance".[154] Naturally, this increasing discontent with Amal benefited Hizballah. As no political reforms were implemented, as insecurity prevailed, and as the economy of the war-torned country went down the drain, more and more Shiites began to regard the experiences of Iran and Hizballah's call for an all-encompassing Islamic regime as justified solutions to all ills.[155] The Shiites supporting Amal may have been accomodating towards the Lebanese regime, but the regime failed to respond sufficiently, if at all, and as a result, a rejectionist mood arose which converged with the radical slogans of Hizballah's Islamism.

Hence, one can regard Hizballah as bringing a new discourse to the Lebanese arena of civil strife. In my view, this discourse has two geographical faces: one regional and one national. On the regional level, Hizballah can be regarded as the prolonged arm of Ayatollah Khomeini's Islamic revolution, fighting the perceived injustices committed against the Muslim community as a whole. Their posture is Islamic, but the content both religious and socio-economic - to defend Islam as well as the wealth and sovereignity of the own soil. On the other hand, on a national level, Hizballah are combating the Israeli occupation of their specific country, Lebanon. This struggle they has in common with Amal. But, therein some fundamental differences lie: as Amal during the civil war was willing to adapt to the Lebanese political system, Hizballah were not. As Amal's posture is purely nationalistic and its aim secular with no call for an Islamic state, Hizballah keep to a commitment to Islam. Indeed, as Amal rejects any involvement in "liberating Jerusalem", Hizballah regard this as an obligation.[156]

Anyhow, even means differed between the two movements. Due to their determination of fighting their enemies, their hard military resistance as guerillas against the Israeli occupation, the suicide attacks, and the charges of a comprehensive hostage-taking of western citizens, Hizballah - from their birth in 1982 until the end of the civil war in 1990 - gained a horrifying reputation among their adversaries and the vast opinion in the West. Moreover, it also engaged the movement in an open conflict with Amal. Down below therefore, I shall try to penetrate this issue and try to answer how Hizballah themself looked upon these methods of violence, how they could be justified. These are interesting topics from my point of view, because when studying the reasoning of the movement, one also can detect how it perceived its enemies and its surroundings.

5.6 Years of war and means of violence

"It is very regrettable", Dr. Abdallah Mortada said, "that Hizballah have only been known in times of war".[157] Thereby he meant that the violent profile of the movement has been forced upon it. Hizballah was born in a violent period as a resistance against an occupier but the violence itself carries no intrinsic value for its ideology; there is no genuine evil behind it ("we are no monsters", Hajj Youssef Merhi put it[158]). Anyway, Hizballah became notorious all around the world through the spectacular suicide bombings - most notably against the American embassy and the MNF headquarters in Beirut in 1983 - alongside the hostage taking of western citizens throughout the eighties. Although the movement over time has denied any involvement in those of actions, it has however declared them as being justified means in order to reach a goal. With respect to the attack against the US Marines headquarters in Beirut, secretary-general Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah commented:

It was not [Hizballah] that committed this. Islamic Jihad did that and declared its resposibility to the operation. I do not exonerate myself from it. Au contraire; they were doing the right thing...because the Marines in Lebanon did not - and let the American people know - come to Lebanon to make peace but to protect the Israeli occupation and to impose by force a certain political system...The Marines on Lebanese soil were in fact occupation forces. Islamic Jihad pre-empted all and struck at that military presence. And God bless them frankly.[159]

Thus, Hizballah's support for the political signification of those actions appears very clear, nor is it hard to understand considering the movement's ideological standpoints and declared aims.[160] Problems though arose as rumours spread that the administrators behind the actions were exploiting the weak minds of certain mentally disturbed individuals, persuading them to blow themselves up.[161] Western opinion in particular could hardly understand the rational behind an individual's decision to commit a suicide-attack. Moreover, a dilemma of religious character also appeared as Islam strongly prohibits a person from deliberately killing himself. Therefore, when Hizballah spokesmen justified this sort of actions, they did so by placing them in their context. Thereby they could expose their view of the injustices and imbalances prevailing in this context. They were also given the opportunity to express the determination and the fighting spirit of their followers in the face of their adversaires and the world public opinion.

Hizballah admit their weak position against their top enemies, US and Israel, as far as conventional warfare is concerned. Thus, the imbalances in power compel the weak to become strong through unconventional weapons and methods: "If an oppressed people does not have the means to confront the United States and Israel with the weapons by which they are superior, then they posses unfamiliar weapons", Hussein Musawi stated.[162] On an individual level, Ayatollah Khomeini himself viewed the suicide actions as inevitable consequences of a specific milieu in which people become desperate, with nothing to lose: "No matter how much you may prevent this state of affairs, the people have become fed up...And thus they are committing suicide. When a person is not fed up, he will not commit suicide to drive you out from his soil".[163] In a similar fashion and in order to answer the world's unsympathetic attitude (especially that of the Americans) towards the suicide actions, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah explained:

The Americans are concerned about sports. They are not concerned with politics or what their administration is doing. Perhaps that is why Americans do not understand us...The problem of the oppressors is that they see a phenomen but they do not try to look for its causes. Their problem is that they see the tragedy in the reaction to their action but they do not see the tragedies created by their

action....The problem of a person who does not experience hunger is that he cannot understand hunger. That is why he cannot understand the screams of a hungry man.[164]

Another Hizballah notable, the former secretary-general Abbas Musawi (himself later assassinated by the Israelis in 1992), described the matter of suicide attacks from a religious angle, emphasizing the determinism of a fighter's commitment to Islam and his special relation to God, which, he stated, is based upon a "oneness", a "melting", and the perishable world we now experience is the only barrier keeping them apart. Therefore, dying in combat against oppressors and injust orders does not scare a Muslim believer - rather, it is a liberation, a path to peace for the soul and to a life in close harmony with God.

In the other world, man will live before God for eternity. Happiness and eternal life is over there. Self- satisfaction and peace of mind occures in the other world. When he reaches this stage of awareness, a Muslim will break all barriers to become eternal - and the road to break this barrier is martyrdome. So when a Muslim goes to war he hopes for and seeks martyrdome. If he achieves it, he wins much in this world - but much more in the next world.[165]

With respect to this sort of actions therefore, I can trace different factors of Hizballah's discourse concerning the justification of those actions. Firstly, they point at orders of injustice, the blatant violation and quest for domination by the US and Israel; schemes of warfare and occupation which make the people desperate as nobody neither care about nor understand their suffering. Secondly, due to their own military inferiority in the conventional field, Hizballah opt for unconventional methods in order to create realistic opportunities for gaining victories. However, the question of killing oneself in a suicide attack could appear as an intricate religious matter to a Muslim in belief because of the Islamic prohibition against suicide. Hence, in my view, the topic transforms into a differing view of actions and semantics. Sheikh Fadlallah states that there is no difference between carrying out a mission with a gun in your hand, knowing that you are going to die, and exploding yourself, turning your own body into a living bomb.[166] If conditions demands it, conditions will justify it. It is no use to "face a rocket with a stick", he writes, "or a warship with a sailboat...One must face force with equal or superior force. If it is legitimate to defend self and land and destiny, then all means of self-defense are legitimate".[167] Thus, seeking martyrdome in combat - even as a living bomb - when fighting oppression is regarded as a necessary means, not a damned action. Furthermore, in respect to various operations by Hizballah and Palestinian Hamas, where the individual has exploded himself in order to cause casualties among his adversaries, Hizballah's Foreign Relations Department stated:

The martyrdome operations executed by free men of the Islamic resistance and the Islamic Jihad in Palestine and Lebanon are nothing but a choice that suits the Umma's [Muslim community] capabilities and aspirations; they are not at any rate suicidal actions. The suicidal action is what is being done by the humiliated regimes in adopting the course of surrender and submission in front of the enemy.[168]

Apparently, the movement uses "suicide" in another way than those who label these bomb-attacks as suicide operations, and consequently, the paradox of any Islamic doctrine forbidding them is therefore circumvented. Thirdly, contrary from being target of any religious prohibition, or exploitation of mental weakness, the seeking of martyrdome is rather an attribute of determination, pure belief and awareness. Those fighters who thus succeed in "breaking the barrier" that divides the divine from the wordly are reaching the grandiose goal of entering paradise. Ultimately, they become well praised and deeply honoured by their own community and shall not be regarded as mere lunatics.

This signifies the holistic vision of Hizballah, as I see it. That is, the benefit of the community and the cause transcends the integrity of the individual - he is a part of the whole: both the umma on earth and the world of the divine. His fate is that of his community and his wordly life can be utilized if conditions demand it, both to benefit the community and himself. In fact, between those two, himself and his community, there is no distinction.

Without doubt, Hizballah regard those convictions as a strength in their struggle: they may be militarily inferior to their enemies, but they are far superior concerning determination and moral. Hizballah deputy secretary-general Na'im Kassem has explained:

When we have many casualties, and this can be painful, we continue to praise the victim who sacrificed his life for the nation, and we are proud of him...This is also the environment of the victim's family and friends, an athmosphere of determination and not of weakness. But when an Israeli soldier is killed, senior officials begin crying over his death. They explain that appropriate measures were not taken, and apologize to his family. This causes frustration and confusion in Israel. Their point of departure is preservation of life, while our point of departure is preservation of principle and sacrifice. What is the value of a life in humiliation?[169]

Anyway, like the issue of suicide operations Hizballah deny but justify the cases of abduction of Western citizens - mainly journalists - in Lebanon during the eighties.[170] Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah declares that Hizballah "did not adopt the policy of the hostages" but argues that the organizations doing so only conducted a policy in order to safeguard their own kidnapped members "from the noose" (that is, a great number of the resistance, for example, were abducted by the Israeli forces).[171].

However, considering this issue a moral problem arose: how could Hizballah justify the hostage-taking as many of those taken hostage were innocent? This is true, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah admits, but he refers to the fact that a great many also were working for the CIA. On the other hand, he remarks, "in this world there is no justice" and points to the double-standards in the West that only care when Westerners are being kidnapped. To him it is "unfortunate" that nobody recognizes that Israel is occupying a part of Lebanon and that even the Israelis are holding Lebanese hostages. "Is it because they are Lebanese" he asks, "no one would talk about them? You feel that you are living in a barbaric world, an unjust world."[172]

Furthermore, even here the above mentioned issue of "ends justifying the means under tormenting conditions" becomes applicable. Sheikh Fadlallah refers to what he regards as "extenuating circumstances" during the civil war. He also explains that when "the welfare of mankind is served by a negative value, it is transformed into a positive value" (which I regard as being in correspondence with the holistic conviction of Hizballah).[173] He maintains moreover that this is nothing strange or extreme: in war, he says, innocents have always become victims. This is a recognized principle world wide over, and the West has no reason whatsoever to condemn it. If so, how does, for example, the American administration justify its atomic bomb on Hiroshima or the Israeli fighter jets that are pounding civilians in Lebanon? How does it justify sanctions against the Lebanese? Are all Lebanese kidnappers?[174] "[Killing] the innocent as a special humanitarian question", Sheikh Fadlallah concludes, "becomes non-existent for the sake of general interest", adding: "[we] do not want to bestow legitimacy on the matter at all, but the pragmatic policy of the U.S. justifies this". Therefore, in order to challenge those unscrupulous powers "who only understand the logic of force", extra-ordinary means have to be used.[175]

Thus, as Hizballah consider themselves to be stranded by the international community, acting in self-defense against unscrupulous aggressors, and with the use of violence as the only way out, the violent actions they resort to are those which strike at the weak spots of their powerful adversaries. The efficiency of a suicide bomber is one means, the stranglehold of the Western powers through hostage-taking is another. However, as any action must be valued in each respective context, those sort of actions are clearly justified in the view of the movement as long as they bring home gains. They are the victims, nobody can blame them; they have not chosen these state of affairs - these are only the rules of a game that has been imposed upon them. In confronting it, Hizballah are playing along because there is no value in the alternative, "a life in humiliation".

5.7 Conflict with Amal and prelude to change

The years of warfare during the eighties transformed Lebanon into a patchwork quilt of sectarian enclaves, which saw to that it was preserved that way. It stalled at a considerable extent the communal inter-fighting as well as it opened up opportunities for a comprehensive communal intra-fighting to blaze up. Within each territory, Christians fought Christians, Palestinians other Palestians (in their refugee camps), and Shia turned against Shia. The Shiite "brother-war" between Amal and Hizballah - taking real serious proportions in 1988 - can be regarded as a struggle over both principles and ground. As Hizballah's following and support foremost were located in the Bekaa Valley in the east and in the southern suburbs of Beirut, Amal was in control of the Shia "heartland", the Lebanese south (except for the border strip occupied by Israel). However, due to the decades of the "wild west" athmosphere during the reign of Palestinian guerillas and the Israeli bombardments and incursions following it, the southerners were more than fed up with warfare and despair. Amal therefore - in its origin, as I have described, a reaction against the anarchy of the south - acted viligantly and determined not to let any party return that might threaten the southern security, be it Palestinians or anyone else.

In practical terms, that meant clashes with Hizballah. Although both of the movements regarded themselves as constituting parts of the resistance against the Israeli occupation, Amal was not willing to make sacrifices as was its more radical counterpart. The holistic approach of Hizballah, earlier discussed, was not that attributable to the Amal movement which applied a more prudent policy.[176] Moreover, Hizballah cursed the presence of UNIFIL as only serving Israeli interests, hindering the resistance from taking actions against the Israelis and at the same time being impotent in making the Jewish state withdraw its troops from all Lebanese territory, as demanded in UN resolution 425.[177] Amal, on the other hand, regarded UNIFIL as an ally and a friend which was giving assistance to the local population and functioned as an international witness to any excesses conducted by Israel or its SLA-ally.[178] Consequently, as matters came to a real head, a bloody and merciless war erupted between the two movements, often with UNIFIL engaged as a direct target (especially the French contingent).[179] Although succeeding in conquering ground and neighborhoods from Amal in southern Beirut, Hizballah lost the battle of the south where Amal's control still managed to prevail.[180]

Anyhow, this intra-Shiite conflict caused complications on a regional level, putting the link between Syria and Iran in straits as well as hampering the interests of the two countries. And although both Teheran and Damascus tried to mediate in the intra-fighting, several intiatives to cease-fire simply went down the drain.[181]

However, powerful winds of change on the global and regional levels were waiting ahead that naturally brought about spin-off effects on the national and local levels of the Lebanese stage. A new world order emerged in the end of the eighties and beginning of the nineties, with the United States as its sole ruler of the roost. For Hizballah, like all other Lebanese actors, this implied a totally new situation. It put an end to the sixteen year long civil war and presented new political formula for Lebanon, agreed upon in the town Ta'if, Saudiarabia.

Therefore, in the next two chapters I shall try to expose this new situation and confront it with the vision and the reality of Hizballah: how the movement perceives this new context and how it is undertaking actions and moves in order to reach future goals and changes.

[106]See AbuKhalil (1991) p. 390-403.

[107]This connection is important to note. Regarding the establishment of an Islamic movement in a foreign country (comparing Lebanon to other more authoritarian Arab regimes), Iran's ambassador in Lebanon, Hojjat al-Islam Fakhr Rouhani once noted: "The biggest obstacle to starting an Islamic movements in the world is the people's attachments to governments...but since the republic of Lebanon does not have much power, there is no serious obstacle in the way of the people of Lebanon." One such obstacle might have been the Syrians, but Damascus quest for an ally eliminated that. See Kramer (1993) p. 542. Quote from Ettela'at (Teheran) 9 January 1984.

[108]See for example Norton (1987) p. 88.

[109]See Fisk (1991) p. 520. Robert Fisk also notes that the American Embassy - at least initially - blamed Nabih Berri for being behind the attacks. Berri himself however "vigorously denied" this, asserting he "had offered his condolences over the 'massacre' to an unnamed American diplomat". Ibid.

[110]See Shapira(1988) p.115-118.

[111]See Kramer (1993) p. 543.

[112]See Shapira (1988) p. 115-118. In addition, As'ad Abykhalil mentions that Shaykh Fadlallah once told him in an interview that he never liked or trusted Sayyed Musa "because he was promoted as a 'star by the Christians'". In a Christian dominated system that was enough to raise suspicions. AbuKhalil (1991) p. 391.

[113]Ibid., p. 392.

[114]See Shapira (1988) p. 123-125.

[115]See interview with Shaykh Hassan Nasrallah, Middle East Insight, p. 38, May-August 1996

[116]Shapira (1988) p. 125.

[117]Interview with Nasrallah in Middle East Insight, p. 38-39, May-August 1996.

[118]The whole text in English can be found in Norton (1987) p. 167-187.

[119]Ibid., p. 172.

[120]Ibid., p. 170-171.

[121]Shaykh Hassan Nasrallah explains that in this early phase of isolation the movement welcomed the support offered by Syria and Iran: "Naturally, we asked for assistance. From any party. And the duty of the people was to help. From then on the relations begun with Syria and Iran; others were not as responsive for many of them thought what was going on in Lebanon did not concern them". Also mentioning the futility in relaying on the international community, he states: "It was clear for us that the bet on diplomatic attempts, the begging of the Great Powers, would lead to naught. If that would to lead to something, Palestine would not have been ocuppied for 48 years." See interview in Middle East Insight, p. 38-39, May-August 1996

[122]Norton (1987) p. 179.


[124]Ibid., p. 175.

[125]Deeb (1988) p. 694-697,

[126]Norton (1987) p. 178-179

[127]Ibid., p. 178.

[128]Due to political geography however, Hizballah regarded any confrontation with the USSR of subordinate importance: "In Lebanon and in the Palestine area, we are mainly concerned with confronting America because it is the party with the greatest influence among the countries of world arrogance, and also with confronting Israel, the ulcerous growth of world Zionism." Ibid., p. 178-179.

[129]Ibid. p. 168-169.

[130]See Deeb (1988) p. 694. Quoted from Al-Ahd (Hizballah's own weekly magazine) 57, 25 July 1985.

[131]Ibid., p. 695.

[132]Zonis & Brumberg (1987) p. 57, Quoted from FBIS, May 24, 1983.

[133]Deed (1988) p. 696. Khomeini's words, quoted from Al-Ahd, 64, 12 September 1985.

[134]Zonis &Brumberg (1987) p. 58-59,

[135]For an overview of Iran's strategy of extending its revolution across borders see Ramazani (1990).

[136] See Shapira (1988).

[137]Kramer (1989) p. 28. Quoted from Al-Ahd, February 12, 1988.

[138]Ibid. Quoted from Al-Ahd, May 2, 1988.

[139]The former secretary-general of Hizballah, Shaykh Subhi al-Tufayli, stated: "We realize that any political entity in the region must be under the Israeli umbrella in order to be allowed to exist. Hence, we do not think of any gains before the liberation of Palestine". Ibid., p. 33. Quoted from al-Nahar al-arabi wal-duwali, February 9-15, 1987.

[140]One of Hizballah's leaders, Ibrahim al-Amin, declared: "We in Lebanon do not consider ourselves as separate from the revolution in Iran, especially on the question of Jerusalem. We consider ourselves, and pray to God that we will become, part of the army which the Imam wishes to create in order to liberate Jeruslam. We obey his orders because we do not believe in geography but in change". Ibid., p. 26. Quoted from al-Harakat al-Islamiyya fi Lubnan, p. 150-151.

[141]Norton (1987) p. 180.

[142]Those regimes are in the view of Hizballah only satellites for imperialistic interests who "are falling over themselves for reconciliation with the Zionist entity", implementing "the policies set for them by the White House circles to smuggle their countries wealth and divide it among the imperialists by various means.". Norton (1987) p. 182.

[143]Ibid., p. 183.

[144]Kramer (1989) p. 30. Quoted from al-Harakat al-Islamiyya fi Lubnan, p. 162. For a more comrehensive discussion on this topic, see ibid. p. 29-35.

[145]Norton (1987) p. 175.

[146]See Kramer (1987) p. 2. Quoted from La reveu du Liban (Beirut), July 27, 1985.

[147]Norton (1987) p. 185. As'ad AbuKhalil remarks that in "numerous interviews with party leaders and members" he has been told that Hussein al-Musawi, the founder of Islamic Amal, "probably" is the only non-clerical member of the Shura Council. He adds however that the "obsession of security" within the organization eliminates any attempt to verificate the matter. AbuKhlalil (1990) p. 402 n. 18.

[148]Ibid., p. 394. According to AbuKhalil, Hizballah has adapted its form of organization - the strict hierarchial order headed by the politburo - from Leninist principles. He compares also the "counsciousness of unification" with the Marxist theory of class consciousness. Hizballah themselves, however, reject any discourse of class struggle within society as well as they - on the whole - reject any connection to theories of Marx or Lenin. Ibid.

[149]Kramer (1989) p. 6. My own emphasis added.

[150] Hizballah Politburo member Youssef Merhi told me that this issue is "similar to the function of political parties in the west: you choose the marja you percieve is the most right and most wise. If not satisfied, you can always change to another one." Interview in Beirut 20 May 1996.

[151]Interview with Hajj Yuossef Merhi , Beirut, 20 May 1996, and Abdallah Mortada, Beirut, 6 June 1996.

[152]Martin Kramer remarks how Ayatollah Khomeini showed slight interest in what was going on in Lebanon. Thus, having given his general guidelines, Hizballah had large room of manouvering when interpreting what those guidelines actually implied. See Kramer (1989) p. 12.

[153]Shapira (1988), p. 149.

[154]Norton (1990) p. 124.

[155]"On the scale of human distress," Martin Kramer notes, "Lebanon's Shi'ites could not be surpassed by Shi'ites elsewhere, and their hopelessness made them the most receptive of all Shi'ites to the siren calls that issued from Iran". Kramer (1993) p. 542.

[156]Regarding wether Hizballah would stop its military resistance against Israel if withdraw al from the south of Lebanon, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah commented: "We must drive Israel from our country, not in order to stop the battle when we reach the border, but to continue the battle to Jerusalem". Kramer (1989) p. 56. Quoted from Al-Ahd, February 12, 1988. The promninent Shiite authority, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah has said: "[Hizballah's] strategy is a strategy of jihad that insists the presence of Israel in Palestine is illegal...as for Amal, it may consider the liberation of the south [of Lebanon] as its sole task." Esposito (1992) p. 150.

[157]Interview in Beirut, 6 June, 1996.

[158]Interview in Beirut, 20 May, 1996.

[159]See interview with Nasrallah in Middle East Insight, p. 40, May-August 1996.

[160]Hussein Musawi stated that he and his followers had given Islamic Jihad "political and moral support so that it would not look as if their actions were of a criminal nature. In this sense, if it had not been for our propaganda, their actions would have been condemned by the public as criminal acts." Kramer (1987) p. 5. Quoted from Kayhan (Tehran) August 20, 1986.

[161]Ibid., p. 11.

[162]Ibid., p. 12. Quoted from Kayhan (Tehran) August 20, 1986.

[163]Zonis & Brumberg (1987) p. 55. Quoted from FBIS, Dec. 8, 1983. This view was likewise expressed to me by Dr. Abdallah Mortada who - according to the Hamas suicide bombings against civilian buses in Israel - stated that: "The judgement to be given this case should not be given according to the results. We need to look for the reason that made this Palestinian killing himself, for a cause in which he feels he is a victim of injustice." Interview 6 June 1996. (My own emphasis added).

[164]Interview with Fadlallah, Middle East Insight, p. 18-19, June-July 1985. The relation between Sheikh Fadlallah and Hizballah as a movement is a heavily debated. Most Western scholars label him as a spiritual mentor of Hizballah, although not a part of the formal organisation structures. Sheikh Fadlallah himself firmly denies any formal part in the movement, but he assures, on the other hand, that he supports all Islamic movements. When comparing Hizballah's view of the difference between Sheikh Fadlallah and Sayyed Musa, Hajj Youssef Merhi described Fadlallah as being a "philosopher" and Sayyed Musa as a "teacher of philosophy". Merhi said that Fadlallah can well be regarded as a marja, although within Hizballah he does not give any formal directives (interview in Beirut, 20 May 1996). Anyway, as Hizballah show him deep respect, and as they both affiliates with the Islamic resistance I will here use Fadlallah's views on how the resistance in Lebanon percieves their situation. Those perceptions, I believe, are most likely also the overhelming perception within Hizballah.

[165]See Fisk (1991) p. 653. In addition, when questioned if he ever feared to be assasinated (like his predessor, Sheikh Abbas Musawi) secretary-general Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah answered: "He who takes this decision [to fight Israel] is ready for anything. I will be very happy when I get to the world without Clinton or Peres, with no atrocities, where no children are killed. That is why I am not worried". Time, p. 27, May 13 1996.

[166]See Kramer (1987) p. 13.

[167]See Ajami (1986) p. 217. Quoted from Fadlallah's book Al Islam wa Mantaq al Quwa (Islam and the logic of Force) 3d. ed. (Beirut, 1985).

[168]From al-Maokif (The Standpoints) May 1996.

[169]From Ha'aretz, Dec. 15, 1996. (IIS News Analysis analysis@ISRAEL-INFO.GOV.IL)

[170]Dr. Abdallah Mortada asserted that the movement had nothing to do with any hostage-taking during the eighties. He added although that the anarchy of the situation during that time unleashed a various spectra os foreign intelligence services in the country, and he underlined that it was impossible for Hizballah to control all the "cells" working and abducting foreigners in the name of Islam and resistance. Conversation 20 May 1996. However, my aim is not to penetrate this issue. (For a study of it, see Ranstorp (1997)). But although the movement for a long time was tangled up in the matter and as it indeed, in many ways, justified this course of actions, I will discuss its view on it.

[171]See interview with Nasrallah in Middle East Insight, p. 40, May-Aug 1996. In keeping hostages, the kidnappers held a strong weapon as they could threaten to kill them if anything happened their own members prisoned in Israel and the West. As well, the hostages were of great value in bargaining affairs. Magnus Ranstorp argues that Hizballah held hostages in order to defend themselves against any reprisisal raids by mainly the U.S. and Israel. See Ranstorp (1997) p. 144-146.

[172]Ibid., p. 40-41. During the hostage-crisis, a similar view was expressed by a member of the Islamic Jihad to the Middle East correspondent, Robert Fisk, who conceded that "[taking] innocent people as hostage is wrong" but there was "no other option". He regarded it as "reaction to a situation that had been imposed" upon them, and refered to the "5,000 Lebanese civilians in the south of Lebanon" which had been abducted by Israel - "not even to mention the invasion itself and the killing of many people". See Fisk (1990) p. 655.

[173]See interview with Fadlallah, Journal of Palestinian Studies, p. 65-66, Autumn 1995.

[174]See Fadlallah (1988).


[176]"Amal does not want to undertake operations inside Israel", an Amal local commander stated. "We are against rocket attacks. We only want this area to be peaceful". Norton (1987) p. 208 n. 36. Quoted in New York Times, p. May 9, 1985. In order to save the southerners from any Israeli retaliations, another Amal leader, Dawud Sulamain Dawud, branded the use of Katuyscha rockets and any attacks against the Israelis from the "liberated area": "I told my men to go into the occupied areas and meet the Israelis face-to-face and shoot them with pistols. It is much more effective than firing rockets from outside." Ibid. p. 121. Quoted from Associated press dispatch in Daily-News Record (Harrison-burg, Va.), July 5, 1985.

[177]For a comprehensive analyse, see Norton (1990).

[178]Ahmad Beydon asserts that the large part of the local population "identified" with Amal - Hizballah being "isolated on the popular level". Hizballah's ideology and line of behaviour, he argues, "differed to sharply from anything corresponding to a collective aspiration". Ahmad Beydon (1992) p. 47.

[179]France was described by Hizballah as one of its basic enemies in Lebanon during the eighties. On one hand because of its histarical role as a colonial power and supporter of the Maronites, and on the other because of its participation in MNF and UNIFIL. See Kramer (1989) p. 61-65.

[180]Richard Norton argues that Hizballah firmly established itself as a political force in Lebanon during this period of time, except for the south where Amal in 1988 "eliminated [Hizballah] as an organized military presence...". See Norton (1990) p. 124.

[181]Magnus Ranstorp means that this in part signs the independancy of Hizballah from Iran - Teheran also admitted that it had a hard time maintaining control over the movement. Ranstorp (1997) p. 124-125.

[182] For the whole text, see Hiro (1993) p. 231-241.

[Prev] [Contents] [Next]