Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Where Would Hezbollah be without...Israel?

In A Fresh Look at Hezbollah, Michael Totten quotes from Middle East Strategy At Harvard, where Andrew Exum writes:
The second reason why Hezbollah cannot give up its arms, though, is because so many of the young men who join the organization join to fight. These young men are lured by the promise of fighting Israel, and Hezbollah must worry that if they were to abandon their military campaign against Israel, these young men would simply split from the organization in the same way that so many of the Amal militia’s gunmen left for Hezbollah in the early 1980s. Thus, in order to keep these young men of arms under the same big tent as the rest of the organization, it is necessary to continue some form of armed conflict against Israel. In this way, Hezbollah’s cross-border raids and rocket attacks against Israel after the 2000 withdrawal—while necessary from an internal perspective—ultimately worked against Hezbollah’s overall strategy of deterrence.
Whereas Arab regimes use hatred of Israel as a distraction from their failed policies and corruption, Hezbollah uses that hatred to maintain its ranks and insure its continued existence.

Contrary to Condoleezza Rice, maybe it's not the Israel-Palestinian conflict that endangers stability in the Middle East--on the contrary, perhaps it's the continued existence of Israel that keeps the Middle East from actually consuming itself.

Crossposted at Soccer Dad

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