August 01, 2006
by: jovial_cynic
I've been reading a lot of posts from the Angry Arab. As'ad AbuKhalil, the writer of the blog, has the following credentials:

As'ad AbuKhalil, born March 16, 1960. From Tyre, Lebanon, grew up in Beirut. Received his BA and MA from American University of Beirut in pol sc. Came to US in 1983 and received his PhD in comparative government from Georgetown University. Taught at Tufts University, Georgetown University, George Washington University, Colorado College, and Randolph-Macon Woman's College. Served as a Scholar-in-Residence at Middle East Institute in Washington DC. He served as free-lance Middle East consultant for NBC News and ABC News, an experience that only served to increase his disdain for maintream US media. He is now professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus and visiting professor at UC, Berkeley.

Not that having a BA, an MA, nor a PhD means anything when it comes down to debating values, but it does lend some credibility to the writer's stance on Lebanese history, given his background.

In any event, he recently wrote this piece on his blog, which I think is very interesting:

Hizbullah's Support among the Shi'ite refugees.

Make no mistake about it. The surprising show of support among the Shi'ite refugees from South Lebanon for Hizbullah is only partly due to sectarian bonds of solidarity. In the ugly world of Lebanese sectarian politics, each sect is pushed toward a sectarian group or leader. And the sectarian lines are more sharply drawn now in the wake of that famous Hummus Revolution. Narrow sectarian identities now prevail more than ever, and Shi'ites feel, rightly or wrongly, that Hizbullah is what they have to protect members of the sect, especially that secular parties have all but died in Lebanon, and the Syrian Social Nationalist Party squandered a great opportunity (for pushing secularism that is) by becoming an arm of Syrian intelligence in Lebanon. But that is not the whole story. Israel and US were expecting the refugees to blame Hizbullah for Israeli bombings and destruction the way many South Lebanese Shi'ites blamed (so unfairly) the PLO for Israeli crimes in Lebanon in the early 1980s. This time around it did not happen. The main reason in my opinion is the very performance of the party and its fighters. In other words, if the fighters fled quickly in the face of Israeli attackers (as many Lebanese and Palestinian fighters did in 1982 not out of cowardice but due to the lousy and corrupt management and leadership of Yasir 'Arafat--who has not sent millions to Suha 'Arafat in a while now (my mother hates it when I attack 'Arafat; she admires his asceticism), then the refugees would have easily turned against them. This time around, the stiff resistance exhibited by Hizbullah fighters solidified the bonds between the party and the Shi'ites, and it enhanced, not hampered, the image of the party.

And this also addresses why 80% of the Lebanese Christian population supports Hezbollah as well, even though Hezbollah is Islamic in nature. It's the "enemies-of-my-enemies" mentality here, and I think it's probably appropriately placed.
np category: politics


Luke said:
One this is for certain: that this is a very complicated situation that is not easily resolved through war or politics. I do understand the enemy-of-my-enemies argument though. Don't know that if I were in their place I'd be any different. Countrymen tend to believe in like though. I'd be interested to see what Christians elsewhere in the world believe about this conflict. Heard anything?
August 01, 2006

jovial_cynic said:
I've googled up some results... but most are of Lebanese Christians. I'll post what I've found soon.
August 01, 2006

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