Lebanon War Reaffirms Arab World's "Resistance" Doctrine

[Washington Institute for Near East Policy] Ehud Yaari - Militarily, Israel dealt Hizballah a severe blow in this summer's Israel-Hizballah war: the group lost its grip on the Lebanon-Israel border, lost its arsenal of long-range missiles, and suffered serious causalities. Yet, despite displaying vulnerability in the later stages of the war, Hizballah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah quickly recovered. The war allowed Hizballah to reaffirm the potency of the muqawama, or resistance, doctrine. The perception that Israel failed in its wartime objectives was exported from Israel to the Arab world and has been used as proof of the resilience of the muqawama strategy. The doctrine holds that, to defeat one's adversaries, more can be achieved by armed resistance than by political agreement. The muqawama doctrine does not call for the strengthening of armies to compete against adversaries' armed forces. Instead, it calls for battles to be waged against civilian populations. Israel's neighbors - Syria, Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinians - have all been threatened by the possibility that nonstate actors will hijack their foreign and domestic policy agendas. The fact that Egypt and Saudi Arabia criticized Hizballah's actions demonstrates that Arab states understand how anti-state precepts threaten their stability. The goals of the muqawama doctrine are not achieved through the defense of a single, national territory, but rather through a continual wearing down of the enemy morally, physically, and psychologically.

2006-11-02 01:00:00

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