U.S. Policy on Hizbullah: The Question of Engagement

(Washington Institute for Near East Policy) Ash Jain - Hizbullah remains as committed as ever to its role as an armed resistance movement. In its updated manifesto, released in 2009 and seen by some observers as a sign of moderation, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah reaffirmed his rejection of Israel ("we categorically reject any compromise with Israel or recognizing its legitimacy"). Terrorism, violence, and intimidation remain key strategic assets for Hizbullah, not just against Israel, but against the state of Lebanon itself. Hizbullah remains committed to challenging the U.S. and its interests in the region. Its 2009 manifesto reemphasized the movement's anti-American foundations, expanding the rationale for resistance as a response to U.S. "terror" and plans for "dominating the nations [of the Arab and Islamic world] politically, economically, culturally and through all aspects." U.S. engagement would only boost Hizbullah's domestic and international legitimacy, and weaken what is left of the democratically elected pro-Western government in Beirut. More broadly, such a fundamental shift in policy would signal Washington's diminishing resolve to confront terrorism and undermine its stance against rewarding terrorist groups. U.S. officials should instead look to intensify efforts aimed at constraining Hizbullah's activities and limiting its destabilizing influence. Hizbullah will only increase in strength unless concerted action is taken against it. The U.S. should mount a campaign to impose UN sanctions on Syria for clear violations of Security Council Resolution 1701, which prohibits arms transfers to Hizbullah. Likewise, it should press for sanctions against Iran for violating Resolution 1747's prohibition on arms transfers. The writer, a former member of the State Department's Policy Planning Staff, is a visiting fellow at The Washington Institute.

2010-07-16 10:33:53

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive