The Hizballah Conundrum

(Washington Institute for Near East Policy) Brig. Gen. Michael Herzog - How do you treat a chameleonic body that is simultaneously an important political party and an armed terror group? This is the case with Hizballah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian Authority. The international community should exploit Hizballah's current domestic vulnerabilities and pressure it concerning terrorism and disarmament, rather than simply accepting the group's dangerous armed capabilities. Feeling more vulnerable with an impending Syrian departure, Hizballah attaches value to Lebanese national unity but may also become more dependent on Iran. With a Syrian departure, Hizballah could arm itself through direct shipments from Iran to Lebanon in the absence of the Syrian sieve, and it could further provoke Israel free of Syria's restraining hand. In any case, Hizballah will certainly continue its efforts to destroy prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace. The removal of the armed Iranian presence in Lebanon, together with the heavy military equipment it shares with Hizballah (such as rockets and unmanned aerial vehicles), should be an integral part of the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1559. With Israel and Syria out of Lebanon, Iran should not be permitted to remain as the only foreign armed presence. Syria should be pressured to end any further arms shipments to Hizballah, either directly or through Syrian territory. Concurrently, the international community should consider placing international monitors at critical entry points to Lebanon in order to monitor possible arms shipments to Hizballah. Hizballah cannot be allowed to remain the exclusive armed, nongovernmental force in Lebanon. The current movement of political "tectonic plates" under Lebanon and the Middle East presents a unique opportunity to begin undercutting the armed Hizballah-Iran axis.

2005-04-08 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive