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Ground to a Halt - Israel Misunderstands Hezbollah

Ground to a Halt - Israel Misunderstands Hezbollah

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Published by Smarth
Israel has to understand (damn, I am sure they do!) that Hezbollah is a movement and not simply a militant group like Hamas...
Israel has to understand (damn, I am sure they do!) that Hezbollah is a movement and not simply a militant group like Hamas...

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Published by: Smarth on Jan 17, 2009
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09/29/2012

 
OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR - NEW YORK TIMES
Ground to a Halt
 
by ROBERT PAPEPublished: August 3, 2006
ISRAEL has finally conceded that air power alone will notdefeat Hezbollah. Over the coming weeks, it will learn thatground power won’t work either. The problem is not that theIsraelis have insufficient military might, but that theymisunderstand the nature of the enemy.Contrary to the conventional wisdom, Hezbollah isprincipally neither a political party nor an Islamistmilitia. It is a broad movement that evolved in reaction toIsrael’s invasion of Lebanon in June 1982. At first itconsisted of a small number of Shiites supported by Iran.But as more and more Lebanese came to resent Israel’soccupation, Hezbollah — never tight-knit — expanded into anumbrella organization that tacitly coordinated theresistance operations of a loose collection of groups witha variety of religious and secular aims.In terms of structure and hierarchy, it is less comparableto, say, a religious cult like the Taliban than to themultidimensional American civil-rights movement of the1960’s. What made its rise so rapid, and will make itimpossible to defeat militarily, was not its internationalsupport but the fact that it evolved from a reorientationof pre-existing Lebanese social groups.Evidence of the broad nature of Hezbollah’s resistance toIsraeli occupation can be seen in the identity of itssuicide attackers. Hezbollah conducted a broad campaign ofsuicide bombings against American, French and Israelitargets from 1982 to 1986. Altogether, these attacks —which included the infamous bombing of the Marine barracksin 1983 — involved 41 suicide terrorists.In writing my book on suicide attackers, I had researchersscour Lebanese sources to collect martyr videos, picturesand testimonials and the biographies of the Hezbollahbombers. Of the 41, we identified the names, birth placesand other personal data for 38. Shockingly, only eight wereIslamic fundamentalists. Twenty-seven were from leftistpolitical groups like the Lebanese Communist Party and theArab Socialist Union. Three were Christians, including a

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