You are on page 1of 70

compile and meticulously translate a host of original primary

documents: from Hizbullah’s 1985 Open Letter; through its eight


clandestine conclaves from 1989 to 2009; to all of its election programs
from 1992 to 2010; and all of the agreements, understandings, and pacts
the party has ratified over the years; ending with the 2009 Political
Manifesto. This first-hand portrait of Hizbullah’s metamorphosis over the
past three dec­a­des is complemented by thorough footnotes, commentary,
background information and chronology. A detailed introductory chapter
maps the party’s transformation by analytically comparing the Open
Letter with the 2009 Manifesto. Hizbullah’s Documents: From the 1985
Open Letter to the 2009 Manifesto will be an invaluable companion for
both scholars and policymakers.

Joseph Alagha, associate professor of Islamic studies at Radboud Univer-


sity Nijmegen, is the author of The Shifts in Hizbullah’s Ideology (2006)
and Hizbullah’s Identity Construction (2011), both published by Amster-
dam University Press.

Praise for The Shifts in Hizbullah’s Ideology



I have admired your work on Hizbullah, and I found your recently published
book fascinating.
— Daniel L. Byman, Director, Center for Peace and Security Studies,
Georgetown University

I hope Alagha’s work will receive attention in the US, where US policy on
Hizbullah is based on ignorance – often deliberate ignorance.
— Graham E. Fuller, Ex-Vice Chairman of the National Intelligence
Council at the CIA

isbn 978 90 8555 037 2

pall as publications
www.aup.nl
9 789085 550372
Hizbullah’s Documents
For a better understanding of Hizbullah, Hizbullah’s Documents ought to be read
in conjunction with Joseph Alagha: Hizbullah’s Identity Construction, Amster-
dam: Amsterdam University Press (2011), ISBN 978 90 8964 297 4.

Both titles are fully searchable on Amazon.

Cover design and lay-out: Maedium, Utrecht

ISBN 978 90 8555 037 2


e-ISBN 978 90 4851 337 6
NUR 697

© Joseph Alagha / Pallas Publications – Amsterdam University Press,


Amsterdam 2011

All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above,
no part of this book may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval
system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical,
photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the written permission of both
the copyright owner and the author of the book.
To my family
Table of Contents

A Note on Transliteration | 9

Prologue | 11

Abstract | 13

Introduction | 15
1 The Salient Points of the Open Letter | 15
2 Hizbullah’s Eight Conclaves | 22
3 Analysis of the New Manifesto | 29
4 Thematic Analysis | 31
5 Conclusion | 36

1 Primary Documents | 39
1 The Text of Hizbullah’s Open Letter Addressed to the Oppressed in Lebanon
and the World, 16 February 1985 | 39
2 Hizbullah: Views and Concepts, Manar TV, Beirut, 20 June 1997 | 56
3 Statement of Purpose: Hizbullah Press Office, 20 March 1998 | 59
4 Hizbullah: Identity and Goals (August 2004) | 60

2 Election Programs | 63
1 Hizbullah’s 1992 Parliamentary Elections Program (my translation) | 63
2 Hizbullah’s 1996 Parliamentary Elections Program | 69
3 Hizbullah’s 2000 Parliamentary Elections Program (my translation) | 75
4 Hizbullah’s 2004 Municipal Election Program (my translation) | 81
5 Hizbullah’s 2005 Parliamentary Elections Program (my translation) | 88
6 Hizbullah’s 2009 Legislative Election Program: 6 April 2009 | 89
7 Nasrallah’s Post-elections Press Conference: 8 June 2009 | 97

7
3 Agreements, Understandings, Pacts | 105
1 Paper of Common Understanding between Hizbullah and The Free
Patriotic Movement: 6 February 2006 | 105
2 The Beirut Declaration: 15 May 2008 | 110
3 Doha Accord: 21 May 2008 | 111
4 Hizbullah’s Understanding with the Salafi Movement: 18 August 2008 | 112
5 President al-Assad Issues a Decree Stipulating the Establishment of
Diplomatic Relations with Lebanon: 14 October 2008 | 113

4 The New Manifesto (30 November 2009) | 115


1 Hegemony and Mobilization | 118
2 Lebanon | 122
3 Palestine & The Settlement Negotiations | 133
4 Nasrallah’s Press Conference: 30 November 2009 (in full) | 138

Chronology of Events (1975-2010) | 151

List of Abbreviations | 185

Glossary | 187

Notes | 193

Index | 211

table of contents 8
A Note on Transliteration

The transcribing of words and phrases in Modern Standard Arabic into Eng-
lish is in conformity with the transliteration system of the International Journal
of Middle East Studies, with a few modifications that cater to the guidelines
of the highly simplified transliteration system of Amsterdam University Press,
where all diacritical marks have been omitted save for the ‘ayn (‘) and hamza
(’). Concerning the translation of controversial terms, the author gave the Eng-
lish equivalent and included the original Arabic word in transliterated form in
brackets beside each term.

 9
Prologue

There are hardly any reliable publications in English, or for that matter in any
other language, which include Hizbullah’s primary documents, starting with the
Party’s 1985 Open Letter; passing through all of its legislative and municipal elec-
tion programs from 1992 to 2010; including all the Agreements, Understandings,
and Pacts the Party ratified over the years; and ending with its 2009 Political
Manifesto. The dearth of these documents and the distortions that resulted from
inaccurate translations prompted the author to embark on the task of rectify-
ing the misrepresentations that resulted from these recondite translations, espe-
cially when these might negatively impact academics and policymakers alike.
Through a privileged access to the Party, the author was able to compile over
the years these original primary documents in Arabic. He dedicated his efforts
to translate them in a thorough, comprehensive, and meticulous way, while
offering adequate footnoting, commentary, and relevant background informa-
tion, in order to draw attention to the metamorphosis Hizbullah has been going
through. The author paid scrupulous attention to not offering literal translations
that might distort the original meaning and message. Rather, his translations
carefully examine the content, framework, and context of these documents,
specifically highlighting the underlying religio-political and ideological back-
ground. In addition, this unique book offers a detailed “Chronology of Events”,
which accurately surveys the history of Hizbullah to the extent that one could
claim that it portrays the history of the Party par excellence. The “Chronology”
is indeed an added asset to the proper understanding of these documents. In
addition, a glossary of Arabic terms is included for a smooth reading of the
book. All of these are at the readers’ fingertips so that they may use them in con-
struing the complex domestic, regional, and international dynamics and geopo-
litical implications that surround Hizbullah. The author believes that a proper
understanding of Hizbullah can avert grave policy implications that are based
on wrongly disseminated information readily made available in this globalized

 11
age. The author hopes that this book will become a reliable reference work.
While the author acknowledges that any shortcomings are his, he would like to
thank anonymous reviewers, the editorial board of Amsterdam University Press
(AUP), the editor and the copy-editor, and all the AUP family who contributed
to polishing this work and making it accessible.

Joseph Alagha
The Netherlands, February 2010

Prologue 12
Abstract

In over a quarter of a century, Hizbullah’s identity has undergone serious revi-


sions. The Lebanese resistance movement Hizbullah was able to modify its iden-
tity from its founding as an Islamic movement of social and political protest
(1978-1985), to a full-fledged social movement (1985-1991), to a parliamentary
political party (1992 to the present). Hizbullah tried to preserve its Islamic iden-
tity while at the same time work within the confines of the Lebanese politi-
cal system. On these grounds, the Party recognized the Lebanese state. In spite
of being perceived as having a political-strategic partnership with Syria1 and a
strategic-ideological alliance with Iran2, Hizbullah is not a mere tool of policy
in Syrian and Iranian hands. Rather, the Party has pursued an independent
course of decision-making in conformity with the specificities (khususiyyat) of
the Lebanese political equation, until it succeeded in May 2008 in obtaining
veto power in the Cabinet, the Council of Ministers, the main executive body
of the country, thus controlling the political system to a greater extent. After its
defeat in the June 2009 legislative elections, it backtracked and contented itself
with the participation of two ministers in a power-sharing cabinet, waiving its
earlier gain of veto power for the sake of consensual democracy, as was revealed
in its 2009 Manifesto. This introductory chapter aims to situate these changing
dynamics within the Party’s domestic, regional, and world view.

 13
Introduction

This introduction surveys Hizbullah’s overhaul in its identity over a period of a


quarter of a century from the time of the propagation of its first Manifesto, the
“Open Letter”1 in 1985, passing through all of its eight clandestine conclaves, to
the publication of its second watershed Manifesto in 2009. In order to map these
changes, the author begins by analyzing the Open letter.

1 The Salient Points of the Open Letter

Hizbullah’s political declarations; al-‘Ahd2, its weekly newspaper; the discourse


of its leaders and cadres; and most notably the Open Letter specify the constitu-
ents of the Party’s political ideology: oppressors and oppressed; Islamic state;
relations with Christians; anti-Zionism; pan-Islamism; anti-imperialism; and
jihad and martyrdom. Hizbullah employs Qur’anic legitimization of its political
ideology in the form of Qur‘anic verses to justify its stance. One may notice that
only the first section of the Open letter explicitly refers to Hizbullah’s religious
ideology: belief in Shi‘a Islam, wilayat al-faqih (guardianship of the jurispru-
dent), and jihad (struggle) in the way of God.

Oppressors and oppressed


The concept of oppressors (mustakbirin) and oppressed (mustad‘afin) is central
to a proper understanding of Hizbullah’s political ideology. Although Hizbullah
seems to employ an exclusivist discourse3 in which it classifies people accord-
ing to the Qur’anic dichotomy of Hizbullah (The Party of God) (5:56) or Hizb
al-Shaytan (The Party of the Devil) (58: 19), Hizbullah uses the Qur’anic term
or Islamic expression of oppressed and reproduces it as an all-inclusive concept
in order to uphold political and social justice. On the face of it, it appears that
Hizbullah is using Marxist terminology, which is translated or interpreted in

15
Islamic terms along the lines of economic, political, and social justice, thus pro-
ducing a kind of “Islamic socialism”, as some scholars have claimed.4
However, Hizbullah clearly argues in the Open Letter and its political dec-
larations that its friends are the oppressed of the entire world, irrespective of
their color, race, or religion. The Party interprets and applies the contempo-
rary concept of mustad‘af by stressing that it is a Qur’anic concept that came to
prominence with the advent of the Islamic Revolution. Hizbullah emphasizes
that this usage conveys and is in conformity with its identity as an Islamic jihadi
movement struggling to address and redress the injustices that the oppressed
suffer. However, the Party clarifies that its usage of the term mustad‘af is dif-
ferent from the political concept that is used by the socialists to refer to the
poor peasants or the proletariat, the Qur’anic concept being more encompass-
ing and holistic in its orientation because it touches upon the existential level
of oppression and offers prescriptions and remedies in dealing with the oppres-
sors and warding them off. Hizbullah emphasizes that mustad‘afin applies to the
wronged, unjustly treated, tyrannized, and impoverished who do not own their
daily bread, and who are oppressed in their freedom, dignity, and endeavors
without any consideration whether they are Christians or Muslims. Therefore,
Hizbullah’s political ideology stresses the universality of the Qur’anic concept
– as opposed to the specificity of the Marxist concept – that cuts across class,
cultural, and religious cleavages.
Even though Ayatullah Fadlallah is not part of the main establishment of
Hizbullah, the Party might have been influenced by Fadlallah’s views on oppres-
sion. The point of convergence is that both Fadlallah’s and Hizbullah’s Islamic
theory of oppression differs from liberation theology. Although liberation theo­
logy places the oppressed, marginalized, discriminated minorities, women,
workers, etc. at the center of its discourse, siding with the oppressed in their
struggle for their rights, it does not call for an overall Christianization of society
nor does it aim at establishing a religiously based society and political system.
Rather, liberation theology builds on religious sources, reinterpreting them for
secular-Marxist aims by supporting the struggle of the oppressed “wretched of
the earth” for social justice. In spite of that, there seems to be a considerable
difference between the two views since Fadlallah’s political-ideological legiti-
mization conveys specificity in his characterization of oppression that is at vari-
ance with Hizbullah, especially his Qur’anic legitimizations, which distinguish
between two groups of the oppressed. It seems as if Fadlallah is insinuating a
distinction between negligent, idle oppressed who let grass grow under their
feet and do not even exercise persuasive jihad, on the one hand, and committed
oppressed who mobilize in order to confront their oppressors (smaller military
jihad) or alter their condition of oppression by emigrating to the Muslim heart-
land, if they are capable of doing so, on the other.5

Introduction 16
Islamic state
The Open Letter, inter alia, classifies Hizbullah as a social movement that calls
for the establishment of an Islamic state6 in Lebanon modeled on Iran’s Islamic
Republic. Hizbullah’s political ideology advocates an end to political Maronism7
and rejects any participation in Lebanon’s sectarian-confessional political sys-
tem. In spite of that, Hizbullah’s political ideology stresses that it would not
impose an Islamic state in Lebanon by coercion, rather Hizbullah would erect
an Islamic state if and only if the majority of the Lebanese populace demand it
and consent to it since it is necessary to choose a political system in Lebanon
by mutual agreement between the Muslims and the Christians. Thus, Hizbul-
lah invited others to become part of an Islamic state in Lebanon, refusing to
be under the governance of or to co-opt with the un-Islamic Lebanese regime.
The Open letter does not specify the political-ideological content of the
Islamic order; it only refers to the Islamic state as an ideological doctrine, politi-
cal order, and mode of governance. However, Muhammad Z‘aytir did outline
the most salient traits of the Islamic or Qur’anic government, Islamic state, or
Islamic republic.8 Hizbullah uses these terms interchangeably because it is con-
cerned with instating an Islamic order (nizam Islami), and it does not matter
which label it is given. According to Z‘aytir, the Islamic order is based upon
the practical application of the shari‘a and divine injunctions; organization of
social, economic, and political relations in order to inculcate social solidarity
and disseminate social justice; mutual agreement and trust between the subjects
and rulers; and justice, fairness, equity, compassion, as well as an equilibrium
between rights and duties.
However, Z‘aytir’s views on the Islamic state were couched in stronger terms
than what the Open Letter and other cadres expressed since he stressed the
forceful application of God’s governance and sovereignty. Z‘aytir seemed to be
much more radical in his political-ideological views than the Hizbullah estab-
lishment. This might suggest that he represented a certain militant trend within
the Party that advocated the establishment of the Islamic state by force to effec-
tively annihilate the political Maronites.9 He seemed to be against the too con-
ciliatory and too compromising attitude of the Party. Z‘aytir’s criticism of the
Islamic milieu might be interpreted as an indirect attack on Ayatullah Fadlallah
who, according to Z‘aytir, was not forceful enough in his Islamization project.
Z‘aytir did not accept Fadlallah’s Qur’anic logic of truce (muhadana)10 and the
step by step application of Islamization through a bottom-up process. He called
for a violent and radical overthrow of the regime through a top-down process,
even if the balance of power did not favor the Islamists. Hizbullah adopted the
idea of Islamic order from Imam Khumayni, being influenced by his views on
wilayat al-faqih. Hizbullah’s anathematizing of the Lebanese political system

1 The Salient Points of the Open Letter 17


might also be attributed to Imam Khumayni’s views.11 However, in practice, the
official Hizbullah establishment does not heed Z‘aytir’s views.
In its Islamic order, Hizbullah maintains the dhimmis12 category, and as such,
Hizbullah stresses that the common grounds between ahl al-dhimma and Mus-
lims are the social values of mutual tolerance, respect, brotherhood, and soli-
darity. On this basis, Hizbullah accords the Christians their human freedom,
i.e. social and religious freedom, but not political freedom. Thus, contrary to
the Prophetic tradition that granted non-Muslims partnership in the politi-
cal structure, Hizbullah’s tolerance or inclusiveness clearly excludes Christians
from political life. Hizbullah seems to imply that tolerance is the responsibility
of the “majority” and integration is the responsibility of the “minority”.
Most likely Hizbullah’s treatment of the Christians as dhimmis is a specific
interpretation of the Prophet’s political constitution of Medina, which was also
inspired by the Islamic Republic’s constitution. In addition, possibly Hizbul-
lah might also have been influenced by Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah
who, grounding his argument on the Qur’an, argued that the Muslim stance
towards the Christians is anchored in the horizon of mutual coexistence, coop-
eration, and dialogue that should be based on points of convergence and com-
mon grounds that all parties agree upon.13

Relations with Christians


Hizbullah’s political ideology is selective in its treatment of the Lebanese Chris-
tians. Although on face value it appears that Hizbullah’s call was addressed to all
Christians, in reality Hizbullah shunned any contact with political Maronism,
Maronites, and any collaborator with Israel. Though Hizbullah had some low-
level contacts with the Christians living in its constituencies, nonetheless no
high-level or tangible dialogue materialized between Hizbullah and the Chris-
tians. In spite of Hizbullah’s exhortation of the Christians to convert to Islam,
it did not impose this conversion by force, but applied its theory of tolerance to
those Christians living in the areas it controlled, as well as to other Christians as
long as they were not treacherous or aggressive.
Some writers claimed that Hizbullah was abiding by a political ideology that
was intolerant not only towards the Christians, Hizbullah was also accused of
imposing its will and its Islam on all Lebanese from different denominations,
sects, and religions.14 I acknowledge that there appears to be a certain tension
between Hizbullah’s two propositions: 1) Hizbullah’s intention not to impose
Islam nor coerce the Christians to adhere to its call; and 2) Hizbullah’s mission
of establishing an Islamic order. Maybe the confusion has to do with Z‘aytir’s
denial of the need to convert Christians and the Hizbullah establishment’s call
for conversion through peaceful means. Nevertheless, both Z‘aytir and the Hiz-
bullah establishment agreed that there should be “no compulsion in religion”

Introduction 18
(2:256) and an “equitable world” or common grounds (3:64) should guide the
relationship between the Muslims and Christians.

Anti-Zionism
Hizbullah’s anti-Zionist political ideology often seems to conflate Jewish iden-
tity with Zionist ideology, thus equating Jews with Zionists. Also, there seems
to be a contradiction between Hizbullah’s views concerning the people of the
book and how it treats the Jews in Israel. However, the Open Letter and the
political declarations clearly state that Hizbullah equates all Israelis with “Zion-
ists”. Further, Hizbullah’s al-‘Ahd and the discourse of its leaders clarify that the
Party does not discriminate against the Jews as a race or religion, and it would
accord them their human and civil rights as the constitution of Medina had
done, in spite of their discouraging Qur’anic and historical precedents of treach-
ery, hypocrisy, and breaking the covenant with the Prophet and fighting him at
Khaybar.
Hizbullah’s doctrinal behavior is also warranted by Khumayni’s ideology that
distinguished between the Jews living in Muslim countries under Muslim rule
and the “Zionists” in Israel. Simply stated, Hizbullah’s political ideology con-
siders that there are no Jews in Israel, only Zionists. That is why the Zionists
can be driven out and their country annihilated. From this stance, Hizbullah
unleashed its venom towards the “Zionist Entity” that has occupied Palestine
by military force. Hizbullah characterizes Israel as an aggressive, racist, expan-
sionist, anti-humanist, cancerous gland instated by Western colonial powers in
the Muslim heartland. Hizbullah’s political ideology conveys no recognition of
Israel, calls for wiping it out of existence, and stipulates a continual commitment
to the liberation of Palestine. This political-ideological stance mirrors that of the
Islamic Revolution: “Today Iran, and tomorrow Palestine”, i.e. the liberation of
Iran from the Shah would be followed by the liberation of Palestine from the
“Zionists”. From a principal and doctrinal perspective, Hizbullah’s political ide-
ology seeks to restore Arab-Muslim historical rights in Palestine and is totally
against any ceasefire, truce, land for peace, peace negotiations, or normalization
of relations with Israel.

Pan-Islamism
Hizbullah’s political ideology heeds Imam Khumayni’s call for pan-Islamism,
especially in the wake of what he termed the worldwide conspiracy against the
unity of the Muslims. Hizbullah’s political ideology has always called for unity,
both in the Islamic and domestic fronts, in order to avoid the dangers of discord.
In its Open Letter, Hizbullah allotted section 22, entitled “God is with the Unity
of the Muslims”, to advocating pan-Islamism in order to render special attention
to the dangers of discord, stressing a revolutionary distinction between upright

1 The Salient Points of the Open Letter 19


Muslim religious scholars and the corrupt ones, or state jurists who follow the
injunctions of the imperialist colonizers by applying the precept of divide and
conquer. Hizbullah based its call for the unity of Muslims and warding off fitna
on a host of Qur’anic verses: (3:103); (6:159); (2:191); (2:193); (8:28); (8:73).
On the basis of section 22, it seems that the conspiracy theory has governed a
lot of Hizbullah’s visions. That is why Hizbullah considered any political or mili-
tary dispute between Sunnis and Shi‘as as an oppressor-colonizer’s conspiracy
aimed at spreading discord and dissension among the Muslims. Thus, Hizbullah
blames internal discord on the West. Hizbullah has repeatedly warned against
this and called upon the Muslims to uphold common grounds that ultimately
lead to enforcing the power of the Muslims in the face of the mounting chal-
lenges facing the umma.
Hizbullah’s discourse is general in the sense that it does not give specific
examples of Sunni-Shi‘ite disagreements, since this would lead to discord, when
Hizbullah’s aim is to unite all the Muslims. However, Hizbullah’s efforts to unify
the Muslims remained on a theoretical level as a kind of persuasive smaller jihad
by the tongue and heart, rather than real Sunni-Shi‘a unity, mainly due to mutu-
ally branding each other with infidelity (khutab al-takfir) and the disintegra-
tion that the Islamic community was passing through. Nevertheless, in the local
Lebanese context “The Union of Muslim ‘Ulama”15 has covered some ground
on the way to unifying Islamic work among the Sunni and Shi‘a ‘ulama as well as
their respective populaces. Hizbullah argues that respecting the jurisprudential
differences among the Sunni and Shi‘ites does not preclude unity and coop-
eration among the Sunni and Shi‘a Islamists on common political-ideological
concepts such as anti-imperialism, anti-Zionism, “the liberation of Jerusalem”,
etc. In fact, such political-ideological concepts forged a unity of interests and
common goals between Hizbullah and Sunni Islamists such as the Lebanese
Harakat Al-Tawhid Al-Islamiyya and Al-Jama‘a Al-Islamiyya16, as well as Pales-
tinian Sunni Islamists, who all receive material support from Iran.

Anti-imperialism
Hizbullah stresses that it is exercising its legitimate right of defending the rights
and the dignity of the umma by confronting its basic enemies: the US, France,
and Israel. Imam Khumayni clarified that the sensitivity of the Iranians is not
towards the American people, rather the American government.17 Thus, Hiz-
bullah is against Westoxification18 and does not practice xenophobia (antipathy
to the West and East). Nevertheless, Hizbullah’s Westoxification is rooted in its
hatred of the US administration, not the US people.
Hizbullah employs a specific reading of Khumayni since it took one aspect,
namely reforming the individual before reforming others, and integrated it in
another debate as a critique of Western concepts of revolution. By this Hizbul-

Introduction 20
lah intended to convey the superiority to the Islamic order – that is holistically
concerned with all aspects of life, especially the spiritual dimension – over the
materialist outlook of the East and West, socialism and capitalism. Hizbullah
does not address the assumption that Western capitalism is rooted in specific
cultural and societal traits.
Thus, Hizbullah’s political ideology claims a sense of moral superiority vis-
à-vis the West. By building a holistic-coalescent individual, Hizbullah purports
that the project of the Islamic Revolution does not aim at modernizing Islam,
but rather aspires to Islamize modernity, which poses a binary threat to the
materialism and rationalism that are found in the West. According to Hizbul-
lah, this is what Islam has to offer in response.

Jihad and martyrdom


Hizbullah distinguishes between smaller military jihad and greater jihad, rele-
gating the role of the former to defensive jihad in the battlefield against the ene-
mies of Islam and the latter to the internal struggle against one’s self. Hizbullah
practices the smaller military jihad against the local enemies of Islam, the politi-
cal Maronites, as well as against the regional and international enemies – Israel,
France, and the US. Hizbullah emphasizes the ideological-political dimension
of greater jihad whereby mere membership of the Hizbullah amounts to engag-
ing in the greater jihad in the generic, overall encompassing metaphorical sense
of membership in the community of ‘the son’s of Hizbullah’s umma’. By this,
Hizbullahis would accomplish their legitimate political responsibility (taklif).
Therefore, Hizbullah amplifies the greater jihad to encompass all stages of mem-
bership in Hizbullah’s activity. Employing a high-level theological discourse,
Nasrallah distinguishes between greater jihad and smaller jihad, arguing along
the lines of Khumayni that the greater jihad should be practiced before engag-
ing in the smaller military jihad. Based on Khumayni and Fadlallah, it could be
inferred that Hizbullah’s conception of greater jihad, as spiritual-transcendental
jihad, aims at constructing a distinct Islamic identity of the individual.
Hizbullah consciously extolls martyrdom as a religiously sanctioned legit-
imate defensive jihadi act conducted in order to face a superior invading or
occupying army equipped with a high-tech arsenal. While Hizbullah views the
reward of martyrdom as eternal life in heaven, it vilifies suicide as a ticket to hell
in a moment of despair, hopelessness, and frustration. Hizbullah legitimizes its
martyrdom operations on the basis of religious edicts and reiterates its prohi-
bition of conducting them if the same objectives could be realized by smaller
military jihad.

1 The Salient Points of the Open Letter 21


The obsoleteness of the Open Letter
The events that have occurred since 1985 changed some of the basic details of
Hizbullah’s vision, especially after the end of the Iraq-Iran war in 1988 and after
the collapse of the Eastern Bloc and the Soviet Union in 1989-1990, which led
to the emergence of a unipolar system and New World Order headed by the US.
In Hizbullah’s reading, this garnered more and more support for Israel from
the US and the international community at the expense of the Arabs, and spe-
cifically the Palestinians in the Arab-Israeli conflict. All of these events acted
as catalysts to change Hizbullah’s orientation and tactics as well as some of its
near- and medium-range interests and targets. Indeed, the intellectual founda-
tion and background to Hizbullah’s Manifesto did not change much because it
is based upon jihad against Israel and its allies, spearheaded by the US and the
UK.19 Also, Hizbullah’s classification of foes and friends has undergone a radical
revision dictated by domestic changes in Lebanon and the regional and interna-
tional state attitudes towards the Islamic Revolution in Iran. However, Hizbul-
lah’s animosity towards Israel and its existence remains a fixity in Hizbullah’s
thinking, at least on the rhetorical level.20

2 Hizbullah’s Eight Conclaves

First three conclaves


Bearing this in mind, in 1989 Hizbullah held its first conclave and revealed
the identity of its leaders and cadres. The conclave resulted in the creation of
the post of the secretary-general and the election of Shaykh Subhi al-Tufayli
as Hizbullah’s first secretary-general and the nomination of a Shura (Consulta-
tive) Council that included Hajj Muhammad Ra‘d, one of the founders of the
Party.21 Starting 22 May 1991, Hizbullah held its second conclave and elected
Sayyid ‘Abbas Al-Musawi as its second secretary-general, and Shaykh Na‘im
Qasim as his deputy. Unlike the first conclave in which the seven-member Shura
Council was nominated, in the second conclave they were elected. The conclave
set written moral precepts upon which dialogue would be conducted with the
Christians.22 Thus, the most salient decision of the conclave was Hizbullah’s infi-
tah (“opening-up”). This development was reflected in Hizbullah’s 1991 political
program, authored by Sayyid ‘Abbas al-Musawi. In the early summer of 1993,
Hizbullah held its third conclave, in which it re-elected Sayyid Hasan Nasrallah
as its secretary-general, and Shaykh Na‘im Qasim as deputy secretary-general.
It is important to note that the Islamic Resistance, Hizbullah’s military wing, was
rewarded by electing Hizbullah’s “Central Military Commander”, Hajj Muhsin
Al-Shakar, as one of the seven members of the Shura Council.23

Introduction 22
Fourth conclave
In July 1995 Hizbullah held its fourth conclave. Some of the basic organizational
changes that Hizbullah made were the following: 1) The Politburo was renamed
as the “Political Council” and its jurisdiction was enlarged; 2) The creation of the
“Jihadi Council”, headed by Sayyid Hashim Safiyyeddine, the only new member
of the Shura Council; 3) The “Executive Council” replaced the “Executive Shu-
ra” with, more or less, the same jurisdictions; 4) In order to evaluate Hizbullah’s
experience in the parliament, the Party formed a new body called the “Parlia-
mentary Bloc Council”. In addition to its pledge to liberate occupied Lebanese
land from the Israeli army, Hizbullah reiterated its commitment to continuing
dialogue consolidating ties with all the constituents of the Lebanese myriad.
The secretary-general and his deputy were re-elected. Hajj Hasan Khalil was
elected as Nasrallah’s political aide or advisor and MP Muhammad Ra‘d as the
head of the “Political Council”. Shaykh Nabil Qawuq replaced Sayyid Hashim
Safiyyeddine24 as Hizbullah’s political representative in the South; MP Muham-
mad Yaghi was elected as the Party’s political representative in the Biqa‘; and ‘Ali
D‘un remained in his post as Hizbullah’s political representative in Beirut. Nayef
Krayyem replaced ‘Ali Rashid as the head of the Party’s Central Information
Office, while the latter became the head of a specialized committee in the Politi-
cal Council; and Abdallah Qasir remained the head of the Executive Council.25

Fifth conclave
Shaykh Subhi al-Tufayli was officially expelled from Hizbullah by a political
declaration issued on 24 January 1998. On 30 January a violent military con-
frontation erupted between the Lebanese army and al-Tufayli’s supporters, who
occupied Hizbullah’s religious seminary in ‘Ayn Burday, near B‘albak by mili-
tary force. The bloody face-off – which resulted in some casualties, the most
important being the deaths of a Christian army lieutenant and ex-Hizbullah MP
Khudr Tluys, Tufayli’s son-in-law, and many others wounded – ended with the
destruction of Tufayli’s headquarters and the Lebanese state’s issuing of an arrest
warrant against Tufayli. However, he is still at large to this day.
After solving the problem of internal discord, Hizbullah held its fifth con-
clave between 20 June and the end of July 1998. Nasrallah was elected for a third
term. For this move to be made, Hizbullah had to amend its internal bylaws by
deleting the stipulation that the secretary-general cannot serve for more than
two consecutive terms. Shaykh Na‘im Qasim was elected as deputy secretary-
general; Hajj Hasan Khalil as Nasrallah’s political aide; Muhammad Ra‘d as the
head of the Political Council; and Sayyid Hashim Safiyyeddine as the head of the
Executive Council. Thus, out of sixteen incumbents, seven were elected to the
Shura Council, the ones who could work together harmoniously and efficient-
ly, according to Shura Council member Muhammad Ra‘d. Ra‘d clarified that

2 Hizbullah’s Eight Conclaves 23


the Party evaluated its performance on four main junctures: 1) the 1996 Israeli
“Grapes of Wrath” and means to boost Hizbullah’s military readiness in any
future confrontation with Israel, especially in light of the deterioration in the
prospects of a comprehensive peace settlement between Israel and the Arabs;
2) al-Tufayli’s uprising and its repercussions; 3) the 1998 municipal elections;
4) the 1996 legislative elections. Ra‘d added that the conclave also discussed the
necessity of rehabilitating the Party’s cadres culturally and politically. Hizbul-
lah’s leaders also discussed the most efficient means to attract leading person-
alities in the social, economic, artistic, and intellectual domains to the Party,
without being organizationally tied to it, thus guaranteeing their independence.
The Shura Council is incumbent on following the progress on this matter and
reporting to the rest of the cadres the progress achieved in this regard. Ra‘d
stressed that in domestic Lebanese politics, Hizbullah pursues “the Lebanese
national interest” over any narrow interest in its alliances and dealings with the
state and the political groupings in the country. In answering criticisms about
Hizbullah’s alleged authoritarian nature of appointing its leadership and cadres,
Ra‘d claimed that making drastic changes or a complete overhaul of the leader-
ship and cadres in every conclave will lead to instability, rather than being con-
ducive to democratic practice.26

Sixth conclave
Hizbullah’s sixth conclave that ended on 30 July 2001 had a different flavor. The
Party evaluated its 18-year struggle against the occupying Israeli forces that
withdrew in May 2000 due to the relentless Lebanese resistance and war of
attrition spearheaded by the Islamic Resistance. Concerning the Party’s orga-
nizational changes, Nasrallah was re-elected for life, and Sayyid Ibrahim Amin
Al-Sayyid and Hajj Jawad Nureddine (Imad Mughniyyé’s pseudonym) replaced
Hajj Muhammad Ra‘d and Hajj Muhsin Shakar in the Shura Council. Hizbullah
placed its media institutions under the direct command of Nasrallah aided by
the head of the Political Council and that of the Executive Council. This was
done in order to upgrade the role of Hizbullah’s media, and pursue its ideo-
logical hegemony. Also, Hizbullah abolished its “Central Planning Council”, and
strengthened internal audit and accountability mechanisms. From this perspec-
tive, the roles and duties of the municipal councils were expended (horizon-
tally) and upgraded (vertically).27 Most importantly, the Party took the decision
to revise its Open Letter in light of the changing political arena and dynamics
since 1985. This would only bear fruit in 2009.

The controversy over a new Open Letter, Manifesto


Acknowledging the difficulty of implementing the stipulations of the Open
Letter in the Lebanese public sphere and its clash with the political system, in

Introduction 24
October 1994 Nasrallah hinted at a possible rewording of the Open Letter: “The
Open Letter conveyed general precepts and general guidelines of our identity…
some time ago, we reviewed the Open Letter, and I do not consider that there
are major alterations that have occurred to our overall doctrines and orienta-
tions, although we should account for the changes and eventualities that took
place in the previous years”.28
In October 2002 a rumor surfaced that Hizbullah was in the final phases
of launching a new updated version of its Open Letter in conformity with an
earlier decision taken in its sixth conclave. The rumor was substantiated by
Qasim’s interview in the Daily Star on 28 October 2002. Qasim argued, “Much
has happened and much has changed between 1985 and now… Our basic prin-
ciples remain the same because they are the heart of our movement, but many
other positions have changed due to evolving circumstances developing around
us.” Locally, Qasim stressed that Hizbullah’s position towards the Phalagists has
obviously changed, stressing that they are now partners in dialogue. Region-
ally, concerning Hizbullah’s stance towards Israel, Qasim affirmed Hizbullah’s
outright animosity towards the “Zionist entity” and the “Small Satan” from an
immutable, doctrinal perspective: “Since many positions have changed, we need
to be flexible and change ours too… But the resistance against Israel has been the
core of our belief and that has never changed” since “the struggle against Israel
remains the central rationale of Hizbullah’s existence.” Internationally, Qasim
argued that Hizbullah’s relationship with the West had witnessed many changes
in line with its infitah policy and the West’s changing perception towards the
Party, especially France: “The French were considered our enemy because they
attacked our bases in the Biqa‘… France’s position has changed towards us, so
we have to change ours.” However, he added that Hizbullah’s perception towards
the US29 was still the same, since the Party still regarded it as the “Great Satan.”30
Leenders observes: “Even earlier hints of a fundamental revision of the Par-
ty’s outlook – such as amending its now largely obsolete founding document
– have failed to materialise”.31 Well, not quite. In February 2003, a leading cadre
– who is currently a member of the Shura Council – told me that the newly
reconstructed, updated, and modified Open Letter/Manifesto is ready, but its
launching has been postponed due to the deteriorating regional and inter-
national situation and the imminent US-led invasion of Iraq (March 2003).32
Keeping in mind that the Open Letter delineates Hizbullah’s local, regional, and
international stance, it seems that the regional dimension froze its launching
for more than six years. Sobelman aptly remarks, “Today Hizbollah views the
original platform [Open Letter] as outdated… [There is] an increasingly appar-
ent metamorphosis [identity reconstruction] in the organization at the declara-
tory level and in the practical sphere… Hizbullah has traveled from the time of
its founding and its more recent decision to choose pragmatic integration into

2 Hizbullah’s Eight Conclaves 25


the Lebanese system over pure ideology”.33 Sobelman attributes this stance to
Hizbullah’s infitah policy. He argues that Hizbullah’s decision to publish a “new
and updated” version of its Open Letter, “which according to Na‘im Qasim will
be more moderate in its relations with the Lebanese Christians and Western
countries like France, a country understood to oppose Hizbullah’s inclusion on
the European Union’s list of terror organizations, is no coincidence”.34 Whatever
the case, these instances illustrate Hizbullah’s serious attempts to aim at iden-
tity construction and reconstruction, since over the years its ideology, political
strategy, and future outlook have undergone drastic and dramatic changes.

Seventh conclave
From June to 16 August 2004, Hizbullah held its seventh conclave. Unlike the
previous conclaves where information was leaked to the media, hardly any
information was disseminated. It seems that Hizbullah’s extra clandestine tactic
maybe had to do with the dismantling of a network of underground operatives
allegedly linked to Israel as well as the assassination attempts the Party’s rank
and file had suffered from in the preceding two years.35
It is worth mentioning that the followers of Subhi al-Tufayli released a politi-
cal declaration chastising the conclave and asking it to reinstate him and his fol-
lowers to their “natural, normal position of leadership” in the Party after being
ousted due to conspiracies that occurred a few years ago. The political declara-
tion added that the convening of this conclave offered a historical chance to
conduct honest elections in Hizbullah’s rank and file in order to choose leaders
who would retain Hizbullah’s earlier glory as a religious, Shi‘ite social move-
ment. The declaration accused Nasrallah of planting discord in the Shi‘ite house
by his “total hegemony and tyrannical control” over the Party and its capabilities
and directing them in a way that was not conducive to the Shi‘ites, for instance,
as exemplified by the criticisms directed towards Sayyid Fadlallah36 in favor of
some personalities (Iranian) and marja‘s.37
Hizbullah released a political document in the form of two political dec-
larations. The first political declaration conveyed that no changes took place
within Hizbullah’s seven-member Shura Council, which included the following
members: Sayyid Hasan Nasrallah, Hizbullah’s Secretary General and the head
of the Jihadi Council; Shaykh Na‘im Qasim deputy secretary-general; Sayyid
Hashim Safiyyeddine head of the Executive Council; Sayyid Ibrahim Amin Al-
Sayyid the head of the Political Council; Hajj Hasan Khalil, Nasrallah’s political
aide or advisor; Shaykh Muhammad Yazbik head of Religio-Judicial Council,
“responsible for the dossier of the shar‘i matters and Islamic scholars’ affairs”;
and Sayyid Jawad Nureddine (Imad Mughniyyé’s pen name/alias). In its second
political document, Hizbullah listed four priorities and eight basic modifica-
tions or amendments. The most salient amendment was Hizbullah’s division

Introduction 26
of the South into two administrative geographical areas: the first south of the
Litani river, and the second to its north. Both function under the auspices of
one central organizational leader in order to secure organizational structures
that are capable of improving local administration and activate polarization. In
addition, Shaykh Abd al-Karim ‘Ubayd was appointed as the head of Hizbullah’s
social institutions, and Shaykh Hasan Izzeddine, Hizbullah’s spokesman at the
Central Press Office, was appointed as Hizbullah’s political representative in the
South. He was replaced by Nasrallah’s media aide or advisor, the engineer Hajj
Muhammad Afif.38

First woman appointed to a prominent political role


In the beginning of December 2004 and in light of the decisions taken in Hiz-
bullah’s seventh conclave, Hizbullah, for the first time in its history, appointed
the head of its Women’s Organization, Rima Fakhry, as a member of its 18-mem-
ber Political Council (Politburo). Also, Hizbullah appointed Wafa’ Hutayt, the
person responsible for political programs in al-Nour radio, as deputy of Hizbul-
lah’s Central Information Office.39 These two moves came as a result of internal
debates among Hizbullah cadres and of amending some of the Party’s bylaws.40
As a practical political dimension, Hizbullah founded its “Jihadi Council”
in 1995 in order to closely monitor and supervise its jihadi activities. It is worth
mentioning that the Jihadi Council gained more importance after the May 2000
nearly complete Israeli withdrawal, since in its seventh conclave, the secretary-
general himself became its head. However, this turned out to be a hoax and a
smart maneuver aimed at hiding the real identity and function of Imad Mugh-
niyyé. It is noteworthy that the infamous Imad Mughniyyé – Hizbullah’s ex-
military cadre on whose head the US put a $25 million reward – was assassinated
by a car explosion in Damascus on 12 February 2008.

Eighth conclave
The eighth conclave was supposed to take place in 2007 – in accordance with
the every three years dictum – but, in conformity with Realpolitik, the situation
on the ground dictated another course of action. The repercussions of the July
2006 War and fear of assassination of the leaders and cadres were conducive
factors that kept on postponing the eighth conclave till the leadership took the
decision to hold it in spite of all the political and security threats. Starting in the
summer of 2009 and lasting over a time span of around four months, thousands
of middle- and high-rank Party cadres embarked on an intensive evaluation
of previous policies through a thorough political-organizational workshop that
witnessed, in conformity with the Party’s scalar principle, the election of the pri-
mary electoral college that elects its representatives to the Shura Council.41 On
19 November 2009 the Party released the following political declaration: “Hiz-

2 Hizbullah’s Eight Conclaves 27


bullah ended its general congress, which lasted for several months42, whereby
a new political document was adopted, the second of its kind after the Open
Letter of 1985. It also approved a number of organizational amendments com-
mensurate with the nature of new developments in its movement over the last
few years at various levels. The election of members of the Shura Council took
place and their responsibilities were nominated for the new mandate. They are
the following:
1. Sayyid Hasan Nasrallah, secretary-general.
2. Shaykh Na‘im Qasim, deputy secretary-general.
3. Shaykh Mohammad Yazbik, chairman of the Religio-Judicial Council.
4. Sayyid Ibrahim Amin Al-Sayyid, chairman of the Political Council.
5. Sayyid Hashim Safiyyeddine, chairman of the Executive Council.
6. Hajj Husayn Khalil, political aide to the secretary-general.
7. MP Hajj Muhammad Ra‘d, head of the Loyalty to Resistance Bloc.

The secretary-general of Hizbullah will hold a press conference in the next few
days, God willing, to announce the new political document.”43
What the Party did not reveal was that an eighth member was added to the
Shura Council. However, fearing assassination44, the name of the leading resis-
tance cadre in the Council was not revealed. Electing Hajj Muhammad Ra‘d is
telling since it reflects an innovative trend that accords parliamentary work a
great status. It could also be regarded as a personal recognition for all the hard
work and dedication on his part since he represented the Party in the national
dialogue sessions after a failed assassination attempt on Nasrallah’s life made the
latter shun public events. This move is also indicative of the role Hizbullah is
according to its MPs in order to reveal its new face in light of the new manifesto
since many of them have already met EU diplomats, including foreign minis-
ters and ex-foreign policy chief Solana. In a similar vein, the Party established
a special unit in an attempt to boost its involvement in the cabinet’s work and
take an active role in the administrative apparatus of the state in an endeavor to
stamp out corruption. It is noteworthy that the great achievement of the eighth
conclave is par excellence the new Manifesto, rather than the slight changes to
the Party’s organizational structure or structural formations.
Finally, Hizbullah’s decision in its sixth conclave bore fruit. After almost a
quarter of a century, on 30 November 2009 the Party revealed its new Manifes-
to/Political Platform delineating its domestic, regional, and international policy
dynamics.45 The Party’s spokesman Sayyid Ibrahim al-Musawi told me: “It will
send waves of awareness about the Party and help shatter negative, preconceived
ideas.”46 The Manifesto also addresses issues such as the resistance; political,
social, economic, administrative, and judicial reform; and contains a stance
on the abolition of political sectarianism and the implementation of the Ta’if

Introduction 28
Agreement. The Manifesto outlines the Party’s political and intellectual vision
in light of a dynamic world. It is worth mentioning here that from the perspec-
tive of the Party’s call for the establishment of a strong, capable, and just state,
Hizbullah started to give the Dahiya a facelift a month before announcing the
manifesto, whereby law and order were being imposed by the Lebanese police
and all breaches of public facilities and criminal offences were penalized. As
part of its campaign, entitled “Order is Part & Parcel of Faith” and headed by
the general coordinator Sayyid Husayn Fadlallah, the Party founded a new NGO
called “Qiyam (Values)” in order to spread and inculcate civic consciousness
among the population through a combination of Qur’anic verses, hadith pro-
hibitions, and popular sayings and aphorisms exhorting the masses to employ
their religious discipline in order to uphold law and order. Some of the banners
and slogans read: “It is prohibited to make use of water and electricity through
illegal means; God has organized your daily dealings; encroaching on public
order is a haram; abiding by traffic signs is a measure of intelligence; be careful
in using water, etc.”47 The same message was reiterated again in a lengthy speech
by Nasrallah on the seventh day of Muharram, where he stressed to his fol-
lowers their religious duty to abide by law and order citing a consensus among
the jurisprudents to the obligation of complying with laws that uphold public
order.48 So no wonder that in its eighth conclave Hizbullah added new politi-
cal, organizational, media, and cultural units in order to accommodate this new
development. The need for drastic organizational changes concomitant with
the Party’s rotation policy, not only in its military structure but also in its civil
organs, has been growing ever since the end of the July 2006 War, where great
deficiencies have been noted in this regard.49

3 Analysis of the New Manifesto

Hizbullah’s world view


Hizbullah’s world view was not drastically altered in its 2009 Manifesto. In line
with its 1985 Open Letter, its first Manifesto, it replaced the bipolarity of the
West facing the East with Imam Khumayni’s ideological bipolarity that divides
the world into the Qur’anic notions of “oppressors” and “oppressed”. Hizbullah
upheld its “liberation theology” and called for the “unity of the oppressed”:

According to Hizbullah’s vision and approach, the criteria of divergence and con-
flict are based upon political-moral grounds, primarily between the arrogant and
wretched, the oppressor and oppressed, the haughty occupier and a pursuer of
freedom.50

3 Analysis of the New Manifesto 29


The central goal of the American hegemony resides in dominating the nations
politically, economically, culturally and through all aspects… as it is the base of
controlling the world economy not to mention resorting to all merciless, inhu-
mane and unethical means including the use of extreme military power whether
directly or through a mediator. To achieve this goal, Washington… provided the
Zionist entity with stability guarantees, in such a way that allows this entity to play
the role of a cancerous gland that absorbs and sucks out all the energies and capa-
bilities of the nation as to destroy its ambitions and aims.51
We look with great interest and appreciation at the liberalization, independence
and dominance rejection experiences of Latin America countries. We see vast
grounds for overlap between the endeavors of these countries and the resistance
movements of our region, overlap which should lead to the creation of a more
equitable and balanced international order… our motto “Unity of the Oppressed”
shall remain as one of the pillars of political thought, shaping our understanding,
relationships and attitudes towards international issues.52

Hizbullah did not change its stance towards the US nor Israel. In rhetoric,
although the ideological slogans of the “Great Satan” and the “Small Satan” were
dropped, the “Zionist entity” and the “cancerous gland” remained the most used
descriptions of Israel.

The unlimited US support for “Israel” and its cover for the “Israeli” occupation
of Arab lands, in addition to the American domination of international institu-
tions, the double standards in the criteria of issuing and applying international
policies… puts the American administration in the position of the aggressor and
holds it responsible for producing chaos in the international political system.53
We categorically reject any compromise with “Israel” or recognizing its legitimacy.
This position is definitive, even if everyone recognizes “Israel.”54

In the question-and-answer session of the press conference, Nasrallah was


careful to fend off any accusations of anti-Semitism against Hizbullah: “I have
clearly stated in the Manifesto that our problem with the Israelis is not that they
are Jews; our problem with them is not religious, ethnical, or racial. Rather, the
core of the problem is that they are occupiers who are raping our land and holy
places.”55
However, Hizbullah’s stance towards NATO’s Western European countries
and the EU, which now comprises 27 countries, did undergo serious revisions.
Nevertheless, based on a common historical experience of war and occupation,
Hizbullah wanted to uphold its cherished distinction between “resistance” and
“terrorism”:

Introduction 30
The Bush Administration decided to establish a correlation between “terrorism”
and “national resistance”, and this in order to disarm the resistance of its humani-
tarian legitimacy and its righteousness of cause, and to justify the waging of all
forms of wars against it…. “Terrorism” was transformed into an American alibi
for hegemony.56
As for the European policies (EU), these hang between being barely effective on
one side and being a follower of the American policies on the other, and this actu-
ally leads to the hollowing out of the moderate drift in Europe at the expense of
and in service to the “Atlantic drift” (NATO) of colonial backgrounds.
The EU’s following of US policies constitutes a strategic mistake that will increase
the problems of the Middle East and the world and will ultimately lead to more
problems and complications in the European-Arab relations.
Europe holds responsibility for the damage it has caused due to the colonial
“inheritance” it has left behind – of which our people still suffer the consequences
and results.
Since some European people have a history in resisting the occupier, Europe’s ethi-
cal and humanitarian duty – in addition to being a political duty – is to acknowl-
edge the right of the people to resisting the occupier, on the basis of distinguishing
between resistance and terrorism.
The preconditions of stability and cooperation in European-Arab relations require
a European approach that is more independent, just, and objective (than that of
the US).57

4 Thematic Analysis

The 71-page 2009 Manifesto begins with a “Foreword” and is divided into three
chapters: “Hegemony and Mobilization”; “Lebanon”; and “Palestine and the
Settlement Negotiations”. I will highlight the most salient statements in each.

Lashing the US and Israel


Hizbullah contends that the US’s unipolar hegemony shatters the world balance,
security, and stability. The Party claims that the US administration’s unwavering
support to Israel puts the former in the position of enmity towards the Arab and
Muslim nation.
Starting in the “Foreword”, Hizbullah admonishes:

We are witnessing great historical changes that point in the direction of a retreat of
the US role and decline in the hegemony of the Zionist Entity (Israel)… The path
of resistance and opposition to hegemony, which is based upon military victories
and political successes, is gaining ground (p. 11).

4 Thematic Analysis 31
In Chapter 1 entitled “Hegemony and Mobilization”, Section 1: “The World and
Western-American Hegemony”, Hizbullah continues lashing the US, and to a
lesser extent, Israel.

Globalization reached a one-time high when it took a military shape through war
in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Gaza (p. 18)… American terrorism is the basis
of all terrorism in the world (p. 22)… The grave fiasco of the US war on resistance
(movements) in Lebanon and Palestine through Israeli hands led to the deteriora-
tion of the US credibility on the international scene (p. 22)…

The same trend continues in Chapter 1, Section 2, “Our Region and the Ameri-
can Plot” where Hizbullah contends that the main purpose of US colonialism is
to exercise hegemony over the countries and their capabilities (pp. 24-6).

Lebanon and the political system


In Chapter 2: “Lebanon”, Section 1: “The Homeland”, contrary to its first Mani-
festo, the Open Letter, Hizbullah stresses that it is against establishing cantons
or “states within a state” and also in opposition to founding an Islamic state in
Lebanon. Hizbullah regards Lebanon as its country “homeland” par excellence:

Lebanon is our country and the country of our fathers and forefathers; it is also the
country of our children and grandchildren and all future generations. We want it
strong and unified… we reject partition and federalism… Lebanon is the country
that we have offered the most precious sacrifices and the most dignified of martyrs
for the sake of its sovereignty, honor, dignity, and the liberation of its land… (p.
30).

However, this was not all. After Hizbullah recognized the ultimate sovereignty
and territorial integrity of Lebanon, stressing the building of a “capable, strong,
and just state” (p. 30), in Section 3 entitled, “The State and the Political System”,
the Party voiced its demand to reform the political system in line with the Ta’if
Agreement, Lebanon’s 1990 constitution:

The main ill in the Lebanese political system is political sectarianism… (p. 38)
Consensual democracy represents a proper political formula to assure true part-
nership and contributes in opening the doors for everyone to join the phase of
state building… (p. 39)58 The state that we are looking forward to taking part in is
the one that upholds public freedoms and is concerned for national unity… (p. 40)

In Section 2 entitled “The Resistance”, Hizbullah exposes what it perceives as the


Israeli threat calling for the adoption of a national defense to face it:

Introduction 32
Because of its historical expansionist policy, Israel poses a perpetual existential
danger to Lebanon… The Zionist entity, being a racist state, represents a peril to
the very concept of multi-religious coexistence that Lebanon uniquely manifests
(p. 32)… The perpetual Israeli military threat to Lebanon requires the founding of
a national defense strategy… (pp. 35-6)

Lebanese-Palestinian relations
Although in Section 4, entitled “Lebanon and Palestinian-Lebanese Relations”
Hizbullah is vehemently against naturalizing the Palestinian refugees in Leb-
anon, it urgently calls on the Lebanese government to grant them their civil
rights so that they can lead a dignified life while awaiting the right of return:

The Palestinian refugees in Lebanon should be accorded their civil and social
rights in such a way to safeguard their identity and just cause, without naturalizing
them… Upholding the Palestinians’ Right of Return and refusal of their perma-
nent settlement in Lebanon (p. 46).

Relations with Syria and Iran


In conformity with the Open Letter and Lebanese reality, Hizbullah calls on the
Lebanese state to have privileged relations with Syria and good relations with
Iran.

Syria has recorded a distinctive and steadfast stance in its struggle against the
Israeli enemy. This came through its support of regional resistance movements
amidst their most difficult of circumstances, and through seeking to concert Arab
efforts towards securing the interests of the region and confronting its challenges.
We hereby emphasize the need to adhere to the distinguished relations between
Lebanon and Syria, for this is in the common political, security and economic
interest of both countries.59
Iran is a central and important state in the Islamic world and it is the main sup-
porter of the causes of the umma… Hizbullah considers Islamic Iran to be a focal
nation in the Islamic world. For Iran was the country that thwarted the Zionist-
American scheme through its national revolution, supported resistance move-
ments in our region, and stood with courage and determination alongside Arab
and Islamic causes, at the forefront of which is the Palestinian cause.60

Pan-Arabism and pan-Islamism


Like its Open Letter, in its 2009 Manifesto, Hizbullah calls for pan-Arabism and
pan-Islamism: “The Arabs should put their hands together in order to transcend
conflicts that rupture Arab unity (pan-Arabism)…61 The Arab and Islamic
world is facing challenges whose dangers should not be undermined…62

4 Thematic Analysis 33
Hizbullah is an ardent advocate of the unity of the Muslims. In both Manifes-
tos it called for the unity of the Muslims invoking Qur’anic verses and religious
sensibilities. Section 22 of the Open Letter entitled: “God is with the unity of the
Muslims” stressed the need to:

Be aware of the malignant colonial discord (fitna) that aims at rupturing your unity
in order to spread sedition among you and enflame Sunni-Shi‘a sectarian feelings.
Be knowledgeable that colonialism was not able to control the natural resources
and riches of the Muslims except after breaking up their unity… inciting Sunnis
against the Shi‘as and vice versa. Later on the colonizer left this mission of spread-
ing dissension among the Muslims to its collaborators, be it the governing elite,
the corrupt Muslim religious scholars (state jurists), or the feudal leaders (zu‘ama).
God is with the unity of the Muslims… It is the rock that breaks all the conspira-
cies of the oppressors; it is the hammer that crushes the evil schemes of the oppres-
sors…
Do not allow the policy of “divide and rule” to be practiced among you; rather fight
it by recourse to the Qur’an:
“And hold fast to Allah’s bond [His religion], all of you, and do not fall apart. And
remember Allah’s grace is upon you; how you were enemies, then He united your
hearts [by becoming Muslims] so that you have become, by His grace, brethren.
You were on the brink of the pit of Fire, but He saved you from it” (3:103).
“Those who have made divisions in their religion and become sects, thou art not
of them in anything” (6:159).63

In a watered-down version, the 2009 Manifesto reiterates:

We therefore remind you of the importance of unity among Muslims. The


Almighty has said: “And hold on fast, together, to the rope of God, and be not
separated” (3:103). We take heed of those causes of division between the people,
such as confessional provocations that are instigated especially between Sunnis
and Shi‘ites. We count on the awareness of all Muslims in addressing what is being
contrived against them at this level.64

The Arab-Israeli conflict and the peace process


Chapter III, entitled “Palestine and the Settlement Negotiations”, repeats the
same old story of the Open Letter with the same emphatic terms. Section 1: “The
Palestinian Cause and the Zionist Entity” paints a grim picture of the creation of
the state of Israel and the displacement of the Palestinians:

A crime against humanity was committed by the West when this extraneous entity
(Israel) was implanted in the heart of the Arab and Muslim world, and was nur-

Introduction 34
tured to become a hostile infiltration, standing as a leading front for Western plots
of dominion, and posing as a base for control and dominion over the region (p.
58).

It adds that Israel is supported by the West, especially the US, branding both the
US and Israel with “terrorism”:

The Zionist movement is a racist movement both in terms of thought and prac-
tice. It is the product of a despotic, authoritarian mentality, the basis of which is
founded on a Judaization project of settlement and expansion. The state entity that
emerged from the Zionist movement has thrived through occupation, aggression,
massacres and terrorism, all with the support and under the custody of colonial-
ist powers, particularly with the aid of the United States of America with which
the Zionist state is strategically allied – a true partner in war, massacres and the
practice of terrorism. The struggle that we are embarked upon against the Zionist
project emanates from the duty of self-defense (p. 59).

In Section 2: “Jerusalem and the Aqsa Mosque”, Hizbullah warns that the seri-
ous attacks against the Aqsa Mosque (in Jerusalem) constitute a real and present
danger that might lead to serious consequences. Hizbullah adds that supporting
Jerusalem and liberating it are a religious duty and a humanitarian and ethical
duty (p. 62).
In upholding its own resistance identity and its own model of resistance,
Hizbullah gives legitimacy to the Palestinian resistance, arguing that it is “sanc-
tioned by heavenly messages and international laws”. In the third section, enti-
tled “The Palestinian Resistance”, Hizbullah adds that the precepts of practice
have proven the efficiency of military resistance to liberate the land and regain
lost rights (p. 63):

Resistance is indeed the only viable alternative… [in 2006] the Lebanese Resis-
tance recorded a divine and historical victory, a strategic success that dramatically
changed the shape of the conflict. This was the first defeat of its kind for the Israeli
enemy, a gun-down to the all-time myth of an “invincible army” (p. 64).

The fourth and final section, entitled “Settlement Negotiations”, reinforces the
Open Letter’s dictum of no recognition of Israel and no negotiations with it,
claiming that this policy embodies the will of the people: “We call upon the
Arab rulers to be committed to the choices of their people by reconsidering the
options of negotiations” (p. 67).

4 Thematic Analysis 35
Our standpoint towards the settlement process [peace negotiations]… is a posi-
tion of absolute rejection of the very foundation and principles of the settlement
option with the Zionist entity. The settlement option is founded on legitimizing
the Zionist entity’s existence and relinquishing seized Palestine land, an Arab and
Islamic land. This is our immutable, permanent and final standpoint towards the
negotiation option, one that is not subject to recoil or compromise, even if the
entire world recognized “Israel” as a state (p. 67)…We call on the Arabs and Mus-
lims to reject all schemes for normalization with the Zionist enemy, to uphold the
right of return of all Palestinian refugees to their lands and homes from which they
were expelled, and to unequivocally reject all presented alternatives for Palestinian
resettlement, compensation or relocation (p. 69).

5 Conclusion

This introductory chapter presents a good example of Hizbullah’s identity con-


struction and reconstruction. It compares Hizbullah’s first and second manifes-
tos and evaluates the Party’s eight conclaves, all analyzed from the standpoint
of the domestic, regional, and international dynamics. Drastic changes were
noted. In 1985 when Hizbullah propagated its first manifesto, the Party was a
small fighting force where all its resource mobilization65 was directed towards
its war effort in fighting Israel to provoke its withdrawal from the vast territories
it occupied in Lebanon. In 2009, the dynamics changed. Hizbullah is considered
as one of the constituent pillars of the Lebanese political system, calling for its
reform along the lines of consensual democracy. At the time the Party earned an
Arab and Islamic recognition for liberating Lebanese territories from the Israeli
occupation in May 2000 and for standing its ground against the Israeli offen-
sive in the 2006 July war. That is why its second Manifesto had to be along the
lines of a pragmatic political document, rather than the ideological-utopian one
propagated in the mid-1980s. Nevertheless, the 2009 Manifesto is not a political
document par excellence, as Nasrallah claimed in his 30 November 2009 press
conference and as Hizbullah tried to portray it in its extensive media campaign;
rather it has important ideological undertones such as the enmity towards Israel
and the US. It seems Shaykh Na‘im Qasim was right in his 2002 predictions
that Hizbullah’s hostility towards Israel and the US administration would not
be changed in the new Manifesto. However, this enmity is only in rhetoric and
semantics since Hizbullah is a patriotic Lebanese resistance movement and does
not operate in the US or Israel; rather it leaves it to the Palestinians to liber-
ate their land, while granting them all kinds of moral and in-kind support. As
mentioned earlier, Hizbullah is careful to clarify that its animosity is towards
the US administration, and not the US people. This seems to be in conformity

Introduction 36
with Imam Khumayni’s discourse on “God’s Sovereignty” (hakimiyyat Allah),
which is tolerant towards the populace, but not the ruling elite. This stands in
sharp contrast to al-Qa‘ida’s and Bin Laden’s nihilist discourse that does not
distinguish between the two.

5 Conclusion 37
1 Primary Documents

1 The Text of Hizbullah’s Open Letter1 Addressed to


the Oppressed in Lebanon and the World,
16 February 1985

The cover page of the Manifesto opens with the following Qur’anic quote:

“Whoever takes Allah, His Apostle and those who believe as their friends, [must
know] that Allah’s party [Hizbullah] is indeed the triumphant”. (5:56)

Dedication
* To the torch that has increased in light and brightness, so that it lit the path to
a free dignified life for the oppressed in Lebanon, and burned with its pure glit-
tering blood [jihad and martyrdom] the power of the “Zionist Entity” [Israel]
and its myth.
* To the leader who confided in and trusted his people and led them in jihad
[Shaykh Raghib Harb]. He sacrificed his soul and was martyred in order to
grant them victory2, and was a witness to the tyranny and oppression of the
world oppressors.
* To the emblem of the victorious Islamic Resistance, and the great upris-
ing (Intifada) against the Israeli occupation in southern Lebanon and Western
Biqa‘, where our people are adamantly resisting with sweat and blood, embold-
ened by Imam Husayn’s martyrdom in Karbala’.
* To the one who shattered the American dream in Lebanon and fought
(resisted) the Israeli occupation, raising the banner of action according to wilay-
at al-faqih, the leader, who liked to be addressed as the prince of the Muslims,
[Imam] Abdallah (the servant of God) al-Khumayni…

39
* We [Hizbullah] dedicate this, “Open Letter to the oppressed of the world”,
to the Shaykh of the martyrs, Raghib Harb (may God’s blessings be upon him),
consolidating between its lines the Islamic revolutionary-political path that was
personified by our happy martyr, with his brothers the martyrs, so that he will
become a leading example [to emulate] and a clear guide to all the freedom
fighters (mujahidin) in Lebanon… We ask God, glory be to Him and highly
exalted, to endow us with patience, consolidate our grounds, and make us victo-
rious over the oppressors (al-qawn al-zalimin).3

The main text of the Manifesto opens with the following Qur’anic substantiation:

“And say: ‘The truth is from your Lord. Whoever wishes, let him believe; and who-
ever wishes, let him disbelieve’. We have prepared for the wrongdoers a Fire whose
canopy encompasses them all. If they call for relief, they will be relieved with water
like molten brass which scars the faces. Wretched is the drink and wretched is the
resting-place!” (18:29).4

Section 1: Who are we, and what is our identity?


We, the sons of Hizbullah’s umma, whose vanguard God has given victory in Iran
and which has established the nucleus of the world’s central Islamic state, abide
by the orders of a single, wise and just command represented by the guardian-
ship of the jurisprudent (waliyy al-faqih), currently embodied in the supreme
Ayatullah Ruhallah al-Musawi al-Khumayni… who has detonated the Muslims’
revolution, and who is bringing about the glorious Islamic renaissance.
Therefore, we in Lebanon are neither a closed organizational party nor a nar-
row political framework. Rather, we are an umma tied to the Muslims in every
part of the world by a strong ideological-doctrinal and political bond, namely,
Islam, whose message God completed at the hands of the last of His prophets,
Muhammad… God has established Islam as a religion for the world to follow:
“This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you,
and have chosen for you Islam as your religion” (5:3).
Therefore, what befalls the Muslims in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Philippines, or
elsewhere befalls the body of our Islamic umma of which we are an indivisible
part. From this perspective, we move to confront this out of a “religious duty”
(wajib shar‘i) primarily and in light of a general political visualization decided
by the leader: al-waliyy al-faqih.
The main sources of our culture are the venerable Qur’an, the infallible Sunna
[Traditions], and the rules and religious edicts made by the jurist (faqih), the
authority of emulation. These sources are clear, uncomplicated, and accessible
to all without exception, and they need no theorization or philosophy. All they
need is abidance and application.

1 Primary Documents 40
No one can estimate our military capabilities since our military apparatus
is part and parcel of our society of resistance. Thus, each and every one of us is
a combatant when the call of jihad demands it, and each of us undertakes his
task in the battle in accordance with the “legitimate and religious responsibility”
(taklif shar‘i) of the Wilayat al-Faqih, the leader. God is with us; He supports
us by sheltering us with His care; by placing fear in our enemies’ hearts; and by
granting us His dear and resounding victory. (Bold is mine)5

Section 2: The “Oppressors” are in concordance about fighting us


The countries of the oppressor world, in the East and the West, have coalesced
to fight us. Its rulers incited its collaborators against us. They try to defile our
reputation and spread lies… in a hypocritical attempt to sow a wedge between
us and other oppressed. All of this in order to diminish our great achievements
in confronting America and its allies.
Through its local collaborators, the US has tried to persuade the people, that
those who crushed their arrogance in Lebanon and frustrated their conspiracy
against the oppressed (mustad‘afin) were nothing but a bunch of bigots and ter-
rorists who have nothing to do except detonate liquor stores, gambling venues,
instruments of diversion, and the like [i.e. all things that lead to debaucheries
(al-fawahish)6].
We are confident that such innuendos cannot and will not mislead our umma.
For the whole world knows that whoever wishes to oppose the US, that arrogant
superpower, does not indulge in these marginal acts that deflect us from our
major goal.7

Section 3: America is behind all our catastrophes8


We are dedicated to fighting and uprooting vice and debauchery… The first root
of vice is America [the US]… All endeavors to push us into marginal action
would be of no avail if measured in relation to our adamant stance of opposing
America…
Imam Khumayni has stressed time and again that America is behind all our
catastrophes, and it is the mother of all vice… When we fight it, we only exercise
our legitimate right of defending our Islam and the dignity of our umma.
We declare openly and loudly that we are an umma who fears only God and is
by no means ready to tolerate injustice, aggression, and humiliation. The US, its
NATO allies, and the Zionist entity in the holy land of Palestine [Israel] attacked
us and continues to do so without respite.
Their aim is to continuously humiliate us. This is why we are, more and more,
in a state of permanent alert in order to repel aggression and defend our reli-
gion, our existence, and our dignity. They invaded our country, destroyed our
villages, slit the throats of our children, violated our sanctuaries, and appointed

1 The text of Hizbullah’s open letter addressed to the oppressed 41


rulers who committed the worst massacres against our umma. Those rulers do
not cease to support the allies of Israel; they do not allow us the right of self-
determination.
In a single night the Israelis and the Phalangists butchered thousands of our
sons, women and children in Sabra and Shatila.9 No international organization
seriously protested or denounced this ferocious massacre, a massacre perpe-
trated in coordination with the NATO forces that vacated their positions a few
days, perhaps a few hours before the massacre in the Palestinian camps. The
Lebanese defeatists [government] accepted placing the Palestinian camps under
the protection of the [NATO] wolf, in conformity with what the shrewd US envoy
Philip Habib has dictated. 10

“You shall find the most hostile people among the believers to be the Jews and the
polytheists” (5: 82).11

Section 4: We have no choice except confrontation


From this perspective we saw that the only way to face aggression is with sac-
rifice… Dignity can only be upheld with the sacrifice of blood. Freedom is not
given; rather, it is regained with costly sacrifices…
We have chosen faith (religion), freedom, and dignity to living under con-
tinuous humiliation by America and its allies: the Zionists and the Phalangist
collaborators… We revolted to free our land, to throw out the colonialists and
the invaders from it, so that we can exercise our right of self-determination.
We could not exercise patience any more; we have already waited ten years
and seen only that the situation has deteriorated from bad to worse.12

Section 5: Zionist-Phalangist coordination


A hundred thousand victims is the approximate number of the casualties slain
by America, Israel, and the Phalangists…
Almost half a million Muslims were forced to vacate their homes in the areas
controlled by the Lebanese Forces.13 The Muslim neighborhoods were totally
devastated in Nab‘a, Burj Hammud, Dikwané, Tal al-Za‘tar, Sibnih, Ghawarina
district, and Jubayl.14
The Zionist occupation continued to rape the lands of the Muslims till it suc-
ceeded in occupying two-thirds of Lebanon. All this in full coordination with
the Phalangists who condemned all attempts to resist the invading forces. The
Phalangists took part in executing Israeli plans and policies so that they could
be rewarded with the seat of the presidency in Lebanon.
The Phalangist dream was realized. The butcher [massacre committer] Bashir
Jumayyel15 seized power with the help of Israel, rich Arab petroleum countries,
and the political Maronites. Through a consorted effort to embellish his image,

1 Primary Documents 42
Bashir joined the six-member Committee of Public Safety16, which proved to be
nothing but an American-Israeli bridge exploited by the Phalangists in order to
exercise their hegemony over the oppressed.
However, our people could not bear humiliation any longer, so they shat-
tered the dreams of the Zionists and their allies. Nevertheless, America was ada-
mant in continuing its foolish behavior by replacing the dead Bashir Jumayyel
with his brother Amin.17 Amin Jumayyel destroyed the homes of the displaced;
exercised his aggression against the mosques; ordered the [Lebanese] army to
heavily shell the oppressed people in the southern suburbs of Beirut; invited the
NATO troops to help him against us; and signed the 17 May 1983 agreement with
Israel, which aimed at making Lebanon an Israeli protectorate and an American
sphere of influence.18

Section 6: Our main enemies


Our populace could not bear any more treachery, so they decided to stand firm
against the nations of infidelity (a’immat al-Kufur)19: America, France, and
Israel. Our populace has chastised them: on 18 April and 29 October 1983.20
The Islamic Resistance (Hizbullah’s military wing) launched a war of attrition
against the invading Israeli forces (IDF) and was able to destroy two leading
military headquarters 21, thus inflicting heavy casualties and forcing the enemy
(IDF) to vacate occupied land, which is a precedent in the so-called Arab-Israeli
conflict.22
For the bare truth we declare: the sons of Hizbullah’s umma know who their
major foes are in the Middle East: Israel, America, France, and the Phalangists.

Section 7: Our objectives in Lebanon


We are now in a state of progressive confrontation with our foes, until we
achieve the following goals:
1 To expel Israel (IDF) for good from Lebanon, as a prelude to its total
annihilation, and the liberation of Jerusalem and its holy cites from the
occupation;
2 To expel the Americans, the French, and their allies from Lebanon for
good, thus rooting out any influence of any colonial power on Lebanon;
3 To submit the Phalangists to just rule23, and make them stand trial for
the crimes they have committed against Muslims and Christians, through
encouragement from America and Israel;
4 To allow our populace the right of self-determination; to freely choose
the political system that they aspire to. We do not hide our commitment
to (the rule of) Islam, and we invite everybody to choose the Islamic sys-
tem (of government/governance), which alone is capable of guaranteeing

1 The text of Hizbullah’s open letter addressed to the oppressed 43


justice and dignity to everyone, thus preventing any colonial attempt to
invade our country again.24

Section 8: Our Friends


So… These are our goals in Lebanon; those are our foes. Regarding our friends,
they are all the world’s oppressed; anyone who fights our enemies25 and is care-
ful not to offend us… whoever they might be: individuals, political parties, or
organizations… we address them and say:
Friends, wherever you are in Lebanon, and no matter which thoughts you
entertain and although we disagree with the tactics and manner of confronting
[our enemies]… we share with you our primary strategic goals… the neces-
sity of breaking the chains of American hegemony in Lebanon… ridding our
country from the despicable Israeli occupation… and frustrating all Phalangist
endeavors to exercise hegemony over politics and administration. So let us con-
solidate our front and bury our differences so that we can achieve our common
goals of making Lebanon the burial place of American and Zionist projects.
You [our friends] carry ideas that do not conform to Islam… but this does
not preclude cooperation with you in order to achieve these goals… especially
since we feel that the motives which exhort you to struggle are Muslim motives
in the first place, originating from confronting oppression and tyranny that have
been practiced and imposed upon you… even if these motives were harbored by
un-Islamic ideas, they have to converge back to its essence, then you witness that
revolutionary Islam spearheads the struggle to face tyranny and oppression…26

Section 9: We are committed to Islam, but we do not impose it by force


We are an umma that abides by the message of Islam. We would like the
oppressed and all the people to study this heavenly message because it is con-
ducive to establishing justice, peace and tranquility in this world: “There is no
compulsion in religion; true guidance has become distinct from error. Thus he
who disbelieves in the Devil and believes in Allah grasps the firmest handle
[bond] that will never break. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. Allah is the
Supporter of the believers. He brings them out of darkness into light. As for
those who disbelieve, their supporters are the devils who bring them out of light
into darkness. Those are the people of the Fire in which they shall abide forever”
(2:256-7).
From this perspective, we do not want to impose Islam on anyone, like we do
not want others to impose upon us their convictions and their political systems.
We do not want Islam to govern Lebanon by force, as political Maronism is gov-
erning now.
However, we affirm our conviction in Islam as a doctrine, political system,
intellectual foundation, and mode of governance. We call on all the populace to

1 Primary Documents 44
be conversant with it and its religious injunctions. We also call upon the popu-
lace to adhere to its teachings at the individual, political, and social levels.
If our populace could freely choose the system of government in Lebanon,
then they would definitely opt for Islam. From this standpoint, we call for the
implementation of an Islamic order on the basis of direct and free choice exer-
cised by the populace, and not on the basis of force, as others might entertain…27

Section 10: The bare minimum of our aspirations in Lebanon


On this basis, the bare minimum that we aspire to achieve in order to realize this
religious-legal obligation is the following: saving Lebanon from following East
and West; forcing the Zionist occupation to evict Lebanese land; and adopting
a political system freely chosen by the sheer will and freedom of the populace.28

Section 11: Why do we confront the existing regime?


This is our vision and prediction of the Lebanon we want. Based on this we con-
front the existing regime with the following two standpoints:
1 it is the product of world arrogance and oppression and part of the politi-
cal map that is an adversary to Islam;
2 it is an unjust regime in its very foundations, which is resistant to any
change or reform. Rather it is incumbent upon us to completely uproot
it in conformity with the Qur’anic verse (5:45): “Whoever does not judge
according to what Allah has revealed, those are the evildoers!”29

Section 12: Our stance towards the opposition (to the Lebanese political system30)
From the aforementioned two perspectives, we specify our stance from any
opposition to the Lebanese political system…
We consider any opposition that maneuvers within the specified guidelines
of the regime or those specified by the oppressive world powers to be a scare-
crow opposition that in the end accomplishes nothing since ultimately its inter-
ests converge with the existing regime.
Furthermore, any opposition that maneuvers within the stipulations of
the current Lebanese constitution, and is committed to not affecting a radical
change to the political system, is again a scarecrow opposition that accomplishes
nothing because it does not look after the interests of the oppressed masses.
Thus, we are not concerned with any call of political reform that is based on
[upholding the privileges of] the rotten sectarian system. Likewise, we are not
concerned about the formation of any cabinet or fielding any [Hizbullah] mem-
ber to become a minister, since any governmental ministry is part and parcel of
the oppressive, unjust regime.31

1 The text of Hizbullah’s open letter addressed to the oppressed 45


Section 13: Words to the Christians in Lebanon
You honorable oppressed,
Through you we address in a few words the Christians of Lebanon, in gen-
eral, and the Maronites in particular.
The [discriminatory and unjust] policies followed by the leaders of political
Maronism through the “Lebanese Front”32 and the “Lebanese Forces” cannot
achieve peace and tranquility for the Christians of Lebanon because these poli-
cies are based on tribal blood-ties (‘asabiyya), sectarian privileges, and alliance
with colonial powers and Israel…
The Lebanese predicament has proven that sectarian privileges were the key
source of the great explosion [civil war] that destroyed the country. The [Leba-
nese] Christians’ alliances with America, France, and Israel proved to be of no
avail when they needed their help the most…
The time has come for the fanatic Christians to leave behind their sectarian
bigotry and illusions of monopolizing privileges at the expense of others, and
heed the call of heaven, so that they can have recourse to reason rather than
weapons, [recourse ] to conviction rather than sectarianism…
Jesus is absolved from the massacres committed by the Phalangists in the
name of Christianity; and Prophet Muhammad is absolved from the evils com-
mitted by Muslims who do not abide by the tenets of Islam.
If you review your calculations and know that your interest lies in what you
decide by your own free will, not in what is imposed upon you, then we renew
our call to you: “Say: ‘O People of the Book, come to an equitable world between
you and us, that we worship none but Allah, do not associate anything with Him
and do not set up each other as lords besides Allah’” (3:64).

You Lebanese Christians,


If you cannot bear the Muslims to share with you some domains of gover-
nance… God too has absolved us from participating in an unjust rule that is
neither based upon His religious injunctions, nor upon the divine law (shari‘a)
that has been consummated with the seal of the Prophet [Muhammad]…
If you want justice, then who is more worthy than the God of justice? He is
the one who has revealed the message of Islam from Heaven by dispatching his
prophets to rule among the people with justice and fairness so that every indi-
vidual can claim what is rightfully his…
If you were duped and terrorized into believing that we will chastise those of
you who live in our midst for the crimes that the Phalamgists committed against
us, then rest assured that no one will disturb or trouble you and nothing can
taint the peaceful coexistence among us…
We wish you no evil. We call upon you to adhere to [the message of] Islam
so that you can achieve felicity in this life and the life to come. If you decline, we

1 Primary Documents 46
will not coerce you to do otherwise; rather we only expect you to uphold your
covenants with the Muslims and do not engage in aggression against them.

You Christians…,
Absolve yourselves from the residues of despicable sectarianism; free your
minds from the captivity of bigotry and fanaticism; and open your eyes to what
we call upon you to follow from Islam, in it you will find your success and felic-
ity as well as the goodness in this world and the world to come.
This call is addressed to all oppressed non-Muslims. However, those who
are confessionally classified as Muslims, we call on them to abide by the tenets
of Islam in actual practice [their daily dealings], and absolve themselves from
bigotries that are despised by religion…

We assert to all that this age is the age of victory of Islam and righteousness, and
the defeat of infidelity (kufr), deception, and falsehood (batil)… so follow the
path of righteousness before there comes a time when repentance does not pay
off anymore:

“… Oh! Had I but taken the (straight) path with the Messenger [Prophet Muham-
mad]. Ah! Woe is me! Had I but never taken him for a friend! He led me astray
from the Message (of Allah). Ah! the Evil One [Satan] is but a traitor to man!.. (25:
27-29).33

Section 14: Our story with the world oppressors


You noble oppressed,
Our story with the world oppressors can be summarized in these few words:
We think that the ideological struggle between America and the Soviet Union
is a bygone… both have drastically failed in achieving felicity for mankind since
both capitalism and communism have failed in solving human problems by
establishing a just, balanced society… We believe that this ideological struggle
was replaced by a struggle over obtaining spheres of influence in this world that
serve their ultimate interests and policy perspectives.
Thus, both camps are struggling for material gains and are attempting to
outstrip the oppressed of their natural resources and [historic] rights. From
this stance, we stand firm against any colonial intervention, be it Eastern or
Western… We censure the crimes perpetrated by America in Vietnam, Iran,
Nicaragua, Granada, Palestine, and Lebanon… We condemn the Soviet inva-
sion of Afghanistan, and the interference with Iran’s sovereignty and territorial
integrity through supporting the Iraqi aggression…
Concerning Lebanon and Palestine, we are mainly engaged in facing Amer-
ica because it has the biggest influence among the world’s colonial powers,

1 The text of Hizbullah’s open letter addressed to the oppressed 47


and also Israel which is the product of global Zionism… afterwards we will
concentrate our efforts on fighting the American allies from the NATO forces,
which had implicated themselves in aiding America against the peoples of the
region [Middle East]… We admonish the countries that have not yet followed
the American scheme not to serve the American interest at the expense of the
freedom and interests of our umma.34

Section 15: Israel must be completely wiped out of existence


We consider Israel the spearhead of America in our Islamic world… Israel is a
rapist enemy that we will continue to fight till the raped land is returned to its
[Palestinian] rightful owners…
This enemy [Israel] constitutes a grave and present danger to the future of
our generations and the destiny of our umma because of its expansionist settling
policy, which was initiated in occupied Palestine, and continues to grow and
expand till it comprises Greater Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates…
Our struggle against the rapist Israel emanates from a doctrinal-historical
understanding that affirms that this Zionist entity is aggressive in its founding
and constituency since it is erected on raped land at the expense of Muslim
rights…
That is why our confrontation with this Entity will only cease when it is com-
pletely obliterated from the face of the earth. From this perspective, we do not
recognize any cease-fire, truce, or peace treaty with it, whether arrived at by
individual states or communally.
We vehemently blast all attempts at mediation between us and Israel. We
consider the mediating parties as aggressors because their mediation will only
serve to legitimize the Zionist occupation of Palestine…
On this basis, we vehemently reject the Camp David Agreements [between
Egypt and Israel], the proposals of King Fahd, the Fez [Morocco] and Reagan
plans, Brezhnev’s and the French-Egyptian proposals, and each and every plan
or proposal that serves to legitimize, overtly or covertly, the Zionist occupation
of Palestine or the existence of the Zionist entity.
We condemn all the wayward countries and organizations that are running
after recapitulative solutions with the enemy [Israel] and that agree to the prin-
ciple of “land for peace,” which we consider as a blatant betrayal of the blood of
the Palestinian-Muslim people and the holy Palestinian cause.
From another perspective, the Jewish call that has been recently launched
for settlement in the [occupied] south Lebanon, as well as the immigration of
Ethiopian Jews and others to occupied Palestine, we consider these as part of the
Israeli expansionist project in the Muslim world… and an indicator of the grave
and present danger that results from granting recognition to this Entity [Israel]
or coexisting with it…35

1 Primary Documents 48
Section 16: Escalation in the operations of the Islamic Resistance (against the IDF)
The dignified Islamic Resistance, which has underscored and is still underscor-
ing the best epics of heroism against the occupying Zionist forces [Israeli Army],
has destroyed, with the religious belief of its fighters, the myths of the invincible
Israel. It has put the “Rapist Entity” [Israel] in real trouble due to the daily war of
attrition it waged against its military as well as human and economic resources,
which has led its leaders to concede to the severity of the confrontation they are
facing at the hands of the Muslims [Hizbullahis]…
This Islamic Resistance is destined to continue and grow, God willing. All
Muslims in the world are expected to provide all the support and backing in
order to uproot the “Cancerous Gland” [Israel] and wipe it out of existence. In
conformity with reality, we [Hizbullah] insist and stress the Islamic character of
our Resistance, which is concomitant with its nationalist-patriotic nature.36

Section 17: Appeal for broad Islamic participation


We take the opportunity to call upon all the Muslims in the world to share, with
their brothers in Lebanon, the honor of fighting against the occupying Zionists,
either directly or by supporting the mujahidin (Hizbullah’s freedom fighters)
because it is the responsibility of all the Muslims to do so, and not only the
residents of Jabal ‘Amil and Western Biqa‘ (which were the areas under Israeli
occupation).
The Islamic Resistance was able, with the blood of its martyrs and the jihad of
its heroes, to force the enemy [Israel], for the first time in the history of struggle
against it, to take the decision and withdraw from Lebanon without any Ameri-
can influence. On the contrary, the [Israeli] decision to withdraw led to a real
American concern, and it resulted in a historical overturn in the history of the
struggle against the “rapist Zionists”.
Hizbullah’s freedom fighters have proven that the umma, if left alone to
conduct its own affairs freely, is capable of making miracles, and changing the
illusionary predestination [of defeat].37 It is worth mentioning that the Islamic
Resistance is not only composed of young men whose weapon is the rifle and a
religiously strong will, but also of women, children, and the elderly.38

Section 18: The mercenary politics of the (Lebanese) government and its treach-
erous negotiations
We pay little attention to the occasional boasting of the Lebanese government,
which attempts to delude people that it is supporting the Resistance against the
occupation…
We overtly declare that the [alleged] verbal and media support is a source
of contempt to our populace… Even if some declarations have emanated from
some members of the ruling elite, our informed public cannot be deceived by

1 The text of Hizbullah’s open letter addressed to the oppressed 49


these declarations because they represent the official stance of the Lebanese gov-
ernment, especially since it is unwilling to deploy the (Lebanese) Army in order
to participate in the honor of liberating occupied land…
The contended financial support to the resistance is useless if the money
does not reach Hizbullah’s freedom fighters and is not used to buy ammunition,
weaponry, and the like…
Our populace rejects the mercenary policies [the Lebanese government is
engaged in] at the expense of the Resistance. There will come a day, when all
of those – who debased and “traded” with the blood of the heroic martyrs and
built for themselves glories at the expense of the mujahidin’s wounds – will be
brought to justice.
We can only assert that the policy of negotiations with the enemy [Israel]
is a grave treason towards the Resistance that the Lebanese state contends to
stand by and support… The insistence of the Lebanese government to join the
negotiations with the enemy can only be regarded as a conspiracy aiming at
acknowledging the Zionist occupation and according it legitimacy as well as
privilege for the crimes it committed against the oppressed in Lebanon…
The Islamic Resistance, which has openly declared its unwillingness to abide
by any outcome resulting from the negotiations, stresses the continuity of jihad
until the Zionists evacuate the occupied lands, which is seen as a step in the
right direction to obliterate them from the face of the earth.39

Section 19: International forces and their suspicious role


The International Forces that the world oppressors are trying to deploy on Mus-
lim lands – in the areas that the enemy withdraws from, so that it makes up a
security zone that protects Israel and shelters its occupying forces derailing the
movements of the Resistance – are totally rejected as condemned conspirators
with Israel… we might be compelled to treat them as we engage with the Zionist
occupying forces…
May everyone know that the commitments of the Phalangist regime [to Isra-
el] are totally rejected and are unbinding, in any way whatsoever, for the free-
dom fighters of the Islamic Resistance [who wash their hands of these commit-
ments]… These countries [which sent their forces to Lebanon] have to deeply
think before they indulge in the quicksand that Israel has drowned itself in.40

Section 20: Defeatist Arab Regimes


Concerning the Arab regimes which are running after reconciliation with the
Zionist enemy, these regimes are impotent and short-sighted in accompanying
the ambitions and aspirations of the umma… These regimes cannot think of
confronting the Zionist entity that raped Palestine because they were founded

1 Primary Documents 50
under colonial guardianship, which had a great role in the shaping of these rusty
regimes…
Some reactionary rulers, especially those in the oil-producing countries, do
not hesitate to make of their countries military bases for America and Britain.
They are not ashamed of being dependent on foreign experts whom they appoint
in official high places. They abide by and execute what the “White House” [US
administration] dictates to them, especially the policies of getting out the natu-
ral resources and the riches (of their countries) and distributing them to the
colonizers, using all possible means (to accomplish that)…
Some of those who claim to be the guardians of the Islamic Shari‘a [The Saudi
regime] employ this claim to cover up their treason as well as to find a pretext
for their yielding to the US administration. At the same time, they [The Saudi
regime] vehemently ban and prohibit any revolutionary Islamic book… [A ref-
erence to Imam Khumayni’s books]
As a result of the defeatist policy employed by these reactionary regimes
towards Israel, the latter was able to convince a lot of them that it has become
fait accompli and that there is no way out save to recognize it and concede the
need to its demand of providing it security…
This policy of yielding encouraged the deceased Sadat to commit a grave
treason by reconciling with Israel and signing a disgraceful peace treaty… This
policy of yielding governs and constrains the movement of the Gulf Coop-
eration Council (GCC), and the Jordanian-Egyptian axis, Iraq, and the Arafati
Organization [i.e. the PLO]…
The defeatist policy in front of America directs the attitude of the reactionary
rulers concerning the aggressive war imposed on the Islamic Republic of Iran…
It stands behind the unlimited financial, economic, and military support the
agent Saddam Husayn is showered with. They [the US] think that the Takriti
[Tikrit is Saddam’s hometown] Zionist regime can annihilate the Islamic Revo-
lution and can stop the emanation of its revolutionary light and ideals.
This defeatist policy pushes reactionary regimes to make the people ignorant;
to brainwash them and make their Islamic personality wither away; to repress
any Islamic mobilization that is against America and its allies in these coun-
tries. The defeatist policy also makes the reactionary governments fearful of the
vigilance of the oppressed, banning them from interfering in its political affairs
because it possesses a grave danger for the survival of these regimes, especially
since the populace is aware of the corruption of its governments and its suspect-
ed relations/linkages [with other states], as well as the sympathy this populace
shows towards liberation movements in all parts of the Islamic world as well as
the world at large…
We find in these reactionary Arab regimes an impediment against the
increase in consciousness raising and the unity of the Islamic populace. We con-

1 The text of Hizbullah’s open letter addressed to the oppressed 51


sider them [reactionary Arab regimes] responsible for stalling the attempts to
keep the wound open and the struggle with the Zionist enemy going on…
We have huge hope in the Muslim populace that obviously started to com-
plain, in most Islamic countries, and was able to benefit from experiences of the
world’s revolutions, especially the victorious Islamic Revolution… The day will
come when these barely standing [Arab] regimes will fall under the fist of the
oppressed, like the throne of despotism [the Shah’s monarchy] had collapsed in
Iran.
We are fighting a ferocious battle against America and Israel and their plans
for the region [Middle East]. We warn these reactionary [Arab] regimes not
to work against the dominant reformist current in the umma, which is against
colonialism and Zionism. These [reactionary Arab regimes] have to learn from
the Islamic resistance in Lebanon grand lessons in the persistence of fighting the
enemy in order to completely defeat it.
We warn these regimes against being engaged in new defeatist projects, or in
aggressive projects targeting the young Islamic Revolution… because that will
lead these regimes to the same fate that was accorded to Anwar al-Sadat, and
before him Nur al-Sa‘id.41

Section 21: International front for the oppressed


We turn our attention to all the Arab and Muslim populace in order to declare
to them that the experience of the Muslims in Islamic Iran does not leave a pre-
text to anyone, because it has proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that bare
chests that are driven by a faithful volition, with the great aid of God, were able
to break all the iron [power] of the tyrannical regimes…
That is why we call upon this populace to unify their ranks, plan their objec-
tives, mobilize to break the chains that engulf its volition, and overthrow the
despotic collaborating governments [with the “enemy”].
We exhort all the oppressed in the world to the necessity of forming an inter-
national front comprised of all their liberation movements in order to fully
coordinate their efforts so that an efficient action will transpire, thus concen-
trating on the weaknesses of the enemies…
So if the colonizing countries and regimes have shown a consensus on fight-
ing the oppressed… so the oppressed must bond together in order to face the
conceit of the world oppressors.
All the oppressed populace, especially the Arab and Islamic ones, should
understand that only Islam is capable of becoming the intellectual foundation or
thinking that is capable of resisting and confronting the aggression because all
man-made ideologies have been disbanded forever in the interest of the deter-
rence among the Americans and the Soviets as well as others.

1 Primary Documents 52
The time has come to be cognizant of the fact that all foreign ideas, concern-
ing the origin of man and his instinct, are incapable of answering his ambitions
or saving him from the darkness of ignorance and waywardness…
Only Islam leads to man’s reform, progress, and creativity because “it is kin-
dled from a blessed olive tree, neither of the East nor the West. Its oil will almost
shine, even if no fire has touched it. Light upon light, Allah guides to His light
whomever He pleases…” (24:35).42

Section 22: God is with the unity of the Muslims


A call on the Muslim populace:
Be aware of the malignant colonial discord (fitna) that aims at rupturing your
unity in order to spread sedition among you and enflame Sunni-Shi‘a sectarian
feelings.
Be knowledgeable that colonialism was not able to control the natural
resources and riches of the Muslims except after breaking up their unity… incit-
ing Sunnis against the Shi‘as and vice versa. Later on the colonizers left this
mission of spreading dissention among the Muslims to their collaborators, be it
the governing elite, the corrupt Muslim religious scholars (state jurists), or the
feudal leaders (zu‘ama).
God is with the unity of the Muslims… It is the rock that breaks all the con-
spiracies of the oppressors; it is the hammer that crushes the evil schemes of the
oppressors…
Do not allow the policy of “divide and rule” to be practiced among you; rath-
er fight it by recourse to the Qur’an:

“And hold fast to Allah’s bond [His religion], all of you, and do not fall apart. And
remember Allah’s grace upon you; how you were enemies, then He united your
hearts [by becoming Muslims] so that you have become, by His grace, brethren.
You were on the brink of the pit of Fire, but He saved you from it”. (3:103).
“Those who have made divisions in their religion and become sects, thou art not
of them in anything” (6:159).43

Section 23: (An appeal/call to the) ‘ulama of Islam


You Muslim ‘ulama,
You have a grave responsibility, as grave as the calamities that strike the Mus-
lims… You are the best in conducting your duty of leading the umma towards
Islam… And in alerting it to what the enemies are plotting in order to control
and enslave it as well as rob it of its treasures…
No wonder you are conversant that the Muslims look upon you as bearers of
the Prophet’s trust (amana) in your capacity as successors to the prophets and
messengers… So be the hope and the good lead in overtly calling for right and

1 The text of Hizbullah’s open letter addressed to the oppressed 53


standing up against the tyrants and despots. Be the lead in austerity, the passion
to [go to] Heaven, and martyrdom in the way of God…
You have the good lead of Prophet Muhammad who used to share hunger
and satisfaction with the people; he used to lead the prayer at the Mosque; he
used to lead the populace in jihad…
He used to guide the people in missions; they used to get warmth from his
guidance and in being around him; they followed him being assured and com-
forted…

You Muslim ‘ulama,


Imam Khumayni repeatedly stressed the need to rectify, reform, and refine
the self, before rectifying, reforming, and refining others and the world at large.
He said on more than one occasion that if people knew that a shopkeeper is dis-
honest and immoral, then they say that Mr. X is dishonest and immoral; if they
found out that a merchant is cheating them, then they say that Mr. X is a cheater;
however, if they knew that a Muslim religious scholar (‘alim), God forbid, is not
upright, then they would generalize and say that all religious scholars are not
upright (tainted) and the religion (Islam) as a whole is not upright.44

You Muslim ‘ulama,


For this and other reasons… You have a grave responsibility, so invoke God
in order to be able to conduct it in a proper way, and invoke Him with the calling
of Imam ‘Ali: “God, we do not ask you [to take] a small burden, rather we ask
you to be a strong bulwark supporting us”. Then the umma will respond to your
call, guidance, and leadership.
Be knowledgeable about the importance of your position in the umma
because the colonizer has known its importance. That is why the colonizer has
vehemently targeted the ‘ulama al-mujahidin… so the colonizer prepared a
devilish conspiracy to conceal Imam Musa al-Sadr after recognizing him as an
impediment hurdling the colonizer’s aggressive plans… The colonizer killed the
Islamic philosopher Ayatullah Murtada Mutahhari45… and executed the grand
Islamic marja‘ Ayatullah Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr46 because the colo-
nizer felt the danger of his stance, which was personalized in these words: “Melt
in Imam Khumayni as Islam has melted in you”. That is why the colonizer is
stalking and ambushing every religious scholar who is executing his Islamic
duty to the best of his knowledge.
From another perspective, the colonizer started to penetrate the Muslims
with state jurists who do not fear God. They make religious edicts (fatwas)
where there is no place for fatwas; therefore, they sanction peace with Israel,
prohibit fighting it, and find excuses for the treason of tyrant rulers…

1 Primary Documents 54
The colonizer would not have done that without [knowing] the important
impact a religious scholar has on the people…
That is why, one of your most important responsibilities, for you Muslim
‘ulama, is to nurture the Muslims to abide by the religious injunctions, to clarify
to them the righteous political path that they should follow, and to lead them to
glory and honor… Also you have to take care of the religious seminaries so that
the umma can graduate leaders who are faithful to God and who are committed
to the victory of the religion and the umma.47

Section 24: A final word regarding international organizations


Finally, there is a need for a few words concerning international organizations
such as the UN, the Security Council and others…
We note that these organizations do not constitute a podium for the oppressed
nations, and in general, they remain ineffective and inefficient due to the proce-
dural hegemony and domination of the world oppressors on its decisions…
The veto right, which is accorded to some countries, is a testimony to what
we say…
From this perspective, we do not predict these organizations to issue any-
thing serving the interests of the oppressed. We call on all the countries that
respect themselves to adopt a resolution banning the right of veto, which is
accorded to the oppressor countries…
We also call on all countries to adopt a resolution to fire Israel from the UN
because it is an illegitimate-rapist entity, which is opposed to humanity at large.
You will free the oppressed…
These are our visions and goals, and these are the basic regulations that guide
our path…
There are those who have wholeheartedly and righteously accepted us [our
discourse], God is the only Truth; and there are those who have contested our
views. We patiently await till God has judged us, and the oppressors (al-qawm
al-zalimin).

May God’s blessings and peace be upon all of you,


Hizbullah48

1 The text of Hizbullah’s open letter addressed to the oppressed 55


2 Hizbullah: Views and Concepts, Manar TV, Beirut, 20
June 199749

Introduction
Freedom, rights, justice and peace are essential values for any society to rise and
develop. Freedom is the basis for this rise, while justice cannot be applied with-
out rights, and peace is inaccessible with the exclusion of justice.
Adopting and practicing these human values requires commitment and
credibility, for they make one importable whole; freedom cannot be enjoyed by
one group and denied to another, right should not prevail here and be paralyzed
there; if abated, justice turns into injustice; peace cannot be achieved unless it is
comprehensive.
These values have been established by the divine religions, the clearest and
most comprehensive of which has been Islam, whether in theoretical or practi-
cal conception.

Hizbullah-Lebanon
Hizbullah-Lebanon is an organized striving current that has been established
on the basis of its commitment to the above-mentioned values, seeking with
its noble religious and national struggle to achieve these values in Lebanon and
the region and to eliminate all the artificial barriers that would obstruct that
purpose.
Hizbullah has faithfully, courageously and persistently resisted the Zionist
invasion of Lebanon and prevented it from achieving its political objectives that
were represented at that time by dominating this small country and establishing
a political regime whose decision was to be controlled by the desires of the racist
Zionist Jews.
In order to liberate the occupied land, maintain the national dignity and
materialize these values, Hizbullah has sacrificed hundreds of martyrs, injured
and disabled as an act of faith in the legitimacy of its resistance against the
usurping invaders.

Hizbullah between Peace and Violence


Hizbullah has a strong belief in the necessity of achieving the security and peace
that are based on rights and justice in Lebanon, the region and the world. Con-
sequently, it rejects all forms of aggression and terrorism; at the same time Hiz-
bullah views the Zionist Jews’ occupation of Palestine, displacing its people and
establishing the entity of Israel on its usurped land, as the living materialization
of the most hideous kinds of aggression and organized terrorism that is sup-
ported by the USA, the sponsor of international terrorism, and some other states
that claim to be democratic and protecting human rights whilst they support

1 Primary Documents 56
Israel that was founded on invasion, killing and bloodshed, besides its daily vio-
lations of human rights in Lebanon and Palestine.
Hizbullah does not believe it is right for some people in the world to view
the Zionist Jewish occupation as accepted violence and terrorism, while they
condemn the counter-violence, which is a natural human reaction to the Zionist
violence and terrorism.

Hizbullah and the Resistance


Hizbullah has benefited from the experiences of the nations and peoples of the
world and read the history of the French people’s resistance against the Nazi
occupation, and the resistance of the American people against the colonialists
as well; it saw how the free world countries and the peoples of the world respect
these resistances and annually commemorate their memory because they had
expressed the will of freedom and the longing for rights, justice and peace.
When Hizbullah in Lebanon resists the Zionist Jewish occupation lying
heavily on its soil in the South and West Biqa‘, it is exercising its legitimate and
sacred right that was once exercised by the French and American peoples.
Considering Hizbullah’s resistance to the Zionist Jewish occupation as “ter-
rorism” is a kind of injustice, discrimination, besides being a renunciation of the
Bill of Human Rights and the Charter of the United Nations.
Therefore, we call on the peoples of the world to distinguish between aggres-
sion, which is none other than terrorism, and the honest resistance that is the
only way to deter the aggression and confront the terrorism resulting from that
aggression. Israel is an aggressive entity that practices terrorism; occupation is
one of the forms of terrorism. Hizbullah of Lebanon is a popular resisting trend
against occupation and terrorism.

Hizbullah and Dialogue


Hizbullah observes the creed of the genuine Muhammadan Islam and the sub-
lime human values emanating from it. This observance arises from ideological
conviction that is established with proofs and evidence and does not originate
from emotional liking or sectarian, denominational or racial group spirit. Since
reason is the source of this observance, Hizbullah has always been ready to have
dialogue with others over its convictions and creeds or even its method and
positions; Hizbullah does not seek to impose its convictions on anyone, as it
does not like anyone to impose their convictions on it. It is attached to having
mutual understanding with the others. It does not think of annulling anyone,
as it does not accept anyone to annul it. Therefore, continuing and incessant
dialogue is the best way to rectify visions and positions; it is also a feature of
Hizbullah.

2 Hizbullah: Views and Concepts, Manar TV, Beirut, 20 June 1997 57


Hizbullah and the Political System in Lebanon
Lebanon’s political system, which is based on the principle of political confes-
sionalism, can never achieve justice or realize rights and peace. Perhaps one of
the most important reasons for the civil war that broke out in 1975 lies within the
confessional tendency that had been established by the political system.
The Ta’if Charter of National Reconciliation did not resolve this dilemma, but
rather established it and redistributed the sectarian quotas anew. This implies a
foundation for a future crisis.
That document, nevertheless, is viewed by Hizbullah as a bridge to transfer
Lebanon from the stage of bloody conflicts to a new stage of internal peace that
we, Hizbullah, very strongly and definitely desire.
In spite of that, it wil never stop us looking forward to more change and
development in the Lebanese political system in order to abolish the abhorred
sectarian discrimination and achieve justice among the citizens.

Hizbullah and Human Rights


It is axiomatic to say that Hizbullah considers, as its religious task, serving
human beings, protecting their rights, maintaining their interest, and exerting
effort to provide them with the requirements of a dignified life and developing
their society.
If the existing regimes are remiss in fulfilling their duties toward that human
being, Hizbullah has efficiently contributed in providing humanitarian services
to the citizens in various Lebanese areas without discrimination between one
citizen and another, or one sect and another.
These services have included many domains; some of them are restoring
damaged buildings, farming guidance, providing utilities for the lowest cost
prices and sometimes for free, providing medical care and hospitalization at
the health care centers that are distributed in the areas and in private hospitals,
providing primary and intermediate schooling, providing needy students with
scholarships to continue their college schooling plus providing them with scien-
tific orientation, and securing fresh water for the neighborhoods that the public
water network does not reach.
However, the most important human right that Hizbullah sacrifices blood
and lives for is the right of the Lebanese to their land and to determine the
political system they desire.

1 Primary Documents 58
3 Statement of Purpose: Hizbullah Press Office, 20
March 199850

Hizbullah is an Islamic freedom-fighting movement founded after the Israeli


military seizure of Lebanon in 1982, which resulted in the immediate formation
of the Islamic Resistance units for the liberation of the occupied territories and
for the expulsion of the aggressive Israeli forces (IDF).
In addition to shouldering the burden of resisting the Israeli occupation as
is stated by the International Bill of Human Rights, Hizbullah is also concerned
with the presentation of Islam which addresses the mind and reason. Hizbullah
is concerned with presenting Islam as being confident of its fundamentals, with
a highly civilized understanding of man, life and the universe, and self-assured
about its capability to achieve the basis of rights and justice. Without subjec-
tion or bewilderment, we are anxious to present Islam as being open-hearted
to all countries, irrespective of their different political and cultural trends and
experiences. We are anxious to present Islam as being the guardian of human
rights, defining choices, adopting convictions and socially expressing them. We
opt for the use of political lobbying in education, pedagogy, medical care and
other social benefits promulgated in the Bill of Human Rights. We are anxious
to define the priorities for our cultural project that utilizes persuasiveness and
polarization through civilized and human methods as stated in the Bill of the
Human Rights. Without using force and without coercion, we are anxious to
offer a model of how to perform in a struggle targeting the enemy, which rep-
resents a challenge for the existence of the whole nation (umma), along with its
regimes and people. We also circumvent conflicts that do not serve the main
aim of fighting the enemy, or that could create discord at the battlefront, which
should be unified through common interests. The hope is to rid ourselves of the
pressuring threats practiced by the foreign Zionist Entity, which has been thrust
upon the Islamic and the Arab contemporary nation. It should be clear that the
kind of Islam we want is a civilized endeavor that rejects injustice, humiliation,
slavery, subjugation, colonialism and blackmail, while we stretch our arms for
communication among countries on the basis of mutual respect. The Islam we
mean is the religion that never accepts control or delegation by others for the
sake of manipulating the rights and the interests of the nation. The Islam we
mean is the religion that recommends communication among civilizations and
rejects divisive collisions between those civilizations. An Islam that believes in
cultural communication among nations, refuses to set up barriers and embar-
goes, and sees that it is our right to remove those barriers by diplomatic means.
However, when others intend to launch wars against Islam, Hizbullah finds it a
natural right to defend itself whilst protecting its constituency.

Statement of Purpose: Hizbullah Press Office, 20 March 1998 59


Islam as we understand it is a message that aims at establishing justice, secu-
rity, peace and rights for all people, no matter to which country, race or reli-
gion they belong. We do not have any complexes toward others, but we feel
the responsibility toward them, to make them understand the essence of our
religion free from obligation and fanaticism.
We do not seek the application of Islam by force or violence, but by peaceful
political action, which gives the majority in any society the opportunity to adopt
or reject it. If Islam becomes the choice of the majority, then we will apply it; if
not, we will continue to coexist and discuss with others until we reach a com-
mon ground based upon correct beliefs.
We hereby affirm that our Islam rejects violence as a means to gain power,
and we believe this should also be the modus operandi for the non-Islamists as
well.

4 Hizbullah: Identity and Goals51 (August 2004)

Hizbullah is an Islamic struggle (jihadi) movement. Its emergence is based on


ideological, social, political, and economic factors in a special Lebanese, Arab,
and Islamic context.
As a result of this background, Hizbullah passed through various decisive
moments in its history; the most important being 1982, the year of the Zionist
invasion of Lebanon. This invasion led to the occupation of the capital Beirut,
making it the second Arab capital after Jerusalem to be occupied during the
Arab-“Israeli” conflict. This milestone speeded up the emergence of Hizbullah
as a struggle movement that is wholly dedicated to the long, complicated, and
complex fight against the Zionist enemy. The starting point of that struggle was
the Zionist occupation of Palestine, and it then went on to occupy parts of Arab
countries such as Egypt, Syria and Jordan, and it ended up with occupying Leba-
non. All of this led to the establishment of the identity of Hizbullah as a struggle
movement against the Zionists. Many social, economic, political and cultur-
al ideals of the Shi‘ites in Lebanon were also desicive factors that came into
play. Another very important factor that further developed Hizbullah was the
establishment of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, which was led by the late Imam
Khumayni. This revolution consolidated new concepts in the field of Islamic
political thought, mainly the concept of Wilayat Al-Faqih. The Revolution also
devised Islamic/Qur’anic concepts against the West such as “arrogance”, the
“Great Satan”, “hypocrites”, and the “oppressed”.
Historic ties between Iranian and Lebanese Shi‘ites have been consolidated
on doctrinal, religious, ideological, and social grounds. It is well-known that
Iran hosts the second most important religious seminary of the Shi‘ites in Qum;

1 Primary Documents 60
the first being the Najaf seminary in Iraq. However after the victory of the
Islamic Revolution, Qum became the number one Shi‘ite seminary in the world.
Due to that, it was only natural for the ideological doctrine in Iran to take
root in Lebanon. This bond was very quickly translated on the ground by direct
support from the Islamic Republic of Iran through dispatching its Revolution-
ary Guards to aid Hizbullah that was resisting the “Israeli” occupation.
This religious and ideological tie between Hizbullah and Iran following the
1979 Revolution, with its rejectionist stance towards the Zionist Entity, had
a great tangible and moral effect on Hizbullah. This support speeded up the
acknowledgement of making Hizbullah one of the leading struggle movements
against the Zionists, to the extent that in 1985 Hizbullah had hardly any con-
tenders.
It was not by sheer coincidence that Hizbullah turned into a struggle move-
ment against the “Israeli” occupation because Hizbullah’s ideological ideals
grant no legitimacy to the existence of “Israel”, the existential enemy to all the
Arabs and Muslims.52 Thus, the conflict became one of legitimacy that is based
on religious ideals. The seed of resistance is also sowed deep in the ideological
beliefs of Hizbullah, a belief that is expressed in the struggle against the Zionist
occupation of Lebanon. And that is why we also find the slogan of the liberation
of Jerusalem rooted deeply in the ideals of Hizbullah. Another one of its ideals
is the establishment of the Islamic Republic53.
The Islamic Resistance was able to direct very painful blows to the Zionist
enemy, forcing it gradually to withdraw. One of the principal withdrawals was
that of 1985 leading up to the withdrawal from the Christian area of Jezzine,
which finally left the enemy with no choice but to withdraw completely as a
means to solve its problems.
Hizbullah also used one of its own special types of resistance against the
Zionist enemy, namely the suicide attacks (“martyrdom operations”). These
attacks dealt great losses to the enemy on all thinkable levels: militarily, men-
tally, and psychologically. The attacks also raised the morale across the whole
Islamic nation (umma).
It is also of vital importance to state here that the Resistance gained high
credibility and recognition amongst the people and in all official statuses, both
locally and internationally. The US also once stated that the Resistance is a justi-
fied movement in facing the “Israeli” occupation.54
The Resistance also established an internal national axis in a way that was
never witnessed in Lebanon before. This matter is of vital interest when we
notice how Lebanon is divided into various religions, sects, ideologies, societies,
cultures, etc.
Today, Hizbullah is one of the most prominent Lebanese political parties that
has its presence in the parliament (with eight MP s).

Hizbullah: Identity and goals (August 2004) 61


Hizbullah today also commands respect politically after it proved its power-
ful presence through a high level of efficiency measured by rationalism, stead-
fastness, and high moral values aimed at respecting the values of others. This
made Hizbullah inaugurate innovative political processes.
Hizbullah is also committed to introducing the true picture of Islam, the
Islam that is logical, and to introducing the civilized Islam to humanity.
Hizbullah is committed to introducing the Islam that is confident in achiev-
ing justice, as well as introducing the Islam that protects all human rights. It
is committed to introducing the Islam that supports education and that offers
medical support. Hizbullah also has its own cultural plan to attract and con-
vince others through civilized and humanitarian means as specified in human
rights laws, free from any use of violence or coercion.
It should also be clear that the kind of Islam that Hizbullah seeks is a civilized
one that refuses any kind of oppression, degradation, subjugation and coloniza-
tion. Hizbullah reaches out its arm of friendship to all on the basis of mutual
self-respect.
The Islamic path that Hizbullah follows is one that aims to establish peace
and justice to all humanity, irrespective of race or religion. Hizbullah does not
have a problem with anyone, but it feels responsible to clarify the true Islam
without fanaticism.
Hizbullah does not wish to implement Islam forcibly, but rather in a peaceful
and political manner, which gives the majority the chance to either accept or
refuse it. If Islam becomes the choice of the majority, only then will it be imple-
mented. If not, it will then continue to coexist with others on the basis of mutual
understanding using peaceful methods to reach peaceful solutions. And that is
how the case should be for the non-Islamists as well.

1 Primary Documents 62
2 Election Programs

1 Hizbullah’s 1992 Parliamentary Elections Program1


(my translation)

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate

“Those who, if we establish them firmly in the land, will perform the prayer, give
the alms, command the good and prohibit evil. To Allah belongs the outcome of
all affairs” (22:41).2

From the stance of our legal (shar‘i) responsibility towards our oppressed
people in Lebanon, that gives due concern to the populace’s grand destining
causes and its neglected daily demands; in light of a deep-conscientious read-
ing to the nature of the degrading situation in Lebanon, and the changes in the
international arena and their domestic impact, and the need to stand up against
conspiracies that are being contrived against the land, rights, and dignities of
our populace; based on a realistic diagnosis of the clear and possible dangers
as well as the opportunities available to the Islamists in order to take a leading
role, while avoiding slippery slopes, in the path to fortify the Islamic project,
and consolidate its steps and fruits; in harmony with the jurisprudential (fiqhi)
stipulations that, for us, act as a guide and an authority of emulation (marja‘)…
In conveying our gratitude to the righteous expression of our populace’s aspi-
rations, pains and hopes; from the stance of the people’s trust in Hizbullah’s
integrity and its great sacrifices, and its vigilance for public interest, and its prin-
cipled stance.
We [Hizbullah] made up our mind, relying on God, and decided to partici-
pate in electoral politics on the basis of a comprehensive political program, in

63
which our candidates are obliged to do their utmost best to put it [political pro-
gram] into operation, asking our populace to support it and follow up on it.3

The dignified Lebanese,


The loyal oppressed,
In this sensitive and grave period of the history of our wounded country; in
the midst of grand international changes that ravaged our existence and led to
the collapse of regimes and changed the features of policies and alliances; at the
time when the Zionist enemy [Israel] is still occupying a beloved section of our
country, the South and the Biqa‘, portraying the ugliest pictures of conquest and
extortion, while the project of the oppressors, spearheaded by the US, continues
its bet on subduing Lebanon and the region [Middle East] in order to seal the
deal of recognition in the legitimacy of the Zionist Entity, and normalize rela-
tions with it, thus fusing the cultural identity of the people of the region and
tying its destiny to the [market] economy and Western mode of production
and what it leads to in the sense of plundering riches and natural resources, the
imposition of regimes, and the execution of programs [policies and plans].4
In these circumstances, Lebanon has embarked upon the preparation for the
first parliamentary elections in twenty years. The Lebanese are facing an enor-
mous historical eventuality that will paint the future picture of the general polit-
ical situation in the country, be it on the level of the building of a new [political]
system, or on the level of its role, performance, and relations.
And if it is assumed that the performance of the parliamentary elections
will be conducive to finding a new formula for the [political] system that repels
political sectarianism and builds the foundations of a state that personifies the
will of the Lebanese people, then Hizbullah’s decision to participate, with its
brothers and friends, in these elections is based on perpetual principled politi-
cal convictions, enforced by the blood of its martyrs, and the suffering and pain
of its prisoners of war, detainees, wounded, families of the martyrs, and the
oppressed; Hizbullah has sacrificed for these [principles and convictions] its
best cadres and holy warriors (mujahidin), led by the leader of the martyrs of
the Islamic resistance, Sayyid Abbas al-Musawi and his wife and child, and the
Shaykh of the martyrs, Shaykh Raghib Harb, and Al-Sayyid the martyr Abdu-
latif al-Amin, and the Shaykh of the prisoners of war and the detainees, Shaykh
Abd al-Karim ‘Ubayd, and others from the heroes of the caravan of martyrdom
and resistance who expelled the Zionist Occupation5 and enforced on it defeat
and withdrawal, without any conditions, setting a precedent in the history of
conflict against it, thus regaining for the umma the hope of victory and con-
fidence in itself. It also gave Lebanon a chance to catch its breath and solve its
plight away from direct Zionist [Israeli] intervention.

2 Election Programs 64
These convictions became embedded in our peoples’ souls, rendering them
[convictions] a daily jihadi and political path, which revolves around two basic
objectives:
1 Lebanon’s liberation from the Zionist occupation and from the oppressors’
influence and following.
2 The abolishment of political sectarianism.

Hizbullah had a leading role in accomplishing important steps towards the real-
ization of these two goals. And Hizbullah has to continue, with the coopera-
tion of other faithful [dedicated people], the necessary steps in order to achieve
total liberation [the total withdrawal of the Israeli army from Lebanon] and
strengthen the path to domestic peace, on the basis of political consensus, away
from the despicable sectarian strife and narrow zealous partisanship and fanati-
cism; the removal of the traces of the devastating [civil] war, and objectively,
constructively, and responsibly address its causes and consequences so that no
party can feel duped, and so that privileges will not be accorded to any group [at
the expense of another].
Today, as Hizbullah embarks on participating in the parliamentary elec-
tions in Lebanon, it [Hizbullah] is trying to elevate the level of political work by
selecting its nominees for the elections both on the basis of merit and a political
program that is dedicated, in full honesty and seriousness, to addressing and
solving people’s problems. Hizbullah’s responsible performance materializes in
paying perpetual attention to accord the best care to the interests and the causes
of the people, from the stance of its [Hizbullah’s] integrity in [honoring] word
and deed as well as fidelity in securing people’s rights and defending their rights,
honor, and dignity.
Hizbullah’s nominees have no desire to compete with others over power,
wealth, or material possessions; rather, they want to be dedicated to a religious
duty (taklif shar‘i) in front of God, in order to preserve the country, uphold the
interests of the people, and achieve the objectives that the holy warriors and the
martyrs fought for.
From this stance, they [Hizbullah’s nominees] are committed to perpetual,
industrious work, both within the confines of the parliament and outside it, in
order to achieve the following objectives in the different domains:

On the general political stance:

First: The Resistance


The conservation of a unified Lebanon that belongs to the civilized world, espe-
cially its Islamic-Arab milieu, requires our [Hizbullah’s] serious commitment to
the Resistance as an alternative against the Zionist occupation until the libera-

1 Hizbullah’s 1992 Parliamentary Elections Program 65


tion of all the occupied soil, especially as it has been proven on the ground that
the Resistance is capable of foiling the conqueror’s [Israeli] plans, whose aim
is to impose a political reality that is against the interest of Lebanon and the
Lebanese. It has become crystal clear that the Resistance is the only choice that
is capable of standing up to the enemy and its extortions. In addition, the Resis-
tance stands for the right way of liberating Lebanon and upholding its unity and
the unity of its people.
This choice [of Resistance] requires the endeavor to achieve the following:
A To be committed to the alternative of the Resistance by supporting the
fighters, backing up their ways of jihad, and embracing them and granting
them popular and governmental support.
B To found programs that develop the capabilities to defend our populace
and erect a withstanding resistance society (mujtama‘ al-muqawama)6
on all levels and domains, especially in the South and Western Biqa‘ [the
occupied areas at the time].
C The Lebanese state, with all its institutions, especially the army, should
contribute to the operation of liberation and the defense of the land, the
people, and the dignities.
D Accordingly, serious and practical attention should be paid to the occu-
pied “Security Zone”, and all necessary measures should be taken in order
to foil the Zionist normalization project.
E To exhort the Lebanese government to secure the lives of the families that
have either lost their breadwinners or whose breadwinners have became
permanently handicapped in the detention camps or as a result of Zionist
aggressions.
F To stand up firmly against and to condemn every attempt of normaliza-
tion of relations or establishing peace with the “Zionist Entity”, which, in
the first place, is founded upon aggression and raping other people’s land.

Second: The abolishment of political sectarianism7


Political sectarianism is one of the gravest ills in the corruption of the system in
Lebanon. It is also the result behind all cultural, political, security, social, and
developmental misfortunes and disasters that have plagued the Lebanese peo-
ple. It also offered the malignant entry to the oppressive greedy forces to inter-
fere in domestic Lebanese issues and jeopardize Lebanon’s future and destiny.
The first duties of Hizbullah’s nominees is to follow up the conducive efforts, in
cooperation with all friends and loyal ones, to abolish it [political sectarianism],
during the first constitutional cycle of the new parliament.8

2 Election Programs 66
Third: The electoral law
Amending the electoral law so that it will be more representative of the popu-
lace, by adopting the following two measures:
1 Lebanon as one election district.
2 Reducing the age of voting to 18.

Fourth: Political and media freedoms


– Secure the freedom of belief and practicing religious rituals and rites, as
well as respect the sanctity of Abrahamic religions.
– Enact laws that guarantee the freedom of political work.
– Organize the media within the following framework:
A Harmonization between the media, on the one hand, and Lebanon’s
[Arab-Muslim] cultural identity, on the other.
B Abide by the sanctity of public conduct and morals.
C Preserve the right of private media [institutions] to work within the
points suggested above [A and B], without any government guardian-
ship [censorship].

Fifth: The nationality


– Enact a modern naturalization law based on meritocracy, rather than sec-
tarianism and favoritism.
– Grant the Lebanese nationality to the residents of the “Seven Villages” and
the Arabs of Wadi Khaled.9

Sixth: The displaced


– Secure the full return of all the displaced.10
– Find [conducive] solutions to the displaced of the “Security Zone”.
– Set up a comprehensive developmental plan targeting all the geographical
areas where the displaced are present.

Seventh: Administrative, social, and educational issues


The need to fix and reform the infrastructure of the country in the adminis-
trative, educational, social, and developmental domains. In addition, to con-
structively address many pressing issues along these lines; issues which call for
a convergence of efforts in order to be accomplished.

First: At the administrative level:


A Abolish the sectarian factor in public and private jobs and appointments.
B Merit and open examinations should be used as a basis for selecting
employees instead of favoritism.

1 Hizbullah’s 1992 Parliamentary Elections Program 67


C Periodic rehabilitation of employees according to the demands of techno-
logical advancement.
D Increase the effectiveness of administrative inspection.

Second: On the developmental level:


A Protect the domestic produce; support the agricultural and industrial sec-
tors by developing individual capabilities and providing external markets.
B Develop the infrastructure of the oppressed [deprived] areas; enhance the
lines of transportation, communication, electricity, and water.
C Secure job opportunities for all the Lebanese and protect the working
force.
D Support animal produce, help fishermen, and encourage handicrafts.
E Agricultural guidance; the inauguration of agricultural centers, coopera-
tives, and laboratories.
F Develop deprived areas in order to reach the level of flourishing areas in
Lebanon; after that accomplish a balanced development.

Third: On the educational and cultural levels:


A Reinforce public education in all its stages and sectors, especially voca-
tional education.
B Realize mandatory education, at least till the middle level [preparatory for
high school].
C Buttress the Lebanese University, in particular the faculties of applied
sciences.
D Sponsor those who excel, and consolidate research at the [Lebanese]
University.
E Rewrite the history [school] books based on an objective curriculum, and
be committed to the cultural heritage of Lebanon in its Arab and Islamic
milieu.11
F Reinforce and protect religious education.
G Re-stimulate the teachers’ education and rehabilitation centers, across the
education spectrum or levels.
H Strengthen the teachers’ financial conditions as well as their educational
and scientific qualifications.
I Arabization of the academic curriculum.

Fourth: On the social level:


– Enact a law so that all Lebanese, including self-employed and daily work-
ers, can benefit from social security, social and health benefits, and an old-
age retirement plan.

2 Election Programs 68
– Reform [governmental] institutions that are responsible for social and
health benefits and insurance [social security].
– Erect public hospitals and public medical centers in all Lebanese areas.

Based on this program, Hizbullah, through its nominees, presents itself to the
parliament, while being resolute in protecting the interests of the oppressed in
Lebanon, invoking God Almighty for acceptance and success. Hizbullah hopes
to achieve victory, honor, glory, and progress (towards the better). God is All-
Hearing and All-Responding.

Peace be upon you, God’s Mercy and Blessings


Hizbullah
July 1992

2 Hizbullah’s 1996 Parliamentary Elections Program12

In His Exalted Name


The Electoral Program of Hizbullah, 1996
And those who strive [jahadu] for our (cause), – we will certainly guide them to
our paths13 for verily Allah is with those who do right.
(Holy Koran)14

Faithful Lebanese;
In persistence with our political course that is based on divine values,
In commitment to our vast cultural affiliation with all its diversity, richness
and sublime human value, within a framework of integration and unity,
On the basis of our firm pledge to the Lebanese people’s interests in liberat-
ing our land in the South and West Biqa‘, of maintaining our security and right
to a decent life and an honorable living, besides looking forward to a political
society of more balance and justice, a society more capable of understanding the
internal flaw points and confronting the foreign challenges and a more stable
society,
We continue the unlimited course of giving, the giving of blood, the honesty
of our standpoint, the courageous word, and the political behavior that aims at
changing instead of submitting to the status quo, to come to a balance instead of
falling because of them, and to seek a nation beyond sectarianism, a state with
no monopolization or absorption, a state of development with no discrimina-
tion and participation with no exclusion or elimination.

2 Hizbullah’s 1996 Parliamentary Elections Program 69