Voice of Hezbollah: The Statements of Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah
Nicholas Noe ed.
London: Verso, 2007, 420 pp. pb
This is a fabulous and extremely timely book marred only by a couple anti-Jewish outbursts. Nasrallah is the leader of Hezbollah ("Party of God"), which leads armed resistance against I$raeli intrusions into Lebanon. In this volume of geopolitics and resistance ideology we see completely clear language devoid of references that the Western reader would not grasp.
The U.$./I$raeli invasion of Lebanon since 1982 has been important to ongoing political events. As MIM founded itself, it organized a demonstration and a tabloid against the u.$. invasion of Lebanon. Osama Bin Laden says that his vision of attacks on U.$. buildings brewed at that same moment as he saw Lebanese buildings burning and Hezbollah got off the ground in Lebanon with a little training from Iranian revolutionaries supporting Ayatollah Khomeini.
Nasrallah provides much insight into his movement and the whole Middle East. This book is vitally important because the U.$. media presents Hezbollah as a terrorist organization without any of the details about its struggle against I$rael's occupation of Lebanon.
In an interview on "60 Minutes," Florida Senator Bob Graham called Hezbollah the "A team" of terrorism.(p. 288) He advocated a war on Hezbollah instead of going to Iraq. Such an approach might have had I$rael's greater favor as well.
A survey in Egypt showed that despite being a Sunni Muslim country, Egypt's population has highest regard for two Shiite leaders, Nasrallah followed by Iran's president Ahmadinejad. (p. 1) The reason for this is undoubtedly that Nasrallah led a successful resistance ejecting I$rael from Lebanon and Iran took a tough anti-I$rael stance by supporting Nasrallah.
The part in the U.$. media about Hezbollah being closely allied with Syria and Iran is apparently true. The rest is false, which is why readers need this book.
At the moment, the united $tates is pressuring Lebanon to elect a president and carry out activities that benefit I$rael. MIM already reported on the war with I$rael in 2006 that Hezbollah won. Nasrallah's explanation throws I$raeli defeats in Lebanon into further relief, among other things by explaining that it was the French in 1996 that brokered an agreement by I$rael not to attack civilians called the "April Understanding"(pp. 144-) in exchange for Hezbollah's not attacking civilians inside I$rael. I$rael obtained from Hezbollah a "by the rules" military conflict not involving civilians; yet, I$rael became so desperate in 2006 that it bombed approximately 1000 Lebanese to death and did billions in damage to civilian infrastructure,(p. 378) superficially as retaliation for an attack on I$raeli soldiers. So the distinction between soldiers and civilians went out the window.
The Bush administration has pushed Syria not to "interfere" in Lebanon; however, history and class struggle do not point to such an obvious demand. Historically, Lebanon belonged in "Greater Syria" under the Islamic Ottoman Empire. Then France held Lebanon as part of its Syrian colony from 1918 to 1943.
Today Lebanon has only 4 million people. Its small size makes it more manageable for the imperialists who seek to divide it further along religious lines.
The reasoning of the people of the Middle East seems completely foreign to Amerikans. Syria actually said that the I$raeli-occupied Sheeba Farms territory belongs to Lebanon,(p. 360) while others have said it actually belongs to Syria.
Al Qaeda recently commented that the idea of a national border by which to decide the Sheeba Farms question is alien to Islam. Nasrallah himself says the idea that it is Lebanon's was not his idea, but the state of Lebanon's.
Although Lebanon has religious division and a history of horrible civil war quelled by repeated Syrian intervention, the greatest contribution to de-stressing Lebanese politics would come from a regional settlement of I$rael's wars--a retreat to 1967 borders by I$rael and the creation of a Palestinian state. That is something the united $tates can make sure happens and thereby change Lebanese politics as well.
Lebanon has taken in 400,000 Palestinian refugees and has had many battles among and with Palestinians including the famous withdrawal of Yasser Arafat himself from Lebanon under imperialist pressure. Perhaps in a country like the United $tates, 400,000 people would go unnoticed but to go to Lebanon as the united $tates and suggest that Syria butt out is unrealistic on a number of scores, mostly having to do with timing.
First of all, the civil war ended with Syrian efforts. The Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon since 2005 benefits I$rael by making it easier for I$rael to find lackeys. One might think that would even be acceptable if I$rael stayed out of Lebanon--which it did not--but the civil war agreement speaks of one day dissolving the sectarian set up in Lebanon, an artificial political construction that guarantees certain roles in the government based on religion.
Ironically, the neo-conservatives have claimed to want to spread democracy by any means necessary, but the first two beneficiaries of democracy in the Middle East would be Hezbollah and Hamas--two organizations officially listed as terrorist by the united $tates. Hamas already proved this point by winning an election in 2006. Hezbollah has also won a number of elections and suspicions are that if Lebanon did a real census, Shiites would be the plurality of voters. A one-man-one-vote system (pp. 74, 84) might put even more Hezbollah politicians directly in power. For now what happens is largely a series of trade-offs among the sectarian politicians, evidence of the genius of the Lebanese people trying to escape the history of religious civil war and I$raeli invasion. The importance of Hezbollah and Syria's role only becomes accentuated with every move of military giants I$rael and the united $tates.
Second of all, even those Lebanese wanting a more pro-Western orientation would have to want some solution for the 400,000 Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Creating an attractive Palestinian state is in Lebanon's interest.
Thirdly, having experienced a long I$raeli invasion and having a Muslim majority, Lebanon will have those who favor a Syrian role. Nasrallah himself rallied a million people. Pan-Islamic and Pan-Arabic ideas counter the artificial divisions imposed by the imperialists. Not surprisingly, Nasrallah says there is a poll that shows that I$rael is the enemy according to a majority of Lebanon.(p. 374) Defense and national security for Lebanon will revolve around that notion realistically speaking.
Hence, rather than a "Lebanon first" approach what is needed is a regional settlement with I$rael. Such a settlement will not eliminate internal Lebanese politics, but it can change Lebanese politics for the better more than anything else the united $tates could do.
We have seen Hezbollah take a correct approach to geopolitics. There is also much talk about charity; however, neither Hamas nor Hezbollah have said much about socialism that we can see. Hezbollah wants to attack corruption with religious means,(p. 264) but we would say that the only means of attacking corruption is mobilizing the proletariat politically. Only the unbribed can monitor those in a place where corruption is possible. Even better than socialist monitoring would be abolition of cash, the ability to make profit--the general ability to use money for persynal advance. This would eliminate many means of corruption systematically.
Hezbollah has taken Mao's revolutionary tactic of doing the most service to resist imperialist occupation. Mao led a broad united front against imperialism. Meanwhile, in the West, we have Liberals and pseudo-Marxists tripping all over themselves to support imperialism, sometimes in the guise of supporting "neither Hezbollah or Iran nor U.$. imperialism," even though there are clearly only two sides in the military conflicts that have been going on and even though Marxism does not allow of more than two sides in class struggle generally. The vast majority of Western so-called Marxists are traitors to the international proletariat.
So though Hezbollah is a bourgeois anti-colonial organization it is more progressive than the Liberal organizations including those falsely calling themselves Marxist which think separation of church and state is the principal issue when one is under imperialist occupation. Hezbollah has explained that an educated theoretician should be the theocratic leader of government. To win converts, Hezbollah simply fights injustice hardest. Nasrallah's own 18-year-old son died in a resistance operation. It just so happens that the Lebanese Shiite organization not in favor of theocracy does not have Hezbollah's strategic orientation of fighting the occupation.
Contrary to the Liberals, we would not say that Hezbollah represents feudal forces. On the contrary, pan-Arabism and pan-Islamism have clearly propelled the exploited into political action with far-reaching benefit.
Nasrallah has explained that the head religious authority of Iran is also the head religious authority of many outside Iran. Nasrallah's approach is to pick a religious authority like the Pope who is supreme globally. For this reason, Nasrallah has come under frequent attack as Iranian and not Lebanese, though less so after so many years fighting for Lebanese independence.
The argument over the religious authority is very similar to the argument over whether there should be a Comintern anymore, a global centralized communist party. Stalin abolished the conception in 1941. Likewise, Nasrallah explains that he is not subordinate to the Iranian president; rather he and the Iranian president are subordinate to their religious authority. Many years the pope is Italian, but there was a Polish one recently. Nasrallah explains that the next religious authority for the Shiites might not be Iranian.(p. 133) MIM would say that we communists do not need that much centralism, the equivalent of a Pope, because communists must study their local conditions and do a good job.
With regard to other Liberal notions, Islamism does have a concept of the individual. Like Al Qaeda, Hezbollah says that it is the individual who takes up the jihad "even without the Caliph's or the Imam's permission."(p. 231) For that matter, Nasrallah says that Muslims have the duty to provide charity support to any Palestinian taking up armed struggle--Marxist, nationalist or any other shade.(p. 269) Hence, some of the opposition to Islamists may be rooted in a mistaken idea about the content of Islamism which places a high priority on jihad. Since Hezbollah, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood types of organizations are generally not for socialism, their hopes for being progressive rest on support for the independent-standing national bourgeoisie. Liberals would argue they fail in this mission because of a lack of Protestant ideas, but they in fact do rally more progressive forces than the liberal lackeys of imperialism do, because the radical Islamists do have a concept of individual to overcome feudalism without generally having the economic interest in the status quo that the typical Amerikan Third World lackey has. Radical Islamists are more likely to carry out the substance of an American-style 1776 revolution than the lackeys the imperialists send against them. Amerikan lackeys are not the majority in the world, liberal lackey domination of the press notwithstanding. That is why we see the oppressed win elections via Hamas and Hezbollah.
Of note to us communists, there is a strategic difference between Al Qaeda and Hezbollah. Al Qaeda has more of an anti-U.$. focus while like Iran, Hezbollah denounced 9/11. We should also recall that Hezbollah opposed the Taliban, which is Sunni and Pashtun in ethnicity. That would put Hezbollah on the same side as U.$. troops in Afghanistan. Hezbollah has gone so far as to say it would not attack U.$. targets despite saying the united $tates is "Great Satan" compared with I$rael as "Little Satan." Attacks on "crusaders" also play poorly for Hezbollah which is concerned with unity in Lebanon against I$rael. The imperialists alternate images put forward in trying to make use of the basic underlying Sunni/Shiite split.
We recommend that you buy this book somewhere and pay cash as you will be monitored for buying it otherwise.