View Full Version : Hezbullah: Lebanese resistance turns back rightist offensive

lord patch
05-19-2008, 06:08 PM
Lebanese resistance turns back rightist offensive
By John Catalinotto

Published May 18, 2008 9:27 PM
Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon, popular because of their successful resistance to past Israeli attacks on the country, have answered a provocation from the U.S.-backed Lebanese government and at the same time handed a sharp military defeat to rightist forces, especially in Beirut.

By May 12 heavy fighting between the Hezbollah-led opposition and rightist political factions in the government had died down in the capital, but it continues in Tripoli in the north. (AP, May 12)

The Bush administration is without hesitation behind the Fouad Siniora government. In early May the U.S. once again named Hezbollah a "terrorist" group. Bush, on his way to Israel May 12 to celebrate its takeover of Palestinian land 60 years ago, condemned in a statement what he called "Hezbollah's recent efforts, and those of their foreign sponsors in Tehran and Damascus, to use violence and intimidation to bend the government and people of Lebanon to their will." Bush also expressed support for the Lebanese Army.

Most people in Southwest Asia and North Africa—if not the world—consider Bush a war criminal and an enemy of Arab and Muslim peoples.

How regime provoked clashes

Lebanon experienced a bloody, debilitating and indecisive civil war from 1975 to 1990. The Lebanese government today doesn't want to be seen as provoking another civil conflict, but it also feels threatened by the immense popularity of Hezbollah. It took two steps in early May to force Hezbollah and its allies to either disarm or appear responsible for the restarting of inter-Lebanese fighting.

The government tried to replace the head of Beirut airport security, General Wafiq Shoucair, who reportedly had good relations with Hezbollah and its ally, the Amal party. Since the airport is located in south Beirut, a Hezbollah stronghold, and since this is the main entry to the country, Shoucair's replacement could put Hezbollah at risk. (Al Ahram Weekly, May 8-14)

The government also ordered the army to destroy Hezbollah's internal communication system. This system, which is separate from the Lebanese telephone network, was the base of Hezbollah's communications during the 2006 war, when it stopped and reversed an Israeli invasion of Lebanon. The Israelis could easily disrupt the Lebanese national network.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah's reaction was immediate. He called the government offensive "a declaration of war" and said that "the communications network is a fundamental component of the weapons of the resistance. Up to now," he added, "Hezbollah has never used our weapons internally, but we will do so to defend our weapons." (Junge Welt, May 10)

Walid Jumblatt and other right-wing forces in the government coalition immediately responded with a propaganda attack on Hezbollah. They were unable, however, to mount an effective military attack. Military battles also have a strong political component that pro-imperialist forces often underestimate.

The army itself has troops from all Lebanese communities, and the commanding officers were either unwilling or unable to directly confront Hezbollah, as the right-wing parties ordered the army to do. The army itself took no part in the fighting on either side. Other militia forces representing the government, faced with both the Hezbollah fighters and a general strike in Beirut, quickly collapsed.

After three days of fighting, there were reports that Hezbollah by May 10 controlled much of Beirut and Mount Lebanon, a Jumblatt stronghold. By May 11 Hezbollah was pulling back and allowing the army to control these areas. The government, in turn, returned Gen. Shoucair to his role in airport security and left Hezbollah's communications intact.

Struggle is political, not sectarian

The governments of the imperialist countries and the corporate media have painted a false picture of the events in Lebanon. These media say and write incessantly that the fighting is between two religious sects—Shiites and Sunnis—instead of between coalitions of political parties representing different sectors of society.

Understanding who is who in Lebanon counteracts this distortion and helps put the events that led to the fighting in their political and social context.

Washington's weak position in Lebanon following the Israeli defeat in the 2006 war gives the U.S. an interest in fomenting internal fighting among the Lebanese, as it has done in Iraq and Palestine. Bush had supported and likely helped plan the 2006 Israeli attack, urging then that Hezbollah be crushed, as he does now.

Lebanon's government coalition, which includes the party led by Jumblatt and right-wing parties from the Christian establishment, also enjoys the support of NATO countries and of Arab governments that are clients of imperialism, like Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Opposing this pro-imperialist coalition is the Hezbollah-led opposition.

Hezbollah, which means "Party of God," grew to become the major resistance force after the 1982 Israeli occupation of Lebanon. It finally defeated and drove out the Israeli occupiers in 2000. The party became the main organizer of the large and very poor Shiite community that extends from the south of Beirut to the border with Israel. Hezbollah has reached out to all communities in Lebanon with aid and assistance.

In July-August 2006 Hezbollah led the organized guerrilla resistance that handed the Israelis another serious defeat. This won it the allegiance of the mostly Shiite south of Lebanon and the respect of the Arab and Muslim masses of all communities inside and outside Lebanon. Its victory inspired fear among the Arab governments that collaborate with imperialism.

The Lebanese army in 2006 did not participate in the fighting against Israel.

The Amal party, also based in the Shiite community, as well as the Lebanese Communist Party and the Free Patriotic Movement led by Michel Aoun from the Christian community were all allied with Hezbollah during the 2006 fighting, and still are. The cross-sectarian nature of this coalition, along with its deep popular support, refutes the distortions in the imperialist media.

The Israeli assault killed 1,100 Lebanese, almost all civilians, and destroyed much of the infrastructure and housing in southern Lebanon. Despite these horrors, Hezbollah and its allies came out much stronger politically because of the 2006 victory. Nevertheless, the Hezbollah leadership has said it has no intentions of trying to take over and run the Lebanese state.

Instead, over the last 17 months this progressive coalition has been struggling just to get a one-third share of representation in the Lebanese Legislature. It also insists on maintaining its own fighting force to repulse any Israeli aggression.

The political struggle continues. The goal of the coalition led by Hezbollah is to maintain a fighting force on an anti-imperialist basis and to prevent fighting from breaking out on sectarian lines, as this would aid the U.S. and Israel.

E-mail: jcat@workers.org

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05-20-2008, 12:11 AM
Great read - very informative.

05-20-2008, 01:12 AM
iNterestinG find - Thanks