Like Mario, who has this excellent piece today, I think what’s happening in Lebanon is tragic. I don’t see it as a tragedy for democracy, however, because what passes for the regime there has not been a democracy (or, for that matter, any sort of effective government). Once again, we are elevating the trimmings of democracy over its substance. Only that way could Hezbollah not only participate in the “democratic process” without forfeiting its weapons as a price of admission, but also have us all pretend that it is a national “party” in that process.
Hezbollah is not a party, and its designs are not national (in the sense of “limited to Lebanon”). Who says so? Hezbollah says so. As I mentioned in this piece a few months back, here’s what its 1985 manifesto says in this regard (italics mine):
We are often asked: Who are we, the Hizballah, and what is our identity? We are the sons of the umma (Muslim community) — the party of God (Hizb Allah) the vanguard of which was made victorious by God in Iran. There the vanguard succeeded to lay down the bases of a Muslim state which plays a central role in the world. We obey the orders of one leader, wise and just, that of our tutor and faqih (jurist) who fulfills all the necessary conditions: [Ayatollah] Ruhollah Musawi Khomeini. God save him! By virtue of the above, we do not constitute an organized and closed party in Lebanon. Nor are we a tight political cadre. We are an umma linked to the Muslims of the whole world by the solid doctrinal and religious connection of Islam, whose message God wanted to be fulfilled by the Seal of the Prophets, i.e., Muhammad. This is why whatever touches or strikes the Muslims in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Philippines and elsewhere reverberates throughout the whole Muslim umma of which we are an integral part.
This is the forward militia of Iran’s jihadist war for regional and, ultimately, global hegemony. The mullahs and Ahmadinejad, like Hezbollah’s Sheikh Nasrallah, believe this is what Islam commands. We continue to ignore the elephant in the middle of the room at our peril.