The Corner

Courting Hezbollah . . . Again

While the Muslim Brotherhood consolidates power in Egypt and American air power is put in the service of the Libyan mujahideen (a/k/a “the rebels”), the Obama administration is once again courting Hezbollah. (H/t Jihad Watch.) That would be the forward militia of Iran.

Administration officials wishfully see Hezbollah as analogous to Sinn Fein, the socialist “political wing” of the Irish Republican Army. But the IRA is a terrorist organization of comparatively modest, parochial ambitions (and far more modest capabilities). It has a single real enemy, Britain, and it wasn’t trying to destroy Britain — just eject it from Ireland.

To the contrary, Hezbollah is part of a global jihadist movement, as its charter proclaims. Its goal is to Islamicize the world, not just destroy Israel. Unlike the IRA, it operates globally. It has committed terrorist atrocities in several countries and has been training other terrorist organizations, including al-Qaeda, for years. Indeed, a distinction worth noting between Hezbollah and Hamas (the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch) is that the latter’s constitution roots Hamas’s hatred for Israel in Islamic scripture (as I noted in a recent column, Article 7 of the Hamas constitution maintains that “the time [of judgment] will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews and kill them”). Hezbollah’s charter instead points the finger squarely at us: “We see in Israel the vanguard of the United States in our Islamic world. It is the hated enemy that must be fought until the hated ones get what they deserve.” 

Overlooking all this, the administration seizes on the fact that Hezbollah has political divisions and has actually been elected to political office in Lebanon (whose government it promptly subverted). Officials like John Brennan (Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser) take this as an indication that Hezbollah is evolving, just like the political activity of Sinn Fein was taken to be an evolution of the IRA from terrorism into regular politics. But Hezbollah is ostensibly compartmentalized into armed units (which are sufficiently well-equipped to project power on the scale of a nation-state), political actors, and social-welfare operatives because the global jihad proceeds on every front — violent operations, infiltration of a society’s government and institutions, propaganda, control of the schools, etc. It is a civilizational jihad that cannot be satisfied by political concessions in any one place. Once it has exhausted what it can achieve at the bargaining table, it goes back to the other methods of attack, including the violent ones.

It is a strategy that Hezbollah, having studied us, knows will improve its hand the next time it is inevitably invited to the bargaining table. Looks like that time is now.

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