HEZBOLLAH….A couple of weeks ago I wrote a throwaway line about the “odious Hezbollah terrorist group” and received several emails telling me I was mistaken: Hezbollah, they said, unlike Hamas or Islamic Jihad, was not really a terrorist group. It targeted military sites, not civilians, and has been fairly quiet for the past decade anyway.
I didn’t think too much more about it, but Adam Kushner wrote me an email yesterday saying that he had written an article about Hezbollah for the Columbia Political Review. “I’m shocked by my own conclusions,” he said, and while his article does not entirely exonerate Hezbollah, it does make a pretty good case that over the past dozen years Hezbollah has evolved into a pragmatic organization that performs a valuable social role in Lebanon. Its military arm is still active at a low level, but even the Israelis apparently agree that it’s a guerilla group, not a terrorist organization, and stays active only due to pressure from Syria in any case.
And speaking of Lebanon, Jacob Levy points to an article in The American Conservative arguing that the American occupation of Iraq has eerie parallels to the Israeli occupation of Lebanon. I had the same thought myself a while back, but, like Jacob, I’m not sure the parallels are actually that close. Still, it’s a worthwhile precedent to consider and the article is worth reading.