MIFTAH
Tuesday, 7 February. 2023
 
Your Key to Palestine
The Palestinian Initiatives for The Promotoion of Global Dialogue and Democracy
 
 
 

(ATFP Transation by Mike Husseini)

Hezbollah was once an armed group involved in liberating Southern Lebanon from its Israeli invaders. Since then, it has been transformed into a militia that threatens the stability, security, and unity of Lebanon. How can a group that was formed to fight occupiers become a threat to its own country and society?

The answer is militias and weapons obstruct politics. People who turn militias and armed men into politicians will suffer. Does this mean people should reject the concept of resistance, and accept their enemy’s plans and wishes? No, but people should be careful when it comes to resistance. Resistance should be scrutinized and looked at critically; resistance can’t be adulated and revered without ensuring that it is legitimate in the first place.

A look at Che Guevara’s book on guerrilla warfare proves this point. Che Guevara warns that after a militia succeeds and takes over a capital, it is necessary to turn the militia into a regular army. If a militia is not subjected to the rule of law, it will become a source of chaos.

What has happened, and what will continue to happen, is that militias will become a source of chaos. That has happened in Afghanistan. After the Soviet Union withdrawal, militias refused to be subjected to civilian law or even to a form of government. The same has happened in Lebanon and Gaza after Israel’s withdrawal, although under different circumstances. The same will also happen in Iraq after the United States withdraws.

The political goals and ideologies of a group are not necessarily important in order for them to be defined as a militia: A militia is any irregular force. In every case, a militia will find excuses to ensure that it is not subjected to a country or government, and will claim that politics is just a civilian game. In similar fashion, a militia will not fail to find excuses in order to stay armed. Militias’ usual excuse is that of war. Militias do not want the “war” to actually end, and they have the means to guarantee its continuity.

Che Guevara used to talk about guerrilla warfare within a Marxist context. His vision was that laborers and farmers would form the backbone to this type of warfare. His vision also viewed war as the means to achieving communism.

Che Guevara’s ideological and social outlook is different than that of Lebanese, Iraqi, Palestinian, and Afghani militias. These militias are only loyal to certain sects, as opposed to certain classes of people. Their ideology is opposed to the concept of a country that includes people from different nationalities, who have different languages, religions, and ethnicities. Their ideology exclusively supports a group of people from a certain religion, a certain identity, or even an identity that opposes national and regional unity.

It is impossible to understand the Afghani tragedy without considering the power struggle between Tajiks and Pashtuns, the Palestinian tragedy without taking into account regional concentrations, the Lebanese tragedy without bearing in mind the sectarian struggle and the increasing influence of Shias due to their growing demographics, or the Iraqi tragedy taking into consideration the struggle between Sunnis and Shias.

Sectarian and regional identities are a thing of the past. But they do come to life, and often lead to the creation of even more identities. This creation, and thus overabundance, of identities is a result of either the failures of politics, of civil war, of dictatorships, or of occupation.

Within a Lebanese, Iraqi, Palestinian, and Afghani context, it is possible to find various reasons behind the failures of politics. The brightest political leaders of Lebanon rose before the Lebanese civil war started. They are the ones who achieved Lebanese independence, and formed a social order revolving around acceptance. It is true that Lebanon’s rise was partly due to injustice, but that assisted in turning Lebanon into a vibrant society that stood in stark contrast with its neighbors who fell to military or dictatorial rule. After the Lebanese civil war, the warlords who rose to power during the failure of politics in Lebanon became its new leaders and politicians.

In the Iraqi case, Saddam Hussein’s dictatorial regime led to the failure of politics, in the form of turning the narrowly different sectarian identities into a forceful factor in Iraqi politics. After the rise of the best Iraqi politicians in the first half of the twentieth century came the rise of an Iraqi political generation that entered politics through the door of occupation, sectarianism, or both.

Afghanistan has a similar story that won’t be discussed. As for Palestine, the Nakba sixty years ago destroyed the social order that would have allowed Palestinian political leaders to rise. The Palestinian Diaspora, and the lack of a unified political center, has led to the rise of local Palestinian leaders and politicians in the West Bank, Gaza, and Galilee.

Within the context of the PLO, politicians have risen within a general nationalistic framework. However, many of these leaders were not qualified to be leaders. In any case, the PLO experience was short lived, as was the experience of the Palestinian Authority before the rise of militias. It is apparent that the Palestinian warlords will not cease in their attempts to obstruct and hinder politics in the Palestinian society. These warlords will continue to eliminate and occupy what is left of the Palestinian Authority, in order for them to guarantee that they remain in the spotlight (otherwise, they would become unemployed). And this is the other Nakba.

 
 
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