- Nov 22, 2003
- Reaction score
This is not Vietnam or WWII or WWI or The Crusades. Sure, there are lessons to be learned from history about causes, avenues of peace, and unintended consequences; but not about tactics and strategies.
Dr. Demarche on the Bay Blog: What about the next Hezbollah?
As always, its good to hear from Dr. Demarche, the FSO with prose punch.
Dr. Demarche sent me this contribution last night. Ive titled it: The Next Hezbollah: War With a Non-State Actor
Is anyone thinking about the next Hezbollah, and the one after that?
Has it really only been less than a year and half that the world (especially the blogosphere) celebrated the Cedar Revolution? Contrasting the pictures that were broadcast out of Lebanon then with those we are seeing today, it seems as if those heady days are long, long past. I think it is safe to say that not many people, professional analysts included, expected this (although in retrospect we should have). Heck, even Hezbollah did not expect Israels reaction to be so forceful, as reported on the 25th by the AP:
A senior Hezbollah official said Tuesday the guerrillas did not expect Israel to react with an all-out offensive after the capture of two soldiers, the first acknowledgment by the group that it had miscalculated the consequences of the raid two weeks ago.
The truth is let me say this clearly we didnt even expect (this) response that (Israel) would exploit this operation for this big war against us, said Komati.
It is important to note that in the above quote when Komati says us he means Hezbollah, not Lebanon. Israel is not at war with the state of Lebanon; it is at war with a non-state actor in the parlance (Hezbollah), which happens to be in Lebanon. This is a fairly new concept in the era of the modern state. Barbarians, for example, may have besieged ancient Rome, but at the time the state was a minority. Today the state system is firmly entrenched, and the barbarians are largely within. My question is this, now what?
Groups such as al Qaeda, Hezbollah and others cross borders at will, their memberships are ideologically homogeneous, but diverse in nationality. Efforts to destroy these organizations are bound to cross multiple borders, as we have already seen, something for which international law and the so-called international community (which supported Israels withdrawal from the very territories that are now the launch points for cross border attacks by terrorists) are woefully unprepared. Should you have any doubt of this I offer the talks in Rome this week as proof. Those engaged in finding a solution to the current state of affairs should keep one thought in the back of their minds: this will not be the last time the world will have to face such an event.
Traditional methods of sanction appear to be non-applicable to entities such as these- how do states sanction organizations that transcend borders and are privately funded? No mechanism exists to hold non-state actors accountable for their actions, even though they now have the potential to cause the same, or even greater, level of destruction than do many states.
Global policy maker must shift their thinking. Al Qaeda, Hezbollah and the like are not organizations that can be contained, they do not field armies that can be squared off against and defeated. In a way they are reminiscent of Maos idea that the people are like water and the army is like fish, but these fish swim in every sea. The current battle may rage in Lebanon between Israel and Hezbollah, but the bottom line is that this is a battle between a state and a non-state actor, and the world is not prepared to deal with this new reality, even today. Lets hope those working to settle the current battle keep their eyes on this bigger picture, too.
Copyright Dr Demarche. And many thanks.