April 06, 2012

Two Good Articles on Hizballah (and in English!)

Anne Barnard -- whose husband wrote a very solid book on Hizballah
last year -- has herself written a very solid article on Hizballah and Syria in today's New York Times:

Deprived of Hamas’s political cover, Hezbollah has been accused of sectarian hatred, and has been its target as well. Syrian rebels have burned the Hezbollah flag, claimed that its snipers are killing civilians in Syria, and named their brigades after historic warriors who defeated Shiites in Islam’s early schismatic battles. Early on, some analysts thought that if a Sunni government would arise in Damascus it might support Hezbollah against Israel. But now, says Michael Wahid Hanna of the Century Foundation, Hezbollah may have missed a chance to hedge its bets. ...


Hezbollah seems in no danger of losing its most hard-core supporters. But some of its loyalists have questions.


In the Sidon cafe, the health worker declared that Syrians, with free education and medical care, had no reason to rebel. Her friend, a Shiite from Hezbollah’s heartland in southern Lebanon, disagreed. “They have things,” she said, “but they are fighting for their rights.” ...


A Hezbollah party member said that government shelling had killed many civilians, but it was justified because the victims had let the rebels use their houses “as bunkers.” Israel used a similar argument, which Hezbollah condemned, to defend its bombing of Hezbollah neighborhoods in 2006.

In addition to this article, those with access to scholarly journals will want to read Bilal Saab's review of Nick Blanford's excellent book
in this issue of Studies in Conflict & Terrorism. (No link, alas.)