Why Hezbollah Supports the Assad Regime

A handout picture released by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows (L-R) Lebanon's Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arriving for an official dinner in Damascus late on 25 February 2010. (Photo: AFP SANA - Archive)

By: Amal Saad-Ghorayeb

Published Saturday, November 5, 2011

Although Hezbollah does indeed depend on the Assad regime for its arms’ flow, this consideration alone does not adequately grasp the other motives behind its controversial stance, nor does it sufficiently explain the sturdiness of its alliance with Syria. Reducing Hezbollah’s close alliance with the Assad regime to logistics misses a host of other factors and considerations which sustain the relationship.

Heizbollah’s staunch defense of the Assad regime at the most inopportune of times must be viewed against the backdrop of the regional struggle between the “nationalist and resistance project” led by Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas, otherwise known as the “jabhit al mumana’a” (“resistance axis” as it is dubbed in the West) and the “US project” pursued by the US’ Arab allies who comprise the so-called “moderate axis”. Viewed within this broader regional context, Syria’s strategic value does not merely lie in its arms’ supply role, but derives from its status as the Arab linchpin of the resistance front, or to borrow Nasrallah’s words, “the only resistance regime in the region”.
On balance, “the Syrian leadership can be credited with the preservation and maintenance of the Palestinian cause,” for Hezbollah. So indispensable was the Assad regime to Palestine that Nasrallah boldly declares: “the continuation of this Syrian position” (and by implication, the preservation of the regime), is “the precondition to the continuation of the Palestinian cause.” Accordingly, any threat to the regime’s security and survival is a “danger” not only to Syria, but to Palestine and — considering its role in ending the Lebanese civil war — to Lebanon as well.

The protests in Syria are branded a form of “collusion” with outside powers who seek to replace Assad’s rule with “another regime similar to the moderate Arab regimes that are ready to sign any capitulation agreement with Israel.” Thus, rather than strive to institute reforms or democracy in Syria, Washington’s latest policy essentially aimed at instituting subservience: “if President Bashar al-Asad were to go now to the Americans and surrender, the problem would be resolved.”

Aside from the strategic factors behind Hezbollah’s continued support for the Assad regime, the movement’s position is also grounded in theoretical considerations. Hezbollah’s revolutionary prescriptions rest on two concurrent criteria: first, “this regime’s relationship with and position towards the American-Israeli project in the region” and second, the potential for reforms. The Assad regime’s mumana’ist position and role in the region, coupled with its openness to reform and dialogue means that the Syrian uprising has failed to meet either of these requirements, and hence, Hezbollah cannot “support the downfall of a resistant, mumani’i regime which has begun reforms”.

Hezbollah’s understanding of freedom as a positive freedom to control one’s destiny and to achieve self-determination, both digresses from and surpasses the liberal preoccupation with the negative freedom from external constraints and hindrances. To be free is not to be left alone but to continually struggle for justice. It is for this reason that Hezbollah is inherently antagonistic to liberal uprisings like Syria’s which focus their efforts on freeing themselves from state control at the expense of the struggle against US and Israeli colonialism.

Amal Saad-Ghorayeb is a Lebanese academic and political analyst.

Click here to read full study.

This article was originally published by the Conflicts Forum

The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect Al-Akhbar's editorial policy.

Comments

So at the expense of the Syrian people who are being murdered in their beds, Hezbollah supports the disgusting alAssad regime. Hezbollah is very wrong.

In French I would call this article a "Lapalissade". Something like, "my father is bold, this is why he has no hair". Turning the phrase the other way sounds good too: "My father does not have hair because he is bold".

Hizbollah's stand is as understandable as reprehensible, odious for the ones suffering the oppression in their flesh, while a matter that can be cynically brushed away for the ones whose actual status is imperiled by the revolt. As simple as that. Very easy to understand, and so difficult to explain.

"suffering the oppression in their flesh"? -last time I checked, the supporters of Syrian 'revolutionaries" were the forces who are bringing a lot of such suffering to a lot of flesh - i.e. USA, Gulf royals and their "leftists" helpers, including the "I am for NATO bombing" Cole.

Do the suffering of the Palestinian, Lebanese and others' flesh are not for real?

La Paliss was a gent, so he was not a dame. Syrian "'revolutionaries" are pro USA/Saudis, so they are not really revolutionaries

Brilliant study! Long read but worth it.

I suppose the better way to put it is:

freeing themselves from Syrian state control only to come under USA/Israel state control.

exactly :)

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