Hezbollah Without Syria

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The obituaries of Hezbollah are being printed as we speak. It is being assumed that the “inevitable” fall of the Syrian regime will “inevitably” end the career of Hezbollah. Enemies of Hezbollah in Israel and its clients in the region are already popping the champagne bottles. But this is a premature obituary. You are not there yet – far from it.

There are many wrong assumptions and generalizations about Hezbollah. Hezbollah emerged and spread during years of enmity with the Syrian regime. In 1982, when Hezbollah was born, it basically (a main branch of it) split off from the Amal Movement.

Amal was a client of the Syrian regime, and Hezbollah and Islamic Amal – the name of the organization that split off from Amal under the leadership of Hussain Moussawi – was a client of a radical branch of the Iranian regime. The Syrian regime was very unfriendly toward Hezbollah and the party was only able to operate in West Beirut because the Syrian regime had left the city. It was only in 1987 that the Syrian regime re-entered the city and it inaugurated its entry with a massacre of Hezbollah fighters in the Fathallah barracks.

The enmity between the two sides never stopped although Nasrallah and Bashar al-Assad improved relations. But the Syrian regime always pressured Hezbollah to not win outright the parliamentary seats in elections and Hezbollah always grumbled about that.

But as you can see from the historical chronicle, Hezbollah could and did survive without Syrian regime support. If the Syrian regime falls – and it will for sure if only because such a prediction is made at least once a week for over a year – Hezbollah will survive and may grow to be stronger and even more dangerous.

Hezbollah will lose the support of an important regime that did its best to bolster its military organization, while still favoring – politically speaking – the Amal Movement. But it retains a vast organization that – at least as the enemies of Hezbollah say – spans the globe.

The collapse of the Syrian regime may remove restrictions and prohibitions from the activities and movement of Hezbollah and may increase its freedom of maneuverability. Without the Syrian regime, Hezbollah will no longer have to worry about embarrassing or displeasing the Syrian regime. To be sure, Hezbollah will continue to be loyal to the Iranian regime, but will enjoy – certainly under Nasrallah – a great deal of independent decision making powers.

Without the Syrian regime, Hezbollah may be compelled to focus on its military (resistance) branch, and to perhaps marginalize its political branch. But enemies of Hezbollah forget an important part of the puzzle: when the Syrian regime falls, it won’t be replaced overnight with a central power that merely keeps the state intact under a firm security control. Far from that, the fall will result in geographic fragmentation and political decentralization that won’t completely cut off Hezbollah’s links to parts of Syria.

Furthermore, when the regime falls, Hezbollah and its allies won’t watch the developments on TV. The Syrian conflict at that point will inevitably – that word again – result in important political reconfiguration in Lebanon, and not necessarily in favor of allies of US and Saudi Arabia. If the Syrian regime (or even Syria itself) falls, the order of US-Saudi Arabia in Lebanon will fall with it as well, but not swiftly. That will come through a long period of internal conflict – the same can be said about Syria.

Hezbollah has been preparing for the eventuality of the collapse of the Syrian regime. It now has a vast organization and its own resources and sources of funding. People forget that the Syrian regime has been known for being very stingy. It rarely if ever supplies its allies with money. Hezbollah will survive without the Syrian regime, but it will be a different organization. And that won’t be to the liking of Israel and its friends in the region.


As'ad, you are obviously pushing the right buttons.
You have an increasing number of commentators who,glaringly shreek of "psy-warfare", trying to intimidate you, ha ha ha ignore their desparation.
there's an old adage which I'll paraphrase," when you get over the target you get the flak"
You are right on target

Angry seems a little tired and desperate in this poorly executed jumble of mess.

Hizbullah, and Lebanon will lose a lot, and gain nothing , if Bashar falls. It is not possible to imagine any syrian president more sympathetic to HA, than Bashar, who already gave HA access to all weaponry available to the syrian army. So there is no validity to the concept that Bashar's last act will be to give HA weapons that he has not yet provided. Forthermore, Bashar , unlike his father, did not demand political influence over HA in return for his support.
What HA will lose, is the unlimited supply of weaponry ( missiles), that enabled HA, to continue to fight for 33 days in 2006. That war ended, with the UN resolution 1701, that put in effect a naval blockade on Lebanon. Israel, the West and March 14, tried to extend that blockade to the Lebanese -Syrian border, in order to prevent HA, from rearming.
i Bashar falls, Israel may be tempted to attack HA, who will have to fight using his missiles ( wharever will survive Israel's first srike), very very carefull, because the option of resuppl simply will not exist. ( Also considering that HA could be attacked by his local lebanese and syrian enemies ). The element of deterence will disappear as Israel may be willing to suffer one more war to end all wars and all threats from the north. After getting rid of HA, Israel can settle the palestenians in Lebanon, and can even send to Lebanon the Israeli Arabs of1948.
Iran without HA, will be impotent. How many iranian missiles can reach Israel ,, 200 ? vs the tens of 10,000s of HA ?
BAD , BAD news !

it's not all about politics, weapons, and logistics. Hezbollah's mask has fallen. and now 1 billion Sunnis have realized that Hezbollah and Iran are their number one enemy. that's a disaster if there ever was one. even mister Abu Khalil, who is famous for his ability to make good look evil, evil look good, white look black, and black look white, will have trouble hiding this reality.

It may be that Hizzbula will become stronger in the sense that it will have more and better rockets, less restrictions on movement and so forth, but I think you are missing the point. I'll explain:

As far as Lebanon is concerned, Hizzbula is as strong as it need to be. It is by far the mightiest force in Lebanon and will be for decades to come. Mighty enough to impose it's will whenever it deems so, or whenever it's interests are at stake.

As far as Israel is concerened, Hizzbula has done something quite amazing - it has created a strategic balance which prevents Israel from attacking Lebanon, a balance which i think is on par with the balance between Israel and Egypt or Jordan (for different reasons, of course). This is not a trivial point since untill about ten years ago Lebanon was viewed by the Israelis as weak and "attackable", the way Gaza is treated nowdays.
But what more can Hizzbula expect vis a vis Israel, (if it fights it on it's own)? are Hizzbula going to obtain any time soon heavy artillery, tanks, planes and legions that will allow them to conquer land from Israel? wishful thinking. In this sense at least Hizzbula has achieved the maximum it could hope for in it's current form.

So where does Hizzbula loose if the syrian regime falls? Well actually it's Iran that looses most, and by extension Hizzbula. Syria was/is allied to Hizzbula and Iran to such a degree that an effective geographical arc was created from Iran, through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon to Israel's northern border. This alliance not only provides a weapon conduit to Hizzbula at any given time, but if any major confict arises between Israel and Iran (or Syria), Iran could realistically send troops to battle Israel directly on it's border (along with Syrian troops and Hizzbula). Israel on the other hand is left with the option of attacking Iran from 1000 miles away, which is by far less effective. Essentially Iran has a border with Israel while Israel does not have one with Iran.
By loosing Syria, Hizzbula and Iran are loosing the ability to combine forces against Israel, on Israel's border. Hizzbula is left alone to deal with Israel directly while Iran stays, literally, thousands of miles behind. This is a very real loss.

Unfortunately, I expected a more thought-through analysis from As'ad. Hezbollah of the yesteryears is a totally different beast from what it is today. The fall of the Syrian regime will undoubtedly leave very serious effects on its infrastructure. Betting on internal strife to embolden the hizb is also a bit of wishful thinking. Nobody can really predict the outcome of a Lebanese inferno, if it spills across the border. With way too many "protective" counties with rabid interests in the region, I would not make any predictions ...

Wishful Thinking, Mr. Angry !
What is happening today is against the Syrian GOVERNMENT & STATE, not "the regime". Using this word by you is turning you into a parrot, angry parrot, who keeps repeating the same propaganda of the West, GCC, and Israel. You are one of them!. Congrats!
Hezbollah already have enough maneuverability and independent, a lot more than what they had in 2006 war, so enough with that Hollywood scenario of yours!
If Damascus fall, they'll turn into Lebanon to "purify" it from Hezbollah in a sectarian war. So enough with the promises of yours that it'll be better for the Lebanese Resistance after the fall of Damascus into the hands of extremists.
You hate the Syrian government. We wish you the same in feedback !

This post by As'ad is wishful thinking, in my opinion. If, somehow, Hizballah will emerge stronger after the collapse of Syria's regime, then why would they so fervently support Bashar even at the cost of their legitimacy with a great deal of the Arab world? When you say something that runs against everything that we're observing, then it comes off like you know more than what the people actually fighting on the ground now. I'm sure Nasrallah knows what's best for his organization.

The collapse of the regime will mean near-total geographic isolation of Hizballah. I don't think anybody will bother attacking them given their strength and organization, but if they should decide to play a part in Syria's civil war it is possible that they may expose the Shiite communities in south Lebanon to the enmity of Salafists and Zionists at the same time.

makes sense -- thank you

Whmat is happening in the Levant, is much more important and tragic than the fate of the Syrian regime or Hizbullah. While we hear a lot about the uncertainity that faces christianity and christians in the region, almost noone talks about the real dangers that loom ahead for the Shia minorities in th arab countries.
ALL arab Shia minorities ( including Alawis), without exception, face a real danger of physical extermination. The Shias of the Arabian Peninsula face daily killings, with the rest of the world ignoring their plight. The lebanese Shia, inspite of their numbers and military power, are politically and socially marginalized by all other lebanese. This will certainly get much worse with the collapse of the Syrian regime. The Iraqi Shia are being isolated by the West, Turkey and all Arab countries, and it is only a matter of time ( not long) that they will lose their status in Iraq.
Of course, the worst fate awaits the Syrian Shia and Allawis.
Why are the Shia in this dire situation ? I would say that the Shia brought this on themselves. They have very stupidly and naively decided to fight the West , as a way of supporting the palestenians.They have allowed the Iranians to lead them in this self destructive path.
If the Shia are to survive, it is very urgent that the Shia change direction: They should reallign themselves with the West. As to the Israeli -Palestenian issue, this is NOT a Shia problem and the Shia should take a neutral position. ( Isn't it pathetic that palestenians , like the rest of the Arabs-- believe the Shia to be a worse enemy that Jews).
Taking this position will help the Shia survive, except for the Syrian Shia, for whom this may be too late Their only hope is to have their separate state, or to ally themselves with the Kurds and a have ajoint Secular Shia - Kurdish (syrian,iraqi,turkish and iranian kurds)
I hope that will publish my pouint of view, and open it for your readers to comment on. Otherwise you will be no better than the Baath that you rentlessly attack.

And what about the sunnis living in Iran? What is there fate. And what about the fate o shia arabs in Iran. What about the fate of sunnis living in Iraq?

What about them ? They are under NO threat whatsoever. ? The Shia throughout history have not committed masacres based on religious believes, which is not true about the Sunnis, who have no tolerance to other religions or sects? The examples of T aliban , Al qqidah, Al saud , Ottomans, Al mamaliks, palestenians, Saddam ( you want me to continue?)

"They are under NO threat whatsoever."

Tell that to the hundreds of thousands of them who were forced from their homes.

"The Shia throughout history have not committed masacres based on religious believes, which is not true about the Sunnis, who have no tolerance to other religions or sects"

Ibn Alqami, the Fatimids, Qaramitah, Safavids, the Iranian regime, Faylaq Badr and Jaysh al-Mahdi, the Assadi mafia, you want me to continue

The post-Taef alliance with Syria has arguably been a moderating and Lebanizing influence on Hezbollah. If in the 80s during th civil war rhey just a radical vanguard of the Iranian revolution, and almost like a kind of Shia al-Qaeda, since Sayyed Nasrallah has taken over the Party it has allied itself more closely to Syrian and Lebanese nationalism. Many of the parties it fought most bloodily - Amal, SSNP - have bcome its closest allies, and it has allied with the Christians. It is since the 1990s that it has become the leading Arab nationalist party in the world - but while the alliance with Syrai encouraged this, it really seems like it was the personality of Nasrallah that was the driving force, and let's hope that as long as he (and the culture he created withing the party) stays, it will not simply revert to being a Shia sectarian militia

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