Posted by: sean | September 24, 2006

Nasrallah’s speech and disarmament

Hassan Nasrallah held a public rally on 22 September, his first public appearance since the war. Hundreds of thousands of people showed up, and it was a surprise that Nasrallah was able to show up, since Israel has threatened to assasinate him. Nasrallah’s speech talked about many things, including a national unity government, the welcoming of UNIFIL forces (provided that they don’t spy on Hizbollah) and claims that the latest war was done at Iran and Syria’s behest. He also addressed the idea of disarming Hizbollah, which he mentioned that no army, as Israelis had just learned, could disarm them by force:

The resistance is the result of several causes — the occupation, the arrest of prisoners, the plunder of waters, the threat to Lebanon, and the attack on Lebanese sovereignty. These are the causes. Tackle the causes and the results will be tackled easily.

When we build a strong, capable, and just state that protects Lebanon and the Lebanese, it will be easy to find an honourable solution to the question of the resistance and its weapons. I would like the Lebanese to hear clearly. I and my brothers get excited sometimes and say all kinds of things. Let us speak with some responsibility. We do not say that these weapons will remain forever. And, it is not logical for these weapons to remain forever. There is bound to be an end to them. The natural key is to tackle the causes and the results will disappear.

Come and build a strong and just state, protecting the country and the citizens and their livelihoods, waters, and dignity, and you will find that the resolution of the resistance issue will not need even a negotiation table. It is a great deal easier than that.

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Responses

  1. My god.

    I simply don’t know what to make of Nasrallah. His speech was most certainly rational and diplomatic. He clearly articulated the status of the Middle East, the Palestinian Question, and the terms to which Hizbullah would disarm. These three questions, in my opinion, are the nuts and bolts of the Middle East Question. In other words, Nasrallah understands the need to combine idealistic ideas with practical implementations, and he clearly understand the essential invisible dialogue that has been lurking in the minds of all the Muslim World, the West, and the state of Israel.

    Still, I am still very uncomfortable about Nasrallah’s rhetoric. His understanding of a “united Lebanese state” is absolutely hypocritical. In fact, Hizbullah’s very existence in Lebanon begs the question of “What is Lebanon?” In this sense, I feel that Nasrallah’s assertions about the “respect” for “Lebanese Sovereignty” is unfair, given that Hizbullah -in a sense- has been challenging the very definition of a nation.

    What is so maddening about the diplomacy process, I must repeat, is the very ontological crisis of “what is Hizbullah within Lebanon”? Still, I think Western diplomacy feels very uncomfortable about negotiating with non-state actors (and rightfully so), so the whole process begs the question if dealing with Hizbullah at the negotiation tables would prove to legitimate an unprecedented organization.

    In this respect, I feel that “Lebanon” is the key agent here, and I must confess that I am upset that intellectuals and politicians deny the agency of Lebanon-as-state. If Lebanon can somehow fold in Hizbullah as a part of the national-polity (and not as a separate state-within-a-state thing), then Lebanon may finally enjoy true national sovereignty, and not the bedevling kind in which Hizbullah (as well as Syria and Iran) is directly challenging. Yet, to be fair, Lebanon is careful about defining Hizbullah as a “contentious actor”, so we will see what happens. I will not make any predictions.

    -KM


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