March 31, 2009

Hezbollah Doesn’t Have Wings

A few weeks ago Britain decided to unfreeze

Posted by Michael J. Totten at March 31, 2009 10:04 AM
Comments
Michael, others,
Thoughts on this?
"Hezbollah uses Mexican drug routes into U.S."
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/mar/27/hezbollah-uses-mexican-drug-routes-into-us/
http://tinyurl.com/cw98uj
Posted by: Paul S. at March 31, 2009 1:57 pm
Mike, we negotiated with terrorists in Iraq. Repeatedly. As far as I know, we didn
Posted by: glasnost at March 31, 2009 3:28 pm
As a practical matter, the answer is, when a non-state organization gets roots into a society that are as deep as Hizballah
Posted by: glasnost at March 31, 2009 3:28 pm
I'm all in favor of talking to Hezbollah too - the way we talked to Japan on the deck of the Missouri.
Posted by: Gary Rosen at March 31, 2009 11:55 pm
In spite of Obama's overtures, I don't believe that America will seriously engage Iran, Hizbollah, or Hamas, because it is simply not in America's nature to traffic with nations and ideologies that are so antithetical to its founding principals. Europe is a whore, let's face it. America is still closer to Teddy Roosevelt than it is to Neville Chamberlain.
What's more, none of those three groups will seriously engage America. In response to Glasnost's (again) specious comparison of the Sunni rebels in Iraq with Hizbollah, one could say that they were ipso facto not terrorists, by the very fact that they agreed to cooperate with the American regime. Al Quaida will never and can never cooperate, and neither, I believe can Hizbollah, at least not in its present form.
Posted by: MarkC at April 1, 2009 10:46 pm
I hope you're right, Mark; I want to believe it. In America's heartland? Definitely. Washington, currently? I'm, at least, apprehensive. I'm waiting to see what "dialogue" opens with Hugo Chavez, for one---to his advantage, of course; I've followed the North Korean charade too long to not see who wins.
Posted by: Paul S. at April 1, 2009 11:30 pm
Glasnost, am I mistaken in thinking you have denied being an apologist for terrorists, in the past? Or am I thinking of somebody else?
Posted by: programmmer_craig at April 2, 2009 7:00 am
"Glasnost, am I mistaken in thinking you have denied being an apologist for terrorists, in the past?"
Nothing encourages the intransigence of Hezbollah and Hamas more than Western apologists like glasnost making excuses for their savagery while demonizing Israel for defending itself from it.
Posted by: Gary Rosen at April 3, 2009 12:10 am
In response to Glasnost's (again) specious comparison of the Sunni rebels in Iraq with Hizbollah, one could say that they were ipso facto not terrorists, by the very fact that they agreed to cooperate with the American regime.
I like you, Mark. You make it possible to have conversation, because you try hard enough to use empirical observation that it gives me something to work with.
For example - you've found a coherent and realistic criterion to distinguish people we're working with in Iraq from Hizballah. Congradulations! That's progress from using a fictional gradient, like that they were just "insurgents", or that they weren't, in fact, engaging in widespread killing of civilians prior to working with us.
Unfortunately, by neccessity, it's dumb, because it can't be both accurate and non-dumb.
Why is it dumb?
one could say that they were ipso facto not terrorists, by the very fact that they agreed to cooperate with the American regime.
Care to take a minute, step back, and assess your criterion? They're not terrorists, because they cooperated with us? Terrorists are not terrorists when they cooperate with us? Mary mardigan, where are you? You sound like Hosni Mubarak or Bashir Assad. For a website built entirely on clear, if warped, moral distinctions, it sure is funny to see you get to here.
Look, non-state actors who deliberately kill civilians en masse are terrorists. We're working in Iraq with people who, prior to our deals with them, were terrorists. The best you can say is that part of our deal was that they would stop being terrorists in exchange for working with us.
Negotiations with Hizballah operate on essentially the same principles. The problem is that our political conversation, not to mention our legal and regulatory structures, are not really ready to handle that.See, an unofficial criterion of terrorist was that they tended to be small, isolated, and secretive vanguard elements, rather than poltiical mass movements. That's why the British government is giving Mike a big hypocrisy target. We can't use the same rules, or the same tools, on political mass movements that we use on splinter cells. The last decade has been a slow and painful process - for some people - of figuring that out.
Mike knows it too, which is why he has cleverly avoided saying something as direct as "no negotiations with Hamas". Whether or not there are wings is sort of a question of emphasis and semantics. I don't neccesarily disagree, but it really doesn't matter.
Posted by: glasnost at April 4, 2009 7:56 am
Glasnost, am I mistaken in thinking you have denied being an apologist for terrorists, in the past? Or am I thinking of somebody else?
What the fuck is an apologist? Do you hear me apologizing? I suppose I'm justifying the behavior of the British government. Am I an apologist for the British government? Or is that just an inherently dumb as shit terminology to begin with?
Everyone's behavior can be justified. And analytically, should be. You can always go back, after having reviewed the reasons why people do things, and condemn them for it anyway. In fact, that's what's known as an "informed moral judgement". Rather than say, knee-jerk vigilantism.
Posted by: glasnost at April 4, 2009 8:00 am
Look, non-state actors who deliberately kill civilians en masse are terrorists. We're working in Iraq with people who, prior to our deals with them, were terrorists. The best you can say is that part of our deal was that they would stop being terrorists in exchange for working with us.
Some of the terrorist/insurgent Iraqi decided to turn against al Qaeda because they were fed up with AQI's Saudi charm. Turning on their Saudi/"foreign fighter" friends was their idea. We were just smart enough to decide to work with them. Since the "insurgents" had been working with al Qaeda, they also knew how to get rid of them.
It was also a good idea to work with them because if we hadn't, the Iraqi insurgency would have not have joined a central government, and would have turned into a warring tribal/vigilante militia. It may still, but we have done our best to prevent that.
Of course, since Saudi Arabia was supplying most of the al Qaeda fighters, it would have been more efficient for us to force the Saudi leaders to stop their war against us. But, since the Saudi royals are our generous and friendly "moderate allies," we'll never do that.
Negotiations with Hizballah operate on essentially the same principles.
No they don't. In this absurd war we're fighting, the Saudi terrorists are on "our" side. Hezbollah/Iran terrorists are on "their" side. When Britain offers to negotiate with "their" side, they're essentially surrendering. They're not asking them to share any real intelligence information, and they're not expecting Hezbollah to do anything useful, like assassinating Iran's intelligence agents.
Britain is just planning give Hezbollah lots of money and legitimacy, and they are not asking for anything in return. As a result of this empowerment, Hezbollah will continue to bully Lebanon, Israel and Britain.
We all have the same deal with the Palestinians.
Posted by: maryatexitzero at April 4, 2009 9:26 am
Hezbollah doesn't have seperate wings. There is one wing lead by Sayed Nasrallah, may peace be upon him.
We should try to negotiate with both Khamenei and Nasrallah. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work.
Posted by: anand at April 6, 2009 10:50 pm
What is so wrong about negotiating with Nasrallah. Nasrallah and PM Maliki have been close friends for decades. Can't we ask Maliki/Dawa, or Hakim/ISCI (both of which are Nasrallah allies) to help facilitate negotiations between America and Hezbollah?
I know Craig disagrees with me on Hezbollah. What about everyone else? We should negotiate with Hezbollah is to determine what is possible . . . negotiations need not be about concessions.
As part of the negotiation process, we might consider actions to increase our leverage. If Hezbollah doesn't offer us a good deal, we don't settle with them. What is the downside?
Now let me ask a question:
Which poses a greater threat, Saudi Arabia or Hezbollah? Since Saudi Arabia and Hezbollah are enemies, can't we conceivably explore collaborating with Hezbollah against AQ linked networks? We know that AQ, Osama Bin Laden, Zawahiri, Lashkar e Toiba and the rest of the Punjabi Taliban, detest Hezbollah and say the nastiest things about it. Might this not present an opportunity?
Posted by: anand at April 6, 2009 11:01 pm
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