When We Isolate Ourselves Voluntarily
Hazem Saghieh Al-Hayat - 19/09/06//

Hezbollah wants Lebanon to strain its relations with Germany, because the German Chancellor linked the presence of her country's troops to the defense of Israel's existence. The Secretary-General of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, denounced Tony Blair's visit to Beirut, condemning it in the strongest terms, because Britain had taken an inappropriate stand during the war. In turn, France seems to be repugnant to Hezbollah, which does not conceal its hatred toward it because it accuses the French of being hostile to the Movement. Naturally, the US is the 'Great Satan', which Israel, according to Nasrallah, was carrying out its desire to eradicate Hezbollah!

If these criticisms are taken one by one, some of them may probably reflect some truth. But when they are taken collectively, they will only mean a call to isolate Lebanon from the Western powers and turn itself, willingly, into a rogue country in the eyes of the West.

However, Hezbollah does not conceal its desire to strain Lebanon's relations with Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan as well, because they disapproved of Hezbollah and its war. In this way, the Lebanese government is required to pursue a policy opposed to some of the largest and most influential and capable Arab countries. If we add Turkey, the prominent regional force in the Middle East, the self-isolation will be complete.

In other words, Hezbollah wants Lebanon to burn its bridges with the Arabs, the Turks and the West simultaneously. This is at a time when the Lebanese are in dire need of economic, financial and political support from all of them, hoping to overcome the disasters inflicted on them by Hezbollah's war with the Israelis.
Here, too, we glimpse another aspect of the disasters caused by Hezbollah. Lebanon will lose much of its value if it is not on the best terms with the Arabs and the West. Lebanon always aspired to be a model for openness and cooperation. This era, described by some as an age of the 'clash of civilizations', gives its traditional aspiration a higher sense of urgency. But what is suggested is that the country should not be the total sum of two positive elements; on the contrary, it should be the total sum of two negative ingredients and two ruptures. This suggestion is inherently fatal, not only to what the country is worth, but also to its economy, education, enlightenment, and to everything that closely or remotely relates to it.

In this way, Hezbollah is hastening the creation of the totalitarian State, where the state obeys the party without any hesitation. Its President (a Podgorny, Ahmadinejad, Emile Lahoud, or perhaps Michel Aoun) will be just the executor of the wishes of the Secretary General or the Guide (a Brezhnev, Khamenei or perhaps Hassan Nasrallah). This is because totalitarian ruling party makes the interests of the country subservient to its own, and sees things from its own perspective. Accordingly, Hezbollah wants to guide the State into adopting a futile policy, which it would have to adopt in light of the party's quandary in the Arab and Western worlds. Lebanon, whose people have never been unanimous over Hezbollah's war, should not be interested in punishing itself twice: once because of Hezbollah, and another because of its solidarity with it.

However, these visions are very remote from 'innocent' ideological perceptions. When Lebanon's relations with Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, the US, France, Germany and Britain collapse, it will have ties with only Syria and Iran (and, of course, Qatar ). Thus, an isolated, despotic country will join hands with two other isolated, despotic countries. If its people face starvation, they will eat rockets, and if they need ideas they will be provided with the principle of the Velayate Faqih (the governance of the learned Islamic scholar). If we remember that Hezbollah's perspective on the domestic front is as intolerant as its attitude toward the outside world, and if we adhere to the Movement's views, we will end up besieged of our own free will like Hamas, or become another isolated Cuba, where people run away and the intelligentsia is imprisoned.

Was it for this purpose that Emile Lahoud visited Havana? Does he hope to bring to his allies some 'useful' lessons from that experience, which might end up a Lebanese future?