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Published:December 22nd, 2009 13:24 EST
Has Hizbullah Changed?

Has Hizbullah Changed?

By SOP newswire2

By Shimon Shapira
 
Some Western analysts believe the political manifesto published in the wake of Hizbullah`s 7th General Conference at the end of November 2009 represented a fundamental change in Hizbullah policy. Hizbullah`s vigorous insistence that it retain an army of its own that does not heed the authority of the state but rather the representative of Iran`s leader in Lebanon makes a mockery of the clauses in the political manifesto about Lebanon being the eternal homeland.

Furthermore, by building a state-like system parallel to that of the Lebanese state, and one that relies on aid and funding from Iran and Syria, Hizbullah does not contribute to the strengthening of Lebanon. The decision of the Lebanese government to recognize the continued legitimate existence of Hizbullah`s armed militia demonstrates less a case that Hizbullah underwent a process of "Lebanonization," but rather that the Lebanese state has undergone a process of "Hizbullazation."

Hizbullah`s alleged move toward pragmatism is based to a large extent on an Iranian decision to create a new atmosphere in Lebanon that will allow it to work unmolested. Iran is looking for strict silence in the Lebanese arena in order to enable Hizbullah to reconstruct its strategic capabilities (including long-range rockets and missiles) in Lebanon in order to make use of these capabilities at a time to be determined by Tehran. 

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Middle East Strategic Information Analysisis a project of the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs