What might seem simple to some who have lived and studied a given subject, is often total Greek to others . . . until we too learn. Nothing exists in a vacuum—materially or socially.
When I first went to the Middle East in 1969, I didn’t know a whole lot more of the area than the average American, which was practically nothing. Geography is not a strong suit in our education, history even less so. Further, what “education” we do get is often grossly slanted.
In these 101-overviews, I’ve tried to very briefly capsulize what I’ve learned. I urge all to further investigate on your own thru the links provided herein and beyond.
As a former journalist, I’ve long learned that when the “news” is reported in our culture, it’s filtered thru the prevailing idée fixe and the six-or-so central corporations that own 90+% of the media (and sports and entertainment complex). Each specific interest colors the news to suit its own agenda.
As a forensic criminalist (PsyD), I’ve also learned that certain reportage is often used as an epithet rather than as an objective description. The human brain is as much a social organism as it is a “computer” of information. ALL of our learning is conditioned by emotive coloration by our Limbic System. That’s both a blessing and a curse, depending on how we direct and control it thru our Frontal Cortex…
In a nutshell (and some historical context), the Middle East is comprised of a vast array of disparate tribal societies. Prior to the Great War (World War-I), the region was dominated by the (Turkish) Ottoman Empire.
When they and their ally Germany lost that war, the League of Nations, dominated by France and England, carved up the Middle East into political states to control the populations and resources (primarily petro-chemicals). Lebanon became a French Colony. They achieved their independence at the end of World War-II, 1945.
Hezbollah, the Shi’a political party in Lebanon, is almost always described by Israel and the West as an “Islamic terror” organization. Many might be surprised to find that it is, in fact, a leading anti-terror org, which has cost many of its members their lives. How and when was Hezbollah created? Let’s examine that…
Some 27% of the population of Lebanon is Shi’a Muslim (another 27% are Sunni, and more than 40% Christian and others).
Lebanon has a rather unique Parliamentary Democracy w/its top gov’t offices designated to reflect these populations. The Presidency is always a Maronite Christian, the Prime Minister a Sunni Muslim, and the Speaker of Parliament, a Shi’a, etc. Elections are held respectively in each demographic.
The role of the Palestinians is also noted. After the creation of the Israeli state in 1948, the UN set up UNRWA refugee camps to house the millions of displaced and dispossessed villagers by Israel from what was formerly Palestine. The camps in Lebanon were largely controlled by the Lebanese army up until the occasion of my visit in 1969 (when the Palestinian militias broke free from their camps and assumed power over their own populations). Today there remains over 400,000 Palestinians encamped in Lebanon (with well over a million Syrian refugees as well).
While the Lebanese never fired a shot at Israel, there was growing conflict along its southern border between the Israelis and Palestinians. Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982 in an attempt to smash the Palestinians and split Lebanon into two states, the southern part occupied by Israel allied with the Christian Falangist forces and a Sunni-dominated state north of the Litani River and Beirut.
The chief architect of this strategy was the Israeli Minister of Defense (and later prime Minister), Ariel Sharon. As a Revisionist Zionist, Sharon was well aware of the Nazi tactic of punishing populations collectively for the actions of resistance forces.
After the Israelis attacked the Palestinians (primarily refugees in UN camps), and rained collective punishment on the Shi’a populations and Beirut, the US negotiated a withdrawal of the Palestinian militias to North Africa by sea.
The United States promised to safeguard the refugee families left behind. However, the Israelis promptly secured control of the refugee camps and brought in the Christian Falangists to engage in the wholesale slaughter of the remaining women, children and old men.
In the aftermath of world exposure and revulsion, Israel withdraw to the south border region with their Falangist allies, and further engaged in the wholesale displacement of Shi’a communities in their areas of occupation. Israel thereafter continued to occupy southern Lebanon for the next 18-years until 2000.
Israel nevertheless continues today to occupy and effectively annex the Shabaa region of Southern Lebanon, the Syrian Golan Heights, and all of Palestine (the West Bank and Gaza). The world is well aware of Israel’s routine periodic massacres in Gaza, and their persistent colonial-settlement of the West Bank.
They have no intent to cease and never did. The establishment of Eretz Yisrael (which includes far more than their current holdings) is the central Protocol of the World Zionist Movement (since its founding in the 1800s).
Hezbollah was born after the Palestinian withdrawal and during the period that Israel continued to occupy southern Lebanon. As a militia force defending the Shi’a populations in Lebanon under attack by the Israelis, they received financial and other aid from their brethren in Iran.
(While Iran is an Indo-European, Aryan-descended population, not Arabic, over 90% of Iran is Shi’a and thus a natural ally to other Shi’a populations, whatever their ethnic heritage.)
Concerning Hezbollah, the former Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Barak, best described the situation in 2006: “When we entered Lebanon…there was no Hezbollah. We were accepted with perfumed rice and flowers by the Shi’a in the south. It was our presence [and actions] there that created Hezbollah.”
Battling the Israelis primarily thru guerilla warfare, Hezbollah eventually evolved into a full-blown political force (much as did the Israelis themselves in their own pre-independence period). While Hezbollah today does not engage in cross-border attacks against Israel, it does respond to Israeli attacks–usually by ineffectual rocket-fire . . . so far.
As the political org of the Shi’a in Lebanon, Hezbollah maintains a militia, but over 90% of its operations maintain an extensive social program of hospitals, schools, agricultural and environmental centers, infrastructure developmental projects, Radio, TV and newspapers, a veterans administration and social assistance to the needy.
Hezbollah is not simply an Islamic organization in the sense depicted in the Israeli and American media. They are closely allied with the Ba’ath Arab-Socialist Party of Syria and provide significant military assistance to both Syria and Iraq in its fight against Al Qaeda and ISIS.
Not so ironically (US neo-con, and Saudi Salafist-Wahhabist designs), Al Qaeda was originally created in 1980 to battle the socialist Afghani gov’t and its Soviet allies. After that war, Al Qaeda turned its attention to the West. ISIS was a direct result of the US devastation of Iraq.
Hamas in Gaza, also a political party with a militia, was initially a reaction to Israeli aggression and was even fomented by Israel as a counter-force to the Palestinian Authority of Yassir Arafat.
Interesting how all of these entities are creatures of the very forces that spawned them.
Dr. Publico (Nick Medvecky, PsyD), April 2016…