Life is a picture of words, in which are intricately woven revelations of truth rendering us the theme of things which are hidden from our eyes and remain unknown in our knowledge bank. Ahmad Nizar Hamzeh, an associate professor in Political Science at the American University of Beirut, taking us on a Path of Hizbullah- a party of God and an Islamist organization unearth the political and social implications arising in Southern Lebanon which gave birth to Hizbullah in 1982.
Labeled as a Terrorist organization by many a Western Nations, Hizbullah has created a strong cultural influence on the people of Lebanon and posters as a Shiite Islamic movement. Ahmad Nizar Hamzeh, explores all the facets of its structure including organizational set-up, establishment of Islamic jurisprudence, its ideology and an emerging political power in the spheres of Lebanon.
The four major calamities that shook the land of Lebanon led to the rise of Hizbullah. These four crises were Identity crisis and persecution, Structural imbalance, Military Defeat and Iran’s Islamic Revolution. Hizbullah adopted two ideologies to counter these crises, one is Islamic juristical ideology and the other is Clerical leadership and organization, and took the military as well as pragmatic approach to implement their ideologies into the heart and souls.
According to Ahmad Nizar Hamzeh, “Hizbullah emerged from a marriage between the Lebanese Shiite militants and Islamic Iran” and “Iran’s new presence in Lebanon afforded the first direct point of contact between the Islamic regime and a major Shiite community in the Arab world—the largest community outside Iraq. ” 1 Endnotes: 1. Ahmad Nizar Hamzeh In the Path of Hizbullah (Syracuse University Press, 2004), 25. Under the Iranian sponsorship and following the traits of Ayatollah Khomeini’s Hizbullah declared its organization through a communique called “The Open Letter” in 1985.
: Hizbullah, with two hundred thousand members in his party, among them the majority being Shiite Muslims, define themselves as faithful Lebanese who has utter faith in Islam, resistance, and liberation of the land and consider themselves as one of the most prominent Lebanese political parties Further stating he said that “It is a first of all and a leading jihadi movement which engages in politics, and not a political party that conducts jihad”. 1 But it is also true that it is not a conventional secular party as Western Democratic or socialist systems are.
Ahmad Nizar Hamzeh, says that the shape of the organization is like a hierarchical pyramid whose base corresponds to the three Shiite territorial divisions of Lebanon’s governorates, Beirut, Beqaa (Biqa) and South Lebanon with Shiite clerics constituting majority in the leadership role, because it is said that clerics are “more knowledgeable about God’s Law and closer to the mood of Islam than average Muslims. ” 2 Book also tells us how Hizbullah’s Secretary General Sheikh Sayeed Hassan Nasrallah, took over its functioning at the age of 32.
It was Nasrallah only who converted the group from loosely knit volunteer militia to a strong military, political and social service agency gaining the tremendous support of the Lebanese people. With the help of the charts, diagrams and carefully researched documentation, he chronicled the critical movements that led to the Hizbullah’s development and growth. Endnotes: 1. Ahmad Nizar Hamzeh In the Path of Hizbullah (Syracuse University Press, 2004), 44. 2. Ahmad Nizar Hamzeh In the Path of Hizbullah (Syracuse University Press, 2004), 44.
Hamzeh lay before the world actual power of the Millitary wing of Hizbullah who are civilians including carpenters, farmers, workers, or students who are given time and again instructions to collectively join in a mission to throw the enemies out. Hamzeh estimated that there are around 5000 to 20,000 fighters in their force. Though Hamzeh pointed out that Hizbullah’s main aim is to establish Islamic tenets but never intended to do it with force and the most crucial aspect of the book is to make us believe and understand the true meaning of Jihad which has been misrepresented.
Hamzeh says that, “When identity crisis and structural imbalance are reinforced by military defeat, a society’s militancy potential increases markedly. Military defeat followed by foreign occupation opens the way for militant movements fostering political organization or employing guerrilla warfare and enjoying widespread support. ” 1 In other words when identity crises of any faith or religion of a Society is in danger resulting from the military defeat, this eventually give birth to the militant and political movements to create the widespread support and embellish the self identity.
This is the main reason for the formation of the Hizbullah movement what is known as the most powerful guerrilla organization when Israel invaded Lebanon in 1978. In 1990, Hizbullah followed what Hamzeh named “gradualist pragmatism”, whereby they try to capture parliamentary seats in Lebanon’s secular government and elected Hizbulla’s party members moved according to Western style and under the instructions of clerical leadership voted the Khomeini/Khamenei line.
Over and over again, ranging from the period between 1982- 2000, Hizbullah wages constant battles against Israeli Defense Forces which finally forced the Israel to withdraw from Endnotes: 1. Ahmad Nizar Hamzeh In the Path of Hizbullah (Syracuse University Press, 2004), 15. Southern Lebanon in May 27, 2000. Hizbullah with its power and endurance successfully resisted the avaricious Israel’s aggression and led the Lebanon towards the Independent nation and proved as an example in its enduring antagonism against United States global dominance.
President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran commented that the military resistance in Iraq and the landslide victory of Hamas in Palestine are the examples of the victory of self determination and of the nations who are aiming to throw the ubiquitous control of the United States and Israel’s alliance for global supremacy. This book is based on theoretical framework from which is developed readers interest by delving in the organizations framework of unity and ideological consistency which is even appreciated by its opponents or those who are following the different religion and political ideology.
By formulating an in-depth study, he posed before us the several questions that can unleash before us the severity of the United States authoritative endeavors in the Middle East and the Arab world and the complexities of the situation arising out of the crises and at the same time addresses the larger question which is a concern to all of us that: Should an armed organization having terrorist roots and eager to establish an Islamist state can play an effective role in pluralistic polity?
It is no doubt very well written work but while reading and moving across its pages, it appears that besides approaching the topic with all the facts and statistics, there is a feeling of certain amount of bias in his work especially in his over emphasis on the description of losses incurred by the Israeli forces but very less of Hizbullah. This book has moved beyond the original conventional approach of depicting the religious ideology or its violent activities towards its softer side as an Islamic group with strong social and political ideologies.
Hamzeh Nizar Ahmad In the Path of Hizbullah Syracuse University Press, 2004.