Left-wing politics from the US to Nepal, via Zimbabwe, South America and Palestine.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Is Hizbollah more popular after Lebanon II?

A decent, if a tad shallow Chomsky article in the Guardian Unlimited blog today.

I disagree with his assertion that a two-state solution will bring about peace, but the rest of his analysis makes quite a bit of sense. Especially this:

"In keeping with a familiar pattern, the aggression is sharply increasing the support for Hizbullah, not only in the Arab and Muslim worlds beyond, but also in Lebanon itself. Late last month, polls revealed that 87% of Lebanese support Hizbullah's resistance against the invasion, including 80% of Christians and Druze. Even the Maronite Catholic patriarch, the spiritual leader of the most pro-western sector in Lebanon, joined Sunni and Shia religious leaders in a statement condemning the "aggression" and hailing "the resistance, mainly led by Hizbullah". The poll also found that 90% of Lebanese regard the US as "complicit in Israel's war crimes against the Lebanese people".

Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, Lebanon's leading academic scholar on Hizbullah, observes that "these findings are all the more significant when compared to the results of a similar survey conducted just five months ago, which showed that only 58% of all Lebanese believed Hizbullah had the right to remain armed, and hence continue its resistance activity".

At a talk I attended at the Franklin Center last night, a number of speakers made the assertion that support for Hizbollah is now decreasing in Lebanon and that Lebanese are increasingly angry and blame Hizbollah for the destruction of their homes and villages. This is based mainly on blog reports, such as this one. I would take these reports with a grain of salt. It's worth constantly reminding oneself that blogs (especially English blogs from Arab countries) are the domain of the well-educated middle class. That excludes much of the South of Lebanon and the areas targeted by Israel. I think those polls quoted by Chomsky are a much fairer reflection of Lebanese opinion. I think we will soon see the effects of increased support for Hizbollah and that those media outlets reporting large-scale anger at Nasrallah will swallow their words in short order.

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