Learning From Hezbollah

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by armchair_jihad, Aug 12, 2006.

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  1. Hezbollah gained the support of the Lebanese public using militarized grass-roots politics. We aren't faring as well with the Iraqis.

    From my first day in Iraq as a young infantry officer, I was struck by the huge perceptual gulf that separated us from the Iraqis.....the motives of the local populace remained largely invisible to us, as people smiled one minute and attempted to blow us up the next. We knew little or nothing about their grievances and aspirations, or where the political fault lines ran in the cluster of small cities in the Sunni Triangle we were tasked with pacifying.

    I find myself comparing our efforts to introduce a new order in Iraq with Hezbollah's success as an effective practitioner of the art of militarized grass-roots politics. Frankly, it's not a favorable comparison -- for us. Hezbollah's organizational resilience in the face of an all-out conventional assault shows the degree to which it has seamlessly combined the strategic objectives of its sponsors with a localized political and military program.

    Using the grass-roots approach, Hezbollah has been able to convert the ignored and dispossessed Shiite underclass of southern Lebanon into a powerful lever in regional politics. It understands that the basic need in any human conflict, whether or not it involves physical violence, is to take care of one's political base before striking out at the opponent.

    It is the willingness of women, children and old men to support Hezbollah and its political program at the risk of their lives that gives the organization power far beyond its military means.

    The lessons should be clear. To engage in insurgency or counterinsurgency ...one must be willing and, most of all, able to work in the underbelly of local politics, as Hezbollah has done in Lebanon. It is the politics of getting people jobs, picking up trash and getting relatives out of jail. Engaging in this politics has the potential to do much more than merely ingratiate an armed force with a local population. It gives that force a mental map of local pressure points and the knowledge of how to press them -- benignly or otherwise -- to get desired results.

    Some may say that this is just standard insurgency-counterinsurgency doctrine. True, but one has to ask why Hezbollah has been able to pull it off in Lebanon, while young Americans continue to endure a host of nasty surprises in Iraq.


    The writer served in Iraq as a Marine infantry officer in 2004.

    Article in full

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/11/AR2006081101398.html
     
  2. Nehustan

    Nehustan On ROPs

    Haven't read the whole article, but what I'm getting is that the socio-economic and political strategies employed by Hizbollah in South Lebanon can be viewed as a model. 'Had this model been applied in iraq...' etc.

    Ok thing is if the USMC was to employ this to counterinsurgency in Texas it might work. Its far easier to win hearts and mind, when you share hearts and mind. Maybe a simplistic riposte to the posted quote (haven't read it all, sorry), but that's the first thing that entered my mind.
     
  3. It's basic Marxist/Leninist tactics and it works best if you have something in common with the people you're trying to brainwash.

    Read Orwell's 'Animal Farm'.
     
  4. So quite simply Hezbollah gained political and societal legitimacy by offering services and benefits that central authority was unable or unwilling to provide.
    The Americans lost legitimacy in Iraq because for some bizarre reason they decided to dismantle the Iraqi state apparatus and deny the Iraqi people the services and benefits that had been provided to them before the war.
    Lesson: Don’t try to re-invent the wheel or it will cost you big time.
     
  5. Let's turn it about then ya boy ye. How come the indigenous police force of NI were unable to police West Belfast?

    Marxist/Leninist.

    Nothing new but still amazing to watch.
     
  6. Firstly who you calling boy? Boyo?
    On West Belfast, its catholic is not it. Therefore, the population in the early days must have felt that the service provider (the indigenous police force) was not providing an adequate service. Non-state actor filled this void.
    The government agency becomes de-legitimised.
    It is a simple question of how governments gain legitimacy.
     
  7. Firstly, I didn't call you boy. I said, 'Ya boy ye'. A normal term of address in the first person where I was born and raised.

    I used West Belfast as an example of how PIRA had successfully undermined the state and convinced the population of that area that they would be best policed by PIRA using knee-cappings, elbow shots and baseball bat attacks as a better method of justice than the city courts for minor crimes.

    The Loyalists tried the same but were unsuccessful in the same area.

    It's not sectarianism when I say this. I'm only pointing out fact. You and I, as you well know, can debate these points without being anything other than objective, and we both know PIRA (and the Stickies) to be Marxist/Leninist. Why then should we be surprised to find organisations in the middle east who were funded by Comintern to be any different?
     
  8. Okay but I still do not get it.

    Nevertheless, are you arguing that the IRA was able to de-legitimise the state just by force alone? Or were they able to tap into collective feeling of frustration or displeasure at the state?

    Islamist movements were never funded by the communists.
    You can argue that Marxist revolutionary thought needs the state to be de-legitimised in the people’s eyes but that analysis can be held valid for any group that wants to challenge the prevailing status quo. It is just not unique to Marxists.
     
  9. Argue away boys, but hasn't the long-term strategy in NI largely worked? Therefore, I would argue Castlereagh's first statement stands.
     
  10. Ok you don't get it - so you need a slap. I can live with that.

    I'm surprised at you not knowing how PIRA/SF managed to convince people living in the Polarised areas that they were better depending on the 'revolutionaries' than the 'Protestant Oriented' state?

    While 'Islam' itself was nevr funded by Comintern, any anti-western movement who had the ability to fart was - and that includes Hezbollah.

    Now you know this so why are you taking issue? I know I'm not talking to an eejit here. Have you lost your ability to Google or is the drink getting the better of you - it is getting me - I can promise you I've had to retype 75% of this.
     
  11. It doesn't work. We know you and we will not rise to any bait you throw - especially on a Saturday night.

    Sorry to spoil your fun.
     
  12. ooh catty or what?

    Maybe because I am not a Northern Ireland specialist?

    Erm, no it was not. The commies have never liked Islamist (slightly different from Islam) movements. Hezbollah have always been an Iranian sponsored enterprise.

    Because I think otherwise?

    Well Peppermint tea is supposed to be non-caffeinated but maybe you are right, maybe I do need to lay off the heavy stuff.
     
  13. You're a crafty fecker but you've met your match. LOL
     
  14. In peppermint tea drinking? :?
     
  15. In all forms of drinking. ;)