[11:13:14] Shi‘i Oppositional Movements.pages (PDF)

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Title: [11/13/14] Shi‘i Oppositional Movements.pages
Author: Eli Schechner

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NES 269/POL 353

Politics of Modern Islam

November 13, 2014!
Shi‘i Oppositional Movements

- Hezbollah!
• Faction of God!
• Lebanon!
• flag, iconography of AK47 and globe!
- Shi’ites fled from South after Israeli
attacks, went to suburbs of Beirut!

• where Hizballah is centered now!
- Musa al-Sadr!
• mobilizing Shi’ites, but not with intentions of Islamic state, war with Israel, etc!
- Ideology of Hezbollah!
• different from al-Sadr and Amal!
- al-Sadr didn’t promote velayat-e faqih!
• Set up by IRGC (paramilitary troops created by Khomeini after 79) in 1982!
- response to Israel’s invasion of Lebanon!
• Iran considers itself revolutionary regime fighting against “forces of arrogance”!
- way to impose Iranian influence and power in Lebanon!
• fervent belief in Wilayat-e faqih!
- must believe in doctrine to be a Hizballah fighter!
• Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah (d. 2010)!
- Grand Ayatollah (only Lebanese one)!
- had political ideology that aligned with Khomeini!
- some say Hizballah’s ideology defied from Fadlallah’s writings!
• not true!

NES 269/POL 353

Politics of Modern Islam

- Hizballah always attached to Iran and Islamic Revolution, not Lebanese Fadlallah!
• wage war against Israel’s occupation!
• committed to Israel’s destruction!
• originally wanted to set up Islamic state in Lebanon!
- abandoned that as a goal in 1992!
• “culture of resistance” of the “oppressed” (mustad’afun) against the
“arrogant” (mustakbirun)!

• copy and imitate Israeli military tactics!
- claim they are just as good, smart, and capable as the Westerners and the

• talk in terms of Muslims, not Shi’ites!
- Heavy use of propaganda videos!
• film attacks, set to music!
• emphasis and pride in look, professionalism of soldiers!
- imitate Israel and the West!
- History!
• 1982 establishment by IRGC!
• wages asymmetrical campaign against Israeli forces!
• developed suicide bomb attacks!
• takes hostages!
• exempt from demilitarization after 1990 Ta’if Agreement that ended civil war in

• established Manar TV in 1991!
• joins parliamentary elections in 1992!
- major faction in lebanese politics!
• expels israeli forces in 2000!
• wages war against Israel in 2006!

NES 269/POL 353

Politics of Modern Islam

• has fiberoptic telecommunications network separate from rest of Lebanon
connection to Iran!

- Sunni PM of Lebanon saw it as challenge to Lebanese sovereignty!
- Hizballah attacked Sunnis in Beirut in 2008!
• enters Syrian was in 2012!
- Historical Timeline!
• April 1983: explosion at US embassy in Beirut, 63 employees killed!
• Oct 1983: explosion at US/French HQ in Beirut, 240 US marines and 58
paratroopers killed!

• Dec 1983: explosion at US embassy in Kuwait!
• since 1990s, stopped attacking US and focused against Israel!
- Israeli response!
• 1985: car bombing targets Fadlallah (failed)!
• July 1989: Israeli commandos kidnap Abdul Karim Ubayd, leader of Hizballah!
- emphasis on discipline and institutionalization!
• most political movements (until Hizballah) depend largely on existence of a
particular leader!

- cult of personality!
• Hizballah billed itself such
that no individual (at the top
or within the movement)
can be so important that
the movement would be
weakened or cease to
function without that

- created a Western-style

- modeled after Israeli

NES 269/POL 353

Politics of Modern Islam

- not tied to the fate of any specific person!
- source of strength!
- no other movement in the middle east that is institutionalized in that form!
• people are fungible!
- “They look exactly like Princeton.”!
- Sayyid Hasan Nasrullah!
• 2012 speech, threatens thousands of missiles all over Israel if it attacks Lebanon!
- Ayatollah Khamenei!
- 2006 War!
• Hizballah decides they will enter Israel!
- not clear why!
- maybe order from Iran to do this!
• Hizballah attacks Israeli border, kill soldiers, take hostages!
• Israeli retaliation!
• “Divine victory”!
- Syria’s Revolution 2011 - present!
• majority of Syrian population is Sunni, revolted peacefully against Syrian regime!
• Hizballah realized that losing Assad in power would undermine Hizballah politically
and economically (weapons supply)!

• Hizballah (as a branch of IRGC) moved in, turned tide of war in favor of Assad

- made crucial difference in the survival of the Assad regime!
• Hizballah showed their hand as a proxy for Iran!
- claim to be a movement of resistance is called into question!
• Future of Hezbollah?!
- Is Hizballah an Iranian proxy or a Lebanese movement?!


NES 269/POL 353

Politics of Modern Islam

- tied to fate of regime in Iran!
- alienated a huge part of population of Lebanon!
• feel held hostage to Iran, Iran’s politics, and Iran’s interests!
- not comfortable leaving their fate to the revolutionary Iranian regime with
many enemies!

- Iran would probably use Hizballah in a war against Israel!
- decline in popularity in Lebanon


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