Elliott Abrams, Hezbollah and my book

Posted October 2nd, 2010 by Thanassis Cambanis and filed in A Privilege to Die

I plan to write about the moderated conversation with Elliott Abrams, Brian Katulis and me on Thursday, but I wanted immediately to put up the video of the event, from the Center for American Progress website. You can watch it below or on their site.

One Response to “Elliott Abrams, Hezbollah and my book”

  1. Thanassis,
    I finished reading PTD and then I listened to the one hour and nineteen minutes panel discussion at CAP. To my surprise I found myself in agreement with the first point made by Elliot Abrams. That would have been my first question to you. I believe that in many circumstances the direction of causality is difficult to ascertain and the case for the popularity of Hezbollah fits this mold perfectly. It is difficult to argue that Hezbollah depends on Iran and Syria for its weapons and finances and then to say that the weapons and financing do not play a major role in its popularity.
    As a Lebanese who has followed Hezbollahs rise to power for its thirty years and who is adamantly opposed to its ideology I feel that there is another important element which has not been given the attention that it deserves. As a democratand a secularist, even a cosmopolitan, I am at odds with any organization that is essentially theocratic, authoritarian and whose allegiances are for a foreign power. These however, are political differences. In my view I oppose such views but I will do anything in my power to defend the rights of Hezbollah to promote them. The basic issue that concerns many Lebanese is not whether Hezbollah has the right to embrace certain philosophies but whether they are entitled to use military threats through maintaining a militia that enables them to act as a state within a state. If one is to conclude that no group, no matter what its beliefs are and no matter how lofty the cause has the right to act as a vigilante then one can make a strong case about the illegitimacy of the current power that Hezbollah enjoys. Hezbollah has the cooperation of the FPM and even a big part of the Shia only because of its illegal military might. If that is the case then it would be very difficult to make the cas the argument that Hezbollah is a model to emulate. This is not a progressive revolutionary movement, on the contrary it is a reactionary movement bent on promoting the power of the faqih. Its vision of the world does not tolerate either diversity or dissent but only authoritarianism based on military arms. That is a recipe for disaster in the long run.

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