[Marxism] Differences between the PLO and Hezbollah

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Jul 26 07:50:02 MDT 2006

The IDF has gotten accustomed to combating Palestinian militants in Gaza 
who carry nothing but Kalashnikovs and who are poorly equipped and poorly 
trained in guerrilla warfare. This is what the IDF expected when its units 
crossed the border into Lebanon. Instead, the Israeli troops found men who 
were armed to the teeth waiting for them.

Hezbollah has anywhere from 2,000-5,000 highly trained soldiers who have 
mortars, artillery, anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons. They have been 
doing nothing but training for combat since 2000. Many do not have another 
life - they live to fight the Israelis.

Nasrallah learned from the mistakes of the Palestinian Liberation 
Organization (PLO) in Lebanon in 1982. At the time, the late Yasser Arafat 
was obsessed with the symbols of the "state" he had created for himself and 
his Fatah guerrillas in Lebanon. The country was riddled with PLO military 
bases, training camps and political offices, guarded by tanks and armed men 
and identified by pictures of Arafat and the Palestinian flag fluttering in 
the breeze.

It was not difficult for the Israelis to find these PLO bases and hit them 
with rockets, one by one, during its war on Lebanon to drive out the PLO. 
Arafat killed the essence of a guerrilla movement by making it so visible 
to the Israelis.

Guerrilla warfare, by definition, operates with small, mobile and flexible 
combat groups that do not wear uniforms and can blend with society, hide in 
forests, mountains and bunkers, and avoid being spotted as "the enemy 
target". They do not have a front line. Today, one cannot find similar 
Hezbollah military bases and training camps in Lebanon. As a Western 
observer put it, when walking through south Lebanon, one can feel Hezbollah 
but one cannot see Hezbollah. There are no military bases or training camps 
with signs saying that this building belongs to Hezbollah.

Israel must by now realize that Hezbollah is not the PLO. While the PLO 
were all Palestinian, Hezbollah fighters are Lebanese. The PLO was a 
foreign group that could be driven out by force from Lebanon. Hezbollah is 
a Lebanese group, recognized with deputies in parliament and ministers in 
the cabinet.

It runs schools, hospitals and charity organizations, and millions of 
Shi'ites rely on welfare, jobs or services administered by Hezbollah. 
Thousands of widows, orphans, the elderly and the handicapped in the 
Shi'ite community receive monthly stipends from Nasrallah's group, which 
represents the Shi'ites who make up 40% of the country's 3.7 million.

Politically they are currently allied to General Michel Aoun, the 
non-sectarian yet Christian heavyweight of Lebanese politics who has stood 
by his Shi'ite allies during their latest confrontation with Israel. Aoun's 
alliance has prevented the Christian street from turning against Hezbollah. 
The Israelis wanted everybody in Lebanon, the Christians included, to 
suffer great loss in human life and property so that they would come out 
and blame Nasrallah for their misery.

Because of Aoun that has not happened. Rather, the Christians are offering 
shelter to the Shi'ites whose homes have been destroyed, and Christian 
charity organizations, as well as churches and monasteries, are doing their 
share of humanitarian work to decrease the suffering of the Shi'ites.

full: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/HG26Ak01.html



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