Hezbollah has been an organization that since I began to discover has always given me food for thought. They are considered by many countries to be a terrorist organization, and much of the evidence makes sense on that front. Their constant struggle against hegemony and Israeli infiltration leads many to be believe they are no better than the al-Qaeda or ISIS at this point. Some would even argue they are on even footing in terms of potential power. But what many of these same critics also fail to see are the benefits of Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Shi’a muslim community. It can be hard to understand how a single organization can both hold and torture multiple hostages from the U.S. and abroad, and run a hospital that even non-supporters of Hezbollah would go to because of the level of healthcare. The duality the organization has created for itself as a terrorist threat to the world, but a well organized politcal party and force for change within Lebanon brings up ethical dilemmas in almost every crack of the group.
For the majority of the paper I want to focus on Hezbollah and consequentialism. I think it offers a very interesting viewpoint where the organization was formed with specific goals in mind, and accomplished them in ways some would find morally wrong. But they also shifted their party from a strictly militia based organization into the political scene after the civil war had ended in 1992. In Lebanon they represent the Shi’a majority which is not always common in the Middle East; Sunni muslims make up somewhere between 75-90% of the world muslim population. Some of the services Hezbollah offers are only available to Shi’a or Hezbollah members, but many of them are open to anyone who wishes to use them. In an article from the New York Times some women in Lebanon do not have a problem with Hezbollah even when they are not supporters because Hezbollah does not bother them. Instead the organization is focused on the most recent campaign of ‘Lebanonisation’. In what began as a group of infidels dead set on removing outside influences from Lebanon in a resistance group manner, Hezbollah has slowly evolved into a political force for the Shi’a, to a political force for everyone in Lebanon and beyond. Is what they did/still do in terms of ‘terrorism’ justified because they are making the country a better place in the end? What is the right defintion of a better country? I would like to contrast consequentilism with Kantianism in the sense of abusing some means for an end, but also as Hezbollah being a means for some of Iran’s ends. Hezbollah has been linked with Iranian agenda’s since its inception and much of it is still true today. I think it can be an interesting discussion.
The main policy at stake here could really be two things. I find one could easily be terrorism from a different point of view and the next paper could look at terrorism effects on domestic and international stakeholders. But I also think it could be about the Middle East in general, and the types of organizations that are employed or committed to rebuilding or maintaining a country whether involved in terrorism or not. I am not sure so feel free to express your opinion on either of those policies or suggest an entirely new one.
Most of my infromation so far has been from Hezbollah: A short History which I read yesterday and found on Google Scholar. Other journals I have looked at, but not in complete detail yet include Hezbollah and the Axis of Refusal: Hamas, Iran and Syria, Habitat for Hezbollah which is about social services offered after the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah War, The Hybrid Terrorist Organization: Hezbollah as a Case Study, Hezbollah: Financing Terror Through Criminal Enterprise which offers a darker side of Hezbollah perspective, and some others. I also saw a couple of news articles like the one from the NYTimes from above about the women and their thoughts on Hezbollah.
Let me know what you guys think.
Featured Image: Supporters of Lebanon’s Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah wave Hezbollah flags as they listen to him on the 7th anniversary of the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah War ending.