Friday, January 29, 2010

Hizbullah and Iran

I was watching a news show yesterday in which Lebanese journalist, Rafiq Khuri was talking. I really like this man: he is knowledgeable, funny, erudite and is a great conversationalist. He knows Arabic poetry very well, and was a sounding board (at a very early age) for `Asi Rahbani, regarding his plays and songs. He was a staunch Arab nationalist (his family is Syrian) and later changed like most in the Lebanese press. He now edits Al-Anwar: which is a Lebanese mouthpiece for the sons of Zayid. It does not sell in Lebanon but the sons of Zayid are loyal to the Furayhah family which peddled UAE propaganda early on. But politics aside, I always like to listen and read Rafiq Khuri. He was analyzing Iran and Hizbullah and it struck me how many people don't get the exact nature of relations between Hizbullah and Iran. Let me explain: up until Hasan Nasrallah (in and in the late 1990s to be exact), Hizbullah was a mere arm of Iran in Lebanon. Under Subhi Tufayli and even `Abbas Musawi, the party was a mere tool of Iran. But that has changed with the rising stature of Nasrallah. I mean, in the equation between Hizbullah and Iran, Nasrallah is a much bigger figure than Ahmadinajad. Can you imagine Ahmadinajad issuing orders to Hizbullah? I can't. The relationship has changed and Hizbullah under Nasrallah has a much bigger room of maneuver than is widely assumed. It is clear (and this is based on analysis and on information) that Hizbullah is left to decide what it wants to do. It is not that Hizbullah just waits for orders from Iran, which it used to do in much of the 1980s. The notion that if Iran is attacked, Hizbullah would immediately start launching missiles at the Zionist entity is absurd. Hizbullah will decide largely on its own calculations. The relationship has become much more complicated. Nasrallah in Iran is considered by all to be senior to the Iranian president himself (but not necessarily to the Supreme Guide). Get that?