mercoledì 21 dicembre 2011

The International Spectator, The Autonomous Identity of the Lebanese Shiite Community

Book Review
“The shifts in Hizbullah’s ideology. Religious ideology, political ideology and political program” / Joseph Alagha. - [English ed.] - Amsterdam University Press, 2006, 380 pag. (ISIM Dissertations). – ISBN-13 9789053569108; 9053569103; NUR 741/717.
“The shifts in Hizbullah’s ideology. Religious ideology, political ideology and political program” is the result of the last studies of Josepf Alagha, a researcher who focused on the impact of democratisation and liberalisation process on the islamic movements in Middle East. In this book Alagha analyses the historical evolution of the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah and his ideological and practical transformation.
In the first chapter, the author describes initial claims of the Lebanese Shiite community at the end of ‘70, presents the leadership of the movement and clarifies the dynamics of interurban links between holy cities of  Qom (Iran), Najaf, Kerbala (Iraq) and the Bekaa Valley (South of Lebanon). In Alagha’s view, the limited space given to Lebanese Shiites in the post-colonial confessional system in Lebanon politicized this community. The mullahs, former students in Qom and Najaf moved to Lebanon, organized some first claims (were the driving force in the elaboration of the first political program) of Lebanese Shiite communities. It was Musa al-Sadr, teacher of islamic law in Qom, who founded in 1969 the “High Council of Shiites”, the original group of the future political movement Amal (the Brigades of the Lebanese Resistance). The Iranian Islamic Revolution of 1979, on one hand, and the Israeli invasion of Lebanon of 1978 and 1982, on the other, boosted the organization of these movements in (prompted these movement to organize themselves in) groups of armed resistance. In 1979, leaders of Amal, such as Hasan Nasrallah, present  General Secretary of Hezbollah, and Abbas al-Musawi founded the “Committee for the support of the Islamic Revolution”, the original core of Hezbollah’s activists.
Besides, this book describes the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1989) analysing the choice of political participation of the Amal movement and the  role of Hezbollah as principal resistance force to the Israeli occupation of the country.  Alagha notes that, in the same period, Hezbollah reinforced his military and organizational structure and obtainedfinancial support from the Iranian and Syrian governments. Moreover, Alagha describes the shift of the Shiite movement with the political participation  of the ’90. Hezbollah asked for the complete Israeli withdrawal from the south of Lebanon, the abolition of the confessional system, social and administrative reforms, achieving an authentic transformation in a Lebanese national movement. In this contest, the book analyses Hezbollah’s electoral performances from 1992 to 2005. Finally, Alagha describes Hezbollah’s role after the assassination of the former Prime Minister Hariri in February 2005 and the controversy about the disarmament of the movement asked with the UN Resolution 1559. The historical background (analysis) ends in December 2005 when the Hezbollah’s participation in the Siniora government could still lead to a possible phase of national dialogue (seemed to have the potential of paving the way for national dialogue and reconciliation).
In the second and third chapters, the researcher tackles the movement’s changes in the political ideology. In Alagha’s view, with the end of the Lebanese  Civil War, the Taif’s Agreement   of 1989, and Khomeini’s death, Hezbollah’s political program and ideological profile Why is it that in Egypt, despite the ongoing democratic elections, are protests continuing in such a harsh manner? It seems paradoxical that the right to vote has widened the gap between politics and those who have come to resist its course.

Firstly, the two main parties, ‘Freedom and Justice’ and the Salafists, have renounced the protests. The Liberals and Socialists of the Egyptian Bloc have acted as mediators between the demonstrators and the SCAF. Thirdly, the 'Revolution Continues Alliance', ‘6 April’, ‘Kifaya!’ and other civil society groupings are engaging as movements of political resistance.

In the article, I quote Salafist’s bloggers, ideologists and politicians. Moreover, describing the young soldiers' new approach towards demonstrators, I argue that the continue struggle has closed ranks within the Army, with some exceptions. Finally, I introduce the new violent methods of struggle of the activists, quoting students, journalists and demonstrators.
became more autonomous from Iranian Revolution. Although the TaifAgreements were criticized by Hezbollah because they maintained the Lebanese confessional system, they allowed Hezbollah to keep its armed structure. The gradual integration in the national institutions gave Hezbollah a more pronounced national profile. Indeed, Hezbollah has not called for the instauration in Lebanon of an Islamic Republic inspired by the Iranian model (modelled on the Iranian regime). Moreover, the Shiite movement ended using violence inside the country and increasingly concentrated its program on economic modernization of Lebanon and more equal social justice. It also started a dialogue with Christians, Druzes  and Sunnis and included members of those communities in its electoral lists and in its armed structure. Finally, Alagha underlines that the movement has been particularly active in denouncing corruption and promoting new socio-educative structures. 
In this well written book, Alagha has the important merit to challenge the current tendency to see Hezbollah as a proxy of the Syrian and Iranian governments. The author tries to demonstrate that Hezbollah is not a mere instrument of Syrian and Iranian regional policy. He noted that since ’90 Hezbollah has pursued an independent political course tailored for the specificities of the Lebanese institutions. Moreover, Alagha examines  Hezbollah’s statements on the principal subjects of controversy for Western analysts (sionism, islamism, violence, human rights) and an interesting translation.) of the political program of the movement for the parliamentary elections of 1992 and municipal of 2004. However, the historical background, presented in this book, appears incomplete. Actually, the socio-economic causes of the first politicization of the Lebanese community  in the ’60 and ’70 are not clarified. Moreover, the role of Hezbollah and the Shiite community as a whole in the complex dynamics of the long Lebanese Civil War appears unclear. Finally, this book doesn’t analyse directly the Hezbollah’s military structure. This subject could be useful for a better comprehension of the ideological transformation of the Shiite Lebanese movement and to explain its actions of armed Resistence. Moreover, this omission involves a lack of information about the Hezbollah’s military capacities and the absence of an accurate study about Hezbollah’s mobilization among Lebanese people. The shifts in Hizbullah’s ideology” allows to understand the historical evolution of Hezbollahfrom an armed Resistance movement to a full-fledged national political actor. Why is it that in Egypt, despite the ongoing democratic elections, are protests continuing in such a harsh manner It seems paradoxical that the right to vote has widened the gap between politics and those who have come to resist its course.

Per chi volesse leggere la versione definitiva di questo articolo, la torva sul sito di Taylor and Francis, di cui ho lasciato un link nel titolo.

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