Hans Schippers surveys the position of Hezbollah in Lebanese politics and its relations with Iran and Syria. Hezbollah is an organisation with two faces. Together with Amal it represents the Shia in Lebanon. It participates in elections and the government. However, in the Southern part of the country Hezbollah constitutes a state within a state, with a militia and a social and medical network of its own. Most of the costs of this structure are paid for by Iran. The Shia leadership of Iran also played a vital role in the establishment of the organisation in 1982. Syria acted as the protector of Hezbollah in its agitation against Israel. With the departure of Syrian troops following the Cedar Revolution in the spring of 2005 most non-Shia Lebanese wanted to see the Hezbollah militia, seen as a pro-Syrian force, dissolved. However, this was refused by leader Nasrallah. The militia protected Lebanon against Israeli aggression, he declared. It is unclear what motivated Hezbollah to kidnap the Israeli soldiers. This action seemed to be co-ordinated with Iran and Syria to divert attention from the Iranian troubles with the United Nations about Iran's uranium enrichment programme. However, also solidarity with Hamas and the personality of Nasrallah may have played a role. The War of Summer 2006 made it clear once more that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict maybe exploited by forces not directly involved, like Iran. The strong presence of European soldiers in the new peace force presents an opportunity for the EU to take the initiative for a restart of the peace process in the region. A new Madrid type conference may offer away out of the deadlock.
|Nummer van het tijdschrift||10|
|Status||Gepubliceerd - 2006|