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Hezbollah's Role In World Events Essay

1452 words - 6 pages

Hezbollah turned to kidnapping in 1984 to provide Iran, during its long war with Iraq, much needed money, arms, and to secure the release of Iranian fighters from foreign jails. The most spectacular example of the success of these operations was the French repayment of $330 million in back debt to Iran in return for two hostages. This tactic did not always pay off, as the seven year ordeal of Terry Anderson illustrated.258 Hezbollah changed tactics again in June 1985 when the group hijacked TWA Flight 847 from Athens and eventually diverted it to Lebanon. The ordeal ended seventeen days later when Israel released 31 jailed Shi'ite prisoners. Ultimately this hijacking was a success for ...view middle of the document...

Hezbollah's vital interest was to end the Israeli occupation. These interests were not in direct conflict, and thus there was room for negotiation.In an effort to establish conditions when negotiation might be productive in a counterterrorist operation, Giandomenico Picco distinguishes between groups such as Hezbollah, which engage "tactical terrorism," and al-Qaeda, which engages in "strategic terrorism." Tactical terrorism is characterized by a substantive goal and a willingness to negotiate an end to terrorism in return for the satisfaction of that goal. Strategic terrorism is characterized by goals that will change if ever realized because the struggle is more important than the goal itself. Picco argues that some terrorist organizations will negotiate when their investment in society reaches a level at which further terrorism is counterproductive. Groups such as al-Qaeda do not develop this level of investment in society, in part because their structure and goals do not allow it. Pico makes the point that these groups are fundamentally different and should not be fought in the same way.Modern American grand strategy must address a number of different terrorist organizations. The danger of ignoring this distinction, of conflating all terrorist groups under the label of strategic terrorists, is to miss opportunities to conserve resources and secure a peaceful resolution to conflicts.261 2. Lessons of Israeli Grand Strategy Israeli diplomacy can be characterized by two themes: negotiation and intervention. Terrorism can be constrained by diplomatic activity under certain circumstances. Diplomatic pressure in 1996 from the US, France, Syria, and Iran, on Hezbollah and Israel forced both sides to agree to a historic pact that defined a set of rules for the fight. These rules, referred to as the April Understanding, restricted Israel from targeting Lebanese civilians and civilian infrastructure; in return Hezbollah refrained from conducting attacks within Israel and agreed to only target Israeli military forces within Lebanon. This internationally recognized and monitored agreement legitimized the group's actions against the Israeli military and provided de-facto recognition of the group's status as a resistance organization.262 American and French diplomacy, and presumably economic power, influenced Syria and Iran to pressure Hezbollah to agree to the deal with Israel. Syria and Iran were important actors in the equation because they had the ability to cut off the flow of weapons and money to the terrorist group.First, Israel had a long tradition of practicing realpolitik, and with few exceptions her leaders in the early 1980s supported a straightforward offensive philosophy.271 Second, in 1983 Israel lost any claim it had to the moral high ground when it allowed Phalangist militiamen to massacre defenseless civilians at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Beirut.272 Finally, Israel had the strong support of the U.S.throughout the period....

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