Obama says Hezbollah has “legitimate claims”
Right off the bat he reaffirmed that Hezbollah is “not a legitimate political party.” Instead, “It’s a destabilizing organization by any common-sense standard. This wouldn’t happen without the support of Iran and Syria.” I asked him what he meant with all this emphasis on electoral and patronage reform. He said the U.S. should help the Lebanese government deliver better services to the Shiites “to peel support away from Hezbollah” and encourage the local populace to “view them as an oppressive force.” The U.S. should “find a mechanism whereby the disaffected have an effective outlet for their grievances, which assures them they are getting social services.”
When has US aid ever convinced a hostile population to change their allegiances? Has Egypt become pro-US with the billions it gets every year? This is dangerously naive.But it gets worse:
The U.S. needs a foreign policy that “looks at the root causes of problems and dangers.” Obama compared Hezbollah to Hamas. Both need to be compelled to understand that “they’re going down a blind alley with violence that weakens their legitimate claims.” He knows these movements aren’t going away anytime soon (“Those missiles aren’t going to dissolve”), but “if they decide to shift, we’re going to recognize that. That’s an evolution that should be recognized.”
What, exactly, are Hezbollah’s “legitimate claims”? Hezbollah is not a Palestinian Arab movement; it is a Shiite movement with the single-minded goal of destroying Israel. Is Obama saying that there is a small amount of legitimacy in that goal?And what about Hamas? Their “claims” are for 100% of Israel to become an Arab Islamic nation, and eventually part of a new Islamic ‘ummah. They aren’t asking for an independent Palestinian Arab state – somethign they effectively have already. They want Israel destroyed as well. Where, exactly, is the “legitimacy” there?
Obama doesn’t broadcast moral disgust when talking about terror groups, but he said that in some ways he’d be tougher than the Bush administration. He said he would do more to arm the Lebanese military…
Back in May it was already clear that the Lebanese military had zero interest in restraining Hezbollah, or even regarded it as an enemy. It certainly hasn’t done anything to stop the smuggling of weapons into Southern Lebanon and it has not asked the UN to help in stopping Hezbollah activities – something that it has the right to do under UN 1701. This is the sort of touchy-feely, “root cause” based foreign policy that we can expect from Barack Obama. Give people who already don’t like you money and weapons, and they’ll suddenly become loyal friends – and they will also turn against those who they are ideologically tied to.