Nadim Bustani: Hezbollah is no Resistance..Its Terrorist Record Speaks for Itself

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Hezbollah is no Resistance..Its Terrorist Record Speaks for Itself
Nadim Bustani/LCCC/July 30/ 2022

Click Here To Read The Arabic Version Of This Study

According to international law, the legitimacy of military resistance against foreign occupation is justified by the right to self-determination. Which means that if the people are in a position to implement their will within the constitutional authority of the state, the resistance posture is negated, and the conflict becomes a state of war between two states.

Hezbollah cannot claim to be a resistance while at the same time fully participating in the political process in Lebanon and being represented in the institutions of the state, let alone when it has seized control of most levers of power in the country. Furthermore, if a truce extends beyond a year, the right to resistance is greatly diminished despite the persistence of the occupation, whereby the cessation of military activities which has firmly taken hold between Lebanon and Israel from 2006 to date strips the resistance of its justifications.

Under international law, the organization must not undertake any military actions whose immediate goal is not to liberate occupied land from foreign forces, and it should not be involved in internal fighting. Accordingly, Hezbollah’s fighting in Yemen and Syria, and earlier in the fighting in Beirut on May 7, 2008, or even its participation in the Yugoslavia War, deals a blunt blow to its character as a resistance.

Other critical international law principles for classifying a movement as a resistance stipulate that the policies of such a movement should not include the a priori threat of military action, so that the threat does not itself become the factor leading to an outbreak of war or causing the military occupation. The movement’s combat actions are also prohibited from being retaliatory actions for previous strikes because military reactions have nothing to do with resistance, yet these characteristics have become Hezbollah’s entrenched policy in the very words of its secretary general.

Among these fundamental principles is the obligation on the part of the organization not to exploit the guarantees provided by the laws of war. In particular, the organization is prohibited from using human shields such as taking advantage of hospitals, schools, and other civilian facilities as shelters for the protection of its soldiers and assets, which is what Hezbollah violates by continuing to concentrate its military activity in the heart of residential areas, building its depots in high-density populated areas, and seeking to camouflage itself in them.

Perhaps the most fundamental of these rules is banning the targeting of the hostile party’s civilians under any circumstance. This prohibition includes randomly firing shells and missiles onto cities, taking hostages, killing war prisoners, practicing torture, targeting diplomatic missions, peacekeeping, or truce enforcement troops. The organization must also permanently abide by all the provisions of the international laws of war, which in Hezbollah’s case is beyond discussion because since its inception it has never distinguished between civilian and military targets during combat, much as it has never spared diplomatic missions or peacekeeping forces, not to forget its public claim of responsibility for taking hostages and killing them.

In sum, an organization seeking to be classified as a resistance must adhere to international treaties and conventions, particularly those signed by the country to which the organization belongs, and here we refer to the 1949 Truce Agreement between Lebanon and Israel.

Hezbollah claims for itself the mantle of a national resistance against the Israeli occupation, while it does not fulfill the binding criteria cited above. The question is not connected to the Israeli withdrawal of 2000 as some people argue that Hezbollah ceased to be classified as a resistance movement after that withdrawal. The fact is, however, that Hezbollah has since its inception being systematically involved in military activities violating the tenets of this classification, and indeed making Hezbollah fitting the classification of a terrorist organization.

Of these military activities:
The bombing of the US Embassy in April 1983 in Beirut, killing 63 victims including 32 Lebanese nationals;
The bombing of the headquarters of the Multi-National Force (MNF) in October 1983 in which 346 people lost their lives, when these troops were tasked not with a combat mission but with the humanitarian peacekeeping mission to separate combatants, namely to secure the exit of the Palestinian fighters and protect the civilians in the camps, with the agreement of the Lebanese state. This bombing of the MNF troops is widely known as the bombing of the US Marines headquarters near Beirut Airport, and the bombing of the French paratroopers in their Drakkar compound;

The bombing of the US Embassy in September 1984, killing 23 people the majority of whom were Lebanese citizens following up on their visa applications;

The kidnappings, assassinations, and torture of civilians, diplomats, journalists, and Christian clergymen throughout the 1980s, reaching a total of 104 kidnapped individuals, of whom 8 were killed, including for example two presidents of American University of Beirut, David Dodge and Malcom Kerr;

The bombings in Kuwait City in December 1983 that targeted oil facilities, the embassies of the United States and France, the airport, and the workers’ residences of an American company. These attacks killed 5 victims;
The hijacking of a Kuwaiti Airlines flight in December 1984 with its 95 passengers or whom two were killed;
The attempted assassination of the Emir of Kuwait by a suicide operative who targeted his convoy in May 1985, in which three people were killed and Sheikh Jaber Al-Sabbah suffered injuries;

The hijacking to Beirut Airport of TWA Flight 847 a few minutes after its takeoff from Athens in June 1985. Among the 147 passengers on board, a retired US Navy diver, Dean Stethem, was killed and his body dumped on the Beirut airport tarmac, and the renowned singer Demis Roussos;

The hijacking of a Kuwaiti Airlines flight in April 1988 with 112 passengers on board, two of whom were killed;

Backing the Palestinian organizations in the War of the Camps, and direct involvement in the Iqlim Al-Touffah war and the battles that followed it against the Amal organization, which resulted in the death of upwards of 2,500 people over three years between 1988 and 1990; Hezbollah is also responsible for liquidating many leaders of the National Movement in the late 1980s, including among others Mahdi Amel and Hussein Mroueh;

The bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Argentina in March 1992 in which 29 people, a majority of whom children, were killed when their school was hit by the explosion; then the bombing of the Jewish Cultural Center in Argentina in July 1994 in which 85 people lost their lives.

Participate in the bombings of the Al-Khobar Residential Compound in Saudi Arabia in June 1996, which killed 19 people.

Dispatching dozens of fighters, including the leader in Hezbollah, Ali Fayyad, to fight alongside the Bosnian militias in the civil war in Yugoslavia between 1992 and 1995.

Bombing of a tourist bus carrying Jewish passengers in the region of Bourgas in Bulgaria in July 2012. Six people were killed in the attack.

Preparing explosive devices, setting up munitions depots and security networks in countries like Thailand, Germany, Britain, France, Egypt, Kuwait, Cyprus, the US, and Brazil.

Storing munitions in populated areas, some of which has exploded causing civilian deaths in the regions of Shahabiya (2004), Khirbit Selem (2009), Tayr Harfa (2012), Nabi Sheet (2012), and Ayn Cana (2020).

A Hezbollah leader by the name of Saleem Ayyash has been convicted of participating in the assassination of Rafik Hariri. Ayyash is also accused in four other assassination cases and terrorist operations, cases which are pending investigations by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon at the Hague, and in the May 7, 2008, military occupation of the city Beirut and for launching attacks against civilians in Beirut, Shwayfat and other localities in which 71 people were killed, 23 of them civilians.

Organizing international smuggling and money laundering networks according to reports by the FATF organization, which the Lebanese Parliament has approved in Law 44/2015 pertaining to anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism financing;

Participating in the Syrian and Yemeni wars since 2012 and to date, with responsibility for the death of thousands of civilians and military personnel;

Governing Hezbollah’s fighting Israel or its truce-like appeasement of it, like all its other military activities, is a radical Islamic ideology which doesn’t really care for the existence of occupied territories or for transgressions against national sovereignty or for preserving the people’s freedom and interests. Rather, its priority is to secure the success of the Islamic revolution around the world. This ideology is under the orders of the Jurisprudent Ruler who alone has the power to interpret it and adapt it to the secular conditions, most notably declaring and conducting Holy War or Jihad. In other words, he holds the decision of war or peace according to the book published by Hezbollah’s deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem, “Hezbollah, the Method … the Experience… the Future”.

More ominous is the fact that Hezbollah defines itself as the “Islamic Resistance in Lebanon”, which means that its fight is governed by a defense of Islam (according to its ideology) and not a defense of Lebanon. Even its flag is copied in near complete identity from the flag of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which negates that such an organization aims to achieve Lebanon’s national interest.

Hezbollah doesn’t deny its organic and ideological ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the question is not merely one of religious liberties and subordination to a religious authority, as is the case with Catholics and their relationship with the Vatican. This is because the personal status (subject to religious laws in Lebanon) loses its sway in cultural matters and in the family status, and does not give the right to assemble armies and subordinate them to a non-constitutional authority. Hezbollah’s Secretary General Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah has admitted this much publicly when he literally said, “I am proud to be a soldier in the party of the Jurisprudent Ruler, and as such we declare that our leadership, our will, the rule of our affairs, the decision of our war and our peace is in the hands of the Jurisprudent Ruler”.

Accordingly, it is urgent to categorically stop qualifying Hezbollah as a “national resistance”, to cease granting any justifications for its military organization which operates outside the provisions of Lebanese laws, neither before nor after the Israeli Army’s withdrawal, since Hezbollah has never had the attributes of a legitimate resistance. Rather, its activities fit perfectly in the terrorism category.