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July 24, 2013 No.
5374

Senior Hizbullah Officials And Associates: There Is No Distinction Between Hizbullah's Political And Military Arms

Following the July 22, 2013 decision by the foreign ministers of the European Union to include Hizbullah's military arm on the E.U.'s list of terrorist organizations, Hizbullah released a communiqué condemning the decision and attacking E.U. policy.

The communiqué stated: "This is an aggressive and oppressive decision that is base neither on justifications nor on evidence. The E.U. countries' submission to American and Zionist pressures, and their complete obedience to the White House's dictates constitute grave behavior. For it appears that the decision was drafted by American hands in Zionist ink and all that remained for Europe to do was to sign it."

The communiqué added: "...If the E.U. countries believe that with their submission to American extortion and their issuing such decisions they can attain status in our Arab and Islamic region, then we say to them that the U.S. has preceded them in such a decision, and got nothing for it but many losses and disappointments."[1]

Also, in referring to the decision, senior Hizbullah officials headed by deputy secretary-general Na'im Qassem, as well as Hizbullah associates and daily newspapers that support the organization, reiterated that there is no distinction between Hizbullah's political and military arms. These, they said, constitute a single organization, with a single leadership that makes decisions on both political activity and military and jihadist activity.

This report will review statements by senior Hizbullah officials and associates against the decision and against distinguishing between the organization's political and military arm.

Hizbullah Deputy Secretary-General Na'im Qassem: We Have No Military Arm And Political Arm

Two months prior to the E.U.'s decision, Hizbullah deputy secretary-general Na'im Qassem argued that Hizbullah's organizational structure does not distinguish between a political arm and a military arm, and that such a distinction was invented by Britain in 2008 when it placed Hizbullah's military arm on its list of terrorist organizations.

In a statement at a May 24, 2013 political meeting in Lebanon held by Hizbullah, Qassem said: "In our resistance, we do not distinguish between one position and another position, because we never divided our movement in such a way that we would have different projects. Therefore, all our martyrs in every position are martyrs [who perished] by force of the obligation [to wage] jihad... We do not maintain one status for a resistance fighter and another [for someone] who is not a resistance fighter. We do not have a military arm and another [arm] that is political. These Europeans are making themselves ridiculous by imitating Britain, which drew the distinction [Hizbullah's] military arm and political arm; [they are drawing this distinction] because they need relations with us, and they are manipulating their own peoples [by saying] that they are conducting a dialogue with [Hizbullah's] politicians rather than with members of [its] military [arm]. They have forgotten that for us, every child is both a military man and politician.

"We will not stand and look on from the sidelines at how the international community and the region, on all sides, are conspiring against the resistance enterprise... We will use all options at our disposal at the appropriate place and time in order to struggle against those who strive to strike the resistance directly or indirectly. We will never participate in the measures for recognizing Israel and expanding its influence and control in our region..."[2]


Hizbullah Deputy Secretary-General Na'im Qassem
(Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, London, April 15, 2009).

This is not the first time that Qassem stated that Hizbullah does not have separate political and military arms, and that all its capabilities serve the resistance; he has made such arguments numerous times in previous years. At an October 6, 2012 student commencement ceremony, he said: "In Lebanon there is one party that is called Hizbullah. We do not have a military arm and a political arm. We do not have [a political party that is called] Hizbullah [and at the same time] a resistance party. Hizbullah is a political party; it is a resistance party and the party of action on behalf of Allah and in the service of the people. In short, this is Hizbullah.

"Therefore, all these distinctions, that some people are attempting to disseminate, are something that we reject; they do not exist. All the senior officials and activists, and the diverse capabilities that we in Hizbullah possess, are at the service of the resistance. We have no priority save for resistance – from the organization's leadership till the very last of its fighters..."[3]

Qassem: The Hizbullah Leadership Makes Both Political Decisions And Decisions On Jihad Activity

In an interview with Global Viewpoint in April 2009, that was republished a few days later by the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Qassem said: "Britain has even tried to justify establishing relations with Hizbullah by distinguishing between two different sections that don't actually exist because the party is by nature unified. Hizbullah has a single leadership as represented in the Shura (the organization's council) and at its head, the secretary general [Hassan Nasrallah]. All political, social and jihadi work is tied to the decisions of this leadership. The same leadership that directs the parliamentary and government work also leads jihadi actions in the struggle against Israel. There is one decision that has a mechanism and structure for implementation. That is how Hezbollah is even if other parties need to picture it otherwise in order to justify their actions..."[4]

Other Hizbullah Officials And Associates: No Such Distinction Can Be Made

Former MP from Hizbullah Ismail Sukariyya said: "The military issue is basic to Hizbullah. [Hizbullah] has an ideological objective that is politically belligerent, and therefore on the basis [of this fact] it is impossible to separate the political [arm] from the military one."[5]

Several hours before the E.U. announced its decision, Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour, of the Shi'ite Amal faction, who is a close associate and supporter of Hizbullah, said, "It is not possible to separate Hizbullah's political arm and military arm."[6]

The Lebanese daily Al-Safir, which is known for its support of the March 8 Forces and Hizbullah, pointed to an internal contradiction in the E.U. decision. In a July 23 report, it stated: "The decision contradicts itself. On the one hand, the Europeans have conferred the title of terrorist on military Hizbullah, and on the other hand they have left open the channels of communication with political Hizbullah..."[7]

Cartoon from Iran's Fars News agency: Israel and the U.S. manipulate both the E.U., which terms Hizbullah terrorist, and the jihadists in Syria (Fars, Iran, July 23, 2013).


Lebanese Daily Al-Akhbar: The Military Arm And The Political Arm Of Hizbullah Are Intertwined

The Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar, which is close to Hizbullah, published reports and articles claiming that the E.U.'s decision had sparked derision in Hizbullah, because no distinction can be made between the political and military arms because they are intertwined.

One article noted: "The E.U. decision aroused derision within [the Lebanese] resistance. Jokes about this are flooding the social networks, and the men of the resistance have transformed [this decision] into an object of mockery... How could the E.U. distinguish between the military [arm] and the political [arm]? The men of the resistance claim that we are dealing with a bid'ah [unacceptable innovation] and nothing more."[8]

The Sons Of Hizbullah Ministers And MPs Are Fighting For Assad In Syria

Nicolas Nassif, a regular contributor to Al-Akhbar, wrote: "In a situational assessment conducted by [Hizbullah] officials hours after the decision, the following details were discussed: The [E.U.'s] distinction between the military arm and the political arm of Hizbullah is merely an illusion with respect to a party whose military arm brought it prestige and served as the central pillar of its role and presence – [and this] is due to its focus on resistance and bearing arms...

"[The political arm and the military arm] are inseparable twins. The truth is that two months ago, Hizbullah ministers and MPs sent their sons to the [Syrian city] of Al-Qusayr in order to participate in the war alongside the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad against his armed opponents... This is an indication that removes any ambiguity regarding the connection between the two [arms of Hizbullah] that are linked..."[9]

Civilian Residents Of South Lebanon Participate In Hizbullah Fighting

On July 24, 2013, Al-Akhbar reported that "residents of the South Lebanon villages bordering on occupied Palestine do not comprehend... the distinction between Hizbullah and its military arm, or how the Europeans distinguish between the two, and according to what criteria [they did so]. As far as they know, anyone who carries out military activity or assists Hizbullah's military activity is included in this decision. That is, [the residents of South Lebanon] are all being targeted...

"Most [residents of the South] consider themselves an inseparable part of the [military] resistance arm of Hizbullah, particularly after the July 2006 war 'when,' according to one of them, ''Imad Mughniyeh decided to expand the circle of resistance so it would include more residents [of the South]...

"Citizen Hassan Yassin, from Majdal Selem [in South Lebanon] wonders.: '... Don't the E.U.'s [foreign] ministers know that most of the people of the south participate in the wars against Israel, and that the women [from the town] of 'Aita Al-Shaab, for example, participated by conveying weapons to the Hizbullah fighters?...

"According to one farmer, in this region 'there is no distinction between the civilian and the soldier, or between a Hizbullah member who clandestinely carries weapons in the field of the struggle and a farmer who plants tobacco... It is no secret that everyone knows how to use weapons, and is prepared for war. The 2006 war is testimony that young students vanquished the most hostile army in the region.'

"Muhammad, a teacher in one of the schools of Bint Jbeil, told how dozens of his students fought in June 2006, and 13 of them died as martyrs... Other Bint Jbeil and Marj'ayoun residents said similar things, and [according to them] know nothing about anything called 'Hizbullah's military arm': 'We hear about an apparatus that is called the resistance, but we cannot know its real operatives... Any one of us can be among the operatives; no one here has a military title, except after he's been killed. So we don't distinguish between a military man and a civilian, except posthumously...

"[A south Lebanon citizen named] Kifah says... 'In a battle [during the 2006 war] in the olive grove near the Bint Jbeil vocational school, the school's students, together with some of their teachers, killed dozens of Israeli soldiers. None of the residents had known that these students were resistance fighters...'[10]

Endnotes:

[1] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), July 23, 2013.

[2] Na'imkassem.net, May 24, 2013.

[3] Na'imkassem.net, October 6, 2012.

[4] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), April 15, 2009; Digitalnpq.org, April 13, 2009.

[5] Elaph.com, July 23, 2013.

[6] Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), July 22, 2013.

[7] Al-Safir (Lebanon), July 23, 2013.

[8] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), July 23, 2013.

[9] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), July 23, 2013.

[10] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), July 24, 2013.