Hezbollah Sweeps Southern Lebanon Elections

From the August 2005 Trumpet Print Edition

Lebanon’s “democratic” revolution is really only giving more power to an Iranian-sponsored terrorist organization.

The Trumpet’s May 2005 cover story asserted that democracy in the Middle East would actually diminish freedom in the region rather than increase it—and that this would jeopardize global security. The massive electoral victory that Hezbollah—an Islamic terrorist organization—gained in southern Lebanon on June 5 confirms the veracity of these assertions. The much-hailed “cedar revolution” that was to bring Lebanon a new era of democracy and freedom from extra-national interests is instead giving more power to a foreign-sponsored terrorist organization.

Though still a minority in parliament, Hezbollah will be the voice of the Shiites, the largest religious faction in Lebanon. Shiites make up over 40 percent of the population, and Hezbollah, through the alliances it has formed, already controls two thirds of the Shiite-majority municipalities.

In southern Lebanon, not only did Hezbollah’s Shiite alliance win hands down (generally by a ratio of 10 to 1 against its nearest rival), but it won on a platform of resistance to America’s demands that Hezbollah disarm. Hezbollah’s commander in southern Lebanon said he hoped its success would send “a clear message to the Americans that they embrace the resistance weapons” (Associated Press, June 6). The election is seen by many more as a referendum in support of Hezbollah’s refusal to disarm.

This “right” to arms is also supported by the Lebanese government, for Hezbollah is its proxy military in southern Lebanon, in resistance to Israel. Lebanon claims that a portion of land in northern Israel is occupied territory that should be returned to the Lebanese.

Israel expressed alarm over Hezbollah’s strong electoral showing in the region just north of its border. “If Hezbollah was only a political party, we in Israel wouldn’t be as concerned as we are,” said an Israeli official. “Hezbollah is obviously not simply a political party; rather it is a heavily armed terrorist organization” (ibid.).

So are free elections in Lebanon really a victory for freedom? In his article “Islamists Are Intrinsically Anti-Democratic,” Michael Rubin made the point that elections alone do not make democracy (www.meforum.org, June 2). Once Islamists gain power, their modus operandi is not to respond to the will of the people, but rather to enforce the Islamist creed. For example, the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan through free elections and then promptly imposed an extreme Islamic regime.

“[T]he Bush administration’s democratization initiative … assumes that democracy doesn’t yield unpleasant results” (Stratfor, June 6). Stratfor continues, “[S]ome people the United States truly hates and fears are very popular [i.e. Islamic terrorists]. … A free election will frequently affirm them.” That is exactly what has happened in southern Lebanon. The election victory for Hezbollah just confirmed the reality: This Shiite terrorist group is the popular controlling force in southern Lebanon.

Iran, however, is the ultimate winner. Hezbollah was created a quarter-century ago, primarily as a tool for Iran and secondarily to serve Syria’s interests. For Iran, two of Hezbollah’s primary purposes were to challenge American interests in the Middle East and to challenge Israel (ibid., March 15). Hezbollah has served these uses in a multitude of ways, not just through terrorist attacks: It is firmly entrenched not only in Lebanon’s business community, but also now in its politics—just as Syria is. It’s no coincidence that Iran’s foreign minister visited Lebanon in late May—meeting with numerous influential leaders of all political and religious flavors just days before the elections began.

Hezbollah’s political wins, coming at the same time as Hamas’s success in Palestinian elections, show the fruits of democracy in the Middle East are favoring radical Islam—headed by Iran.

“[T]he two terrorist outfits that Israel and America have been trying long and hard to outwit and outgun are winning the battle of the ballots” (Toronto Star, June 9).

Watch for democracy in the Middle East to yield further unsavory results.