Hezbollah and the Stockholm Syndrome

The Stockholm syndrome is a situation where the captive identifies with the captor, and even defends them against law enforcement and in court.
by Bassem Ajami

13 July 2019 | 13:55

Source: by Annahar

  • by Bassem Ajami
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 13 July 2019 | 13:55

(AP Photo).

Hezbollah wants the Lebanese to feel humiliated by the sanctions that the United States imposed on three of its leaders, including two members of parliament. For some, this maybe a legitimate demand.

However, there are a thousand and one reasons that make the Lebanese feel humiliated other than the sanctions. Hezbollah is at least responsible for some of them.

Should the Lebanese feel humiliated for the out of control corruption in their government?

Should they feel humiliated for the political system that divides them into feuding sects?

Should they feel humiliated for the failure of their government to device a policy regarding the repatriation of more than a million and a half Syrian refugees?

Should they feel humiliated for the failure of their judicial system?

Should they feel humiliated by their loss of trust in their institutions?

These are only samples of reasons that should humiliate the people of Lebanon.

To come back to the issue between Hezbollah and the U.S., no doubt many Lebanese will feel humiliated by the sanctions. Most of them belong to the popular base that Hezbollah enjoys. The rest, however, are influenced by what is known in psychology as the Stockholm syndrome.

The Stockholm syndrome is a situation where the captive identifies with the captor, and even defends them against law enforcement and in court.

The notion that Hezbollah is a Lebanese party and represents a large portion of the people of Lebanon involves a considerable exaggeration. Hezbollah is a brigade of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards planted in Lebanon to serve Iranian ends. True, its members are Lebanese but that doesn’t make it a Lebanese group.

In many ways, Hezbollah is to Iran what the Foreign Legion is to France. The Legion was established in 1830 and it is made up of mostly foreign conscripts. It has been deployed in many parts of the world where conflicts raged in order to help serve French aims.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah declared more than a year ago that Hezbollah is fed, armed, financed and inspired by Iran. Moreover, it has been deployed in areas where conflicts raged, such as Syria, Iraq and Yemen. The purpose for its deployment in those areas has been to serve Iranian ends.

Yet in Lebanon, Hezbollah played a crucial role in defeating the Israeli occupation of parts of south of the country. This gave it a broad legitimacy. Such legitimacy, however, was employed in an effort to undermine the authority of the Lebanese state and subdue it to Iran's hegemony.

The assassination of Rafic Hariri, of which members belonging to the group have been accused, the effective closing of the business district by a useless strike as well as preventing the election of a president for two years, insisting that its own candidate be installed, where all intended to impose Iran's hegemony over the country.

Hezbollah, thus, acting on behalf of Iran, is holding Lebanon captive. Yet it wants us to feel humiliated by the American sanctions on three of its senior members.

Here is where the Stockholm syndrome kicks in.

Apart from the wide popular base that Hezbollah enjoys among its own constituents, which regard Iran's hegemony over Lebanon as a "triumph," the majority of sympathizers with the party are under the influence of the Stockholm syndrome. They defend the Iranian backed party with great enthusiasm and zeal. Yet most of them had earlier denounced Hezbollah in the most hostile terms.

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