The fatal mobilization of Hezbollah in Syria

During the funeral of a Hezbollah fighter who was killed in Syria, a prominent Hezbollah party official addressed the mourners amid their confusion about the deaths that their sons are being driven to. The official defended Hezbollah's fighting alongside Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria and described it as a duty more important than any other. He described it as a fighting for existence as they are defending places that are important to the Shiite sect and that it is a pre-emptive strike for battles that may target the sect if the Assad regime falls.

It is a battle for life or death. This is how it is presented.

It is the party's new rhetoric towards its audience. The party recruited its officials to adopt this rhetoric to address its people in towns and funerals of the party members killed in Syria..

What attracts attention is that their rhetoric no longer includes any equivocation or evasion about fighting in Syria like what first happened when the party got involved in battles there. The rhetoric has now transferred to a progressive phase of mobilization that is still far from the media.

Manipulation and obsession

Speeches delivered by the party officials to mourners and families of the deceased are not the same ones reflected by the party's official media outlets. And of course they are not broadcast by other media outlets that are not allowed to attend these occasions. It seems Hezbollah has decided to mobilize its audience directly on ground. The party knows that the rhetoric used by its officials during these gatherings is a narrow one that appeals to sentiment and that can be easily manipulated and transferred into a collective obsession. But funerals' speeches are not the same speeches that Hezbollah can publicly announce to an audience bigger than its own, at least for the time being.

Truth is, the maliciousness displayed by Hezbollah while managing its battle in Syria is met by chaos and tension displayed in the rhetoric of other sectarian groups from among Sunni extremists.

Diana Moukalled

Repeated speeches at funerals can be accompanied with a page here or there on Facebook to talk about alleged heroic acts for the party members fighting extremists and armed gangs targeting important religious Shiite sites or killing people from the Shiite sect.

Truth is, the maliciousness displayed by Hezbollah while managing its battle in Syria is met by chaos and tension displayed in the rhetoric of other sectarian groups from among Sunni extremists. The latter's speeches adopt a rhetoric similar to that adopted in the past decade by al-Qaeda and its tools in Iraq. The language used by those is a dreadful one that is not limited to electronic websites.

In Egypt for example, there is a rude clear sectarian rhetoric adopted by some Salafi clerics who are not ashamed to publicly despise the Copts and summarize the entire Shiite sect with Iran and Hezbollah and consider that fighting the latter two is a duty more important than fighting Israel..In Syria, there are infiltrators from among al-Nusra Front and al-Qaeda, and they are nothing more than a bunch of sectarian extremists whose rhetoric fuels Hezbollah's rhetoric to mobilize its people.

It is a moment of sectarian madness in the region. Puns are no longer possible amid the presence of Twitter and Facebook which like they represented a revolution on the level of communication, they can also be turned into a dagger by strangers.

This is the exact equation that made the airplane a means for transportation and a means for murder.

We must here admit that in its war against the revolution, the regime in Syria succeeded in dragging al-Qaeda and its madness to it exactly like it succeeded in using Hezbollah in it.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on April 15, 2013.
Diana Moukalled is the Web Editor at the Lebanon-based Future Television and was the Production & Programming Manager with at the channel. Previously, she worked there as Editor in Chief, Producer and Presenter of “Bilayan al Mujaradah,” a documentary that covers hot zones in the Arab world and elsewhere, News and war correspondent and Local news correspondent. She currently writes a regular column in AlSharq AlAwsat. She also wrote for Al-Hayat Newspaper and Al-Wasat Magazine, besides producing news bulletins and documentaries for Reuters TV. She can be found on Twitter: @dianamoukalled.

Last Update: Monday, 15 April 2013 KSA 09:36 - GMT 06:36
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