Leftist-Islamist Alliance

An old friend sent me the Wall Street Journal article by Andrew Higgins on “Anti-Americans on the March: Inside the unlikely coalition of the U.S.’s sworn enemies, where Communists link up with Islamic radicals.” Here’s a useful quotation from one of the Communists profiled:

“We all have the same goals,” explains Dr. Sayid, who now works in a Hezbollah clinic. The first of these goals is “resistance” against Israel, which during the summer war battled Hezbollah militiamen just outside Dr. Sayid’s village. He says resistance also has a broader target: America, its allies in the Arab world and beyond, and global capitalism.

On my last night in Beirut, I did see more Lebanese Communist Party flags conjoined with Hezbollah flags.

But it’s not just the “hard left” that is supporting the radical Islamists. Some of the “soft left,” or “cultural left,” are also supporting them. I was struck by how the rally in Beirut attracted so many rowdy youths, some of whom were chanting during the evening for free dope. They seem not to have any idea that if Hezbollah got the power they seek, they’d be ruled by Iranian-backed mullahs with a very different idea of free-time recreation.

The rally is very much about stopping an inquiry into the murder of the former prime minister, because it would likely lead back to the rulers of Syria. So they’re marching on behalf of the interests of the Syrian state. The Syrian vice president the other day on television said that if Syria were still there, they would have cleared out the demonstration “in 30 minutes.” The culturally-left people attending the rally have little idea that, were they to get their way, they’d be the first people to be beaten or worse.

7 Responses to “Leftist-Islamist Alliance”

  1. Tom,

    The rally you spoke about reminds me of the 1979 Iranian Islamic revolution. After a few years, many Iranians, that participated in the US embassy takeover, realized it was a very big mistake.
    Instead of establishing Islamic freedom, they planted a radical Islamic tyranny.

    I am afraid that the Lebanese people that support Hezbollah will end up with the same outcome. Maybe this is needed in order for the Lebanese to appreciate the concept of liberty. Once they realized that Islamic law of state governance is not a very good one, this may motivate them to advocate liberal democracy more urgently. I boldly say that the Iranians wished they did.

  2. It’s worth noting that it seems that only a minority of Lebanese support Hezbollah; the majority seems to despise them. The demonstrations underway at the moment are in favor of giving the minority a veto over the actions of the majority backed government. It’s too early to say what will happen in Lebanon, but I doubt that the entire state will go the way of Iran. It might erupt again into civil war, initiated by Hezbollah and supported by Iran (like the last war), with terrible consequences for everyone, or it might even fracture into a number of little states. But I doubt that there will be the kind of country wide Islamic Republic that was foisted on the Iranians.

  3. Tom G. Palme

    Thanks, Cyril! I had meant to give you the hat tip. I’m sorry that I neglected to do that. (Must be the jet lag and all that.)

    And really, I meant (really) to write “long-time friend.”

  4. Sandeep,

    If civil war happened, where would the liberals of Lebanon get their weapons, logistics, or support?
    Hezbollah has full support from Iran. In the last skirmish with Israel, the Lebanese government was powerless to reign in Hezbollah.

    It seems to me that Shiites are bent on seizing power in the region. And if there was a civil war, God forbid, in Lebanon, it’ll attract a lot of Shiite warriors to Hezbollah’s cause. With Iran’s approval of course.

    The chaos (Iraq) that is happening now is causing many free nations to be very reluctant in getting involve militarily and politically. Time and opportunity is on the side of Hezbollah and Iran.

  5. Not a big surprise. The Communist movement has always been involved in supporting these Islamist types. Heck, the Muslim Brotherhood which has its fronts such as Hamas and elements in Hezbollah openly collaborate with Middle Eastern Communist parties along with the Lebanonese Communist Party being one of them.

    The Muslim Brotherhood is an Islamist organization that also has Western links with American Communist fronts such as Refuse and Resist a front for the Revolutionary Communist Party through the Muslim Brotherhood’s youth wing-Muslim Student Association.

  6. M: it is not so clear that “The Communist movement has always been involved in supporting these Islamist types…” The USSR supported secular socialist regimes in the middle east. these regimes and Islamists tended to be violently opposed to each other. After the fall of the USSR communists still supported these regimes (I attended communist rallies — as a sightseer, not a supporter — in Moscow and saw everyone waving Iraqi flags in support of Saddam Hussein.)

    The only conclusion that should be drawn from the willingness of communists to make occasional and temporary alliances with other anti-liberal forces is that they are opportunists in this regard… a point Marx explicitly made in Communist Manifesto. But there’s no real compatibility between Islamists and communists.

    Does the RCP still exist? They used to have a great bookstore in NYC (possibly the only communist bookstore that included works by Milton Friedman) but it’s gone now. I had heard they were shut down after getting caught with a couple of .30-30s they had stored in Brooklyn.