The Ties that Bind: Families, Clans, and Hizballah’s Military Effectiveness

 A recent article in a pro-Hizballah media site tells the “Story of Two Martyrs,” Ibrahim and Ahmad Shihab, cousins who grew up together in the town of Baraachit in southern Lebanon. The two were close and went on “jihad” together in June 2016, fighting in the “same trench” in Syria. They were killed in action shortly thereafter, along with another lifelong friend from their hometown who was also a member of the extended Shihab clan.

The story of the two cousins and their friendship sheds light on the workings of organizations like Hizballah, which has morphed from a shadowy underground resistance movement and communal militia into a large, quasi-regular military force. In many cases, members belong to the same family or clan, or are close friends. Indeed, this is true of many local and foreign militias that have participated in Syria’s civil war. These social solidarities may contribute to the effectiveness of these militias, as well as organizations like Hizballah, whose institutional DNA still bears the imprint of its militia origins.

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  • Watchman

    An Arabic saying comes to mind: “I, against my brothers. I and my brothers against my cousins. I and my brothers and my cousins against the world.”

    The Middle East is a 7th century tribal parasitic society petrified by Islam to that stage, and locked to the concept of a zero-sum strategy for their society. As such their military strengths are strong loyalty to family but are weak or non-existent outside this family.

    The West was able to develop and advance because it was able to displace a loyalty from family to state and also teach and believe in win-win strategies in commerce and life in general. Their militaries are strong because in the loyalty to country and military unit which are seen as family substitutes.

  • vwVwwVwv

    This exactly is their greatest soft spot.
    Famili, Clan, Tribe….. Hisbolla is paying and arming the Tribes, hit some off them hard and no Hisbolla is left, as the Tribes will accuse each other and fight.