Support for Hizballah transcends economic class divides and the divide between religious and secular Shias. Hizballah is one of the few movements in Lebanon addressing substantive issues that transcend sectarian identity—issues like corruption, social justice, rejection of America’s new Middle East project, resistance to Israeli occupation, and support for the oppressed Palestinians.
Hizballah now has strong allies and supporters among most of Lebanon’s Christians (who make up some 40% of the population); it also enjoys the support of most of the 400,000 Palestinian refugees living in Lebanese camps. Indeed, the war has only increased Hizballah’s supporters.
I spoke to Sheikh Maher Hamoud, a powerful Sunni leader in Sidon, who told me that although he had objected to many of Hizballah’s positions before the war, he had supported them during the war and had no disagreements with them now. Hizballah’s victory was a victory for Lebanon, Arabs and all Muslims, he said, adding that “our pride was restored.” I spoke to Joseph Moukarzel, owner of the newspaper Addabour, and a leading organizer of the March 14 movement that was Hizballah’s main opponent in Lebanon. “I was for taking Hizballah’s weapons before the war, and I still am,” he told me, “but in the war I had two choices, to be with Hizballah or to be with Israel. I chose Hizballah. Hizballah was David and Israel was Goliath.”