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f_0022080_18197 - #$-01&2 3-4%5%6#$ $ When Lebanese voters...

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! #$%&’( *+$%% ,% ( -./. 0+(1’(23 $4 2&3 5(%23+ ,6 7(8 (61 9,:;$<(=> :+$0+(< (2 ?’42% @6,A3+%,2>B% ?&3 C;32=&3+ D=&$$; $4 7(8 (61 9,:;$<(=>E 8&3+3 &3 4$=’%31 $6 ,623+6(F !"#$%& &%( %$) *#$+"*! ,-.#&/!"#$0 1- *%$ 2- *#$!%*!-) %! 3#.4,#2-,!566789%"&0*#90 ! "#$%&’ )%!* ! +,,-,%.!. / ! +,,-,%.! ,-01. "&2 !*+ 3 *"##+&’+ -4 # +’%!%5%6"!%-& #$%&’( *+$%% When Lebanese voters lined up to vote on June 7, 2009, the Obama administration was unprepared to face the alarming prospect of a Hezbollah-dominated government. The U.S. government remains hamstrung by legal and political obstacles that bar any contact with designated terrorist groups, including Hezbollah. This article examines the hurdles that the United States faces when terrorist groups gain legitimacy through democratic elections. Some terrorism analysts have begun ad- vocating engagement of hostile terrorist groups as an element of a successful counterterrorism campaign. Yet, in the case of Lebanon, Hezbollah’s electoral success has not resulted in the degree of behavioral change necessary to make the group a credible candidate for U.S. engagement. Moving forward, the United States should support a process that enables Hezbollah and other terrorist groups to be removed from the terrorist lists should they exhibit consistent and credible progress toward moderation and participation. !" ! $%&’()*%!’$ In countries as diverse as Israel, Ireland, Lebanon, and El Salvador, nu- merous political parties can trace their origins back to armed resistance
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!G groups, labeled by their adversaries as “terrorists.” Since 1996, the United States has institutionalized a formal process through which certain armed groups are designated as terrorist entities. The electoral successes of some of these proscribed groups, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in the occupied Palestinian territories, and the Unified Communist Party of Ne- pal (Maoist) in Nepal, have created new tensions for U.S. policy makers. While diplomats see a benefit in maintaining relations with fragile coun- tries in strategic regions, they are reluctant to associate with, and thereby potentially legitimize, political parties that the United States considers to be terrorist entities, such as Hezbollah, which had a particularly strong showing in Lebanon’s June 2009 elections. Going forward, the United States must develop the policy tools necessary to recalibrate its approach toward groups in Lebanon and elsewhere that operate in a zone between democratic legitimacy and a destabilizing, armed resistance. Engagement is a process, within or outside the context of formal ne- gotiations, by which a representative of the United States can persuasively articulate foreign policy to a terrorist group and reach mutual understandings or formal agreements (Pillar 2001, 73). Thus, engagement can constitute a range of activities, from unofficial backchannel contacts, to opening official lines of communication through low-level officials, to high-level public meetings, to official negotiations. The goal of such contacts is greater alignment of the disputants’ priorities, such as greater political inclusion from the besieged state in concert with moderation and/or disarmament of the terrorist group.
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