Lebanon is Now a Hezbollah-run State
Lebanon is Now a Hezbollah-run State
What began as a small shooting incident in the mountain village of Qabr Shmoun is now a full-fledged political crisis threatening the future of Lebanon.
From weaving an ‘assassination attempt’ in an alleged ‘ambush’ the crescendo has gone to arguing the powers of the President and the Prime Minister. This is an issue that most Lebanese politicians have avoided discussing either because they are convinced that it is untreatable but only kept at bay, or feel it is futile to handle in a dangerous regional climate.
The ‘Qabr Shmoun Incident’, indeed, has shown - like many before it – that the Lebanese may have ended the combat side of the Civil War (1975-1990) but continue to fight it in every other form. Absent are the goodwill, the true reconciliation and entente, the healthy coexistence, and the willingness to have a real state and citizenship.
A few years ago, Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s secretary general said “… why don’t you build a state first”, when answering a question about why his party refuses to hand over its arsenal to the Lebanese state.
Of course, Nasrallah’s well-spoken words, came before Hezbollah finalized its full takeover of a badly injured Lebanese state, and made it a part of its regional sectarian project. In fact, going through the party’s development of its thoughts, maneuvers, style of action, as well as its wars, one realizes that Lebanon – whether as an entity or a state – means little to it. Unlike Nasrallah’s recurrent claims that his party was “Lebanese”, and under “Lebanese legitimacy”, he himself has declared his real authority: He was proud to be a soldier of Wilayat al-Faqih.
Moreover, even if we were to accept a party’s respect for and commitment to a state’s national borders, its laws, and its constitution, are part and parcel of the said party’s – as well as the state’s – legitimacy; Hezbollah has been uncommitted to all the above under the pretext of ‘Resistance’ (Resisting Israel’s occupation of south Lebanon (1980-2000).
It has been uncommitted to the borders, not as far as attacking Israeli military targets during wartimes, but fighting inside Syria. Hezbollah has fought across the border inside Syria, killing civilians, destroying cities and villages and displacing their inhabitants, without official approval from the Lebanese government. It has also been directly engaged in direct negotiations with foreign governments, and indirectly with ‘enemy states’ through a ‘third party’ without the Lebanese government’s approval.
As for disrespect to Lebanese laws, Hezbollah has refused to hand over its members accused of murder and attempted murder, including the murders of Fighter-Pilot Samer Hanna, and peaceful demonstrator Hashem Al-Salman, and the attempted assassination of former cabinet minister Butros Harb; in addition, to possessing a formidable military ‘arsenal’ built up without import licenses, customs duties, etc.
Last, but not least, Hezbollah has recurrently disregarded the Lebanese Constitution through various means. Its intentions have been to either disable the state, or undermine national coexistence through abolishing the ‘Tae Accords’, turning its weapons inside the country, and actively seeking to marginalizing, and destabilizing religious and sectarian communities.
The new confrontation launched by President Michel Aoun against the powers of the Prime Minister, came directly from the Presidential Palace. This is a serious shift from the silent campaign carried out for some time by his son-in-law Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, manifesting itself by challenging, besieging and intentionally marginalizing Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
It’s now that Hariri has realized that there was a conspiracy to infiltrate and divide the Druze community through bloodshed, and that he is being besieged and ‘squeezed out’ politically, judicially and militarily.
On the political level, Aoun has been pushing Hariri to discuss the ‘Qabr Shmoun Incident’ in the forthcoming cabinet meeting, where the Hezbollah-Aoun axis has a slight majority. The Axis’ aim is to refer the incident in which two young men were killed to ‘The Judicial Council’, a special tribunal that deals only with issues of national security; and hence, accuse the Druze and Socialist leader Walid Jumblatt of a political crime, as a means to blackmail him or force him out of the political scene.
Judicially, under alleged Presidential orders as well as pro-Aoun Justice Minister, there have been dubious handling of the legal side of the investigation; including changing prosecutors and investigators, as well as courts in order to secure a ‘political accusation’.
Finally, in the military-security sphere, Aoun and Hezbollah desire to disregard the results of the intelligence and investigation carried out by the ‘Information Branch’ of the Internal Security Forces (ISF). The Hezbollah-Aoun axis regards the IB-ISF as pro-Hariri, so it will not be possible to tamper with evidence, invent fake data, and turn the invented data into ‘Confidential intelligence’, as was the case during the Syrian security hegemony in Lebanon pre-2005.
The Aounist ‘Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), has been involved in the current from day one; indeed, it has been its incendiary device, and now the FPM is extending its aggressive campaign from Jumblatt to include Hariri and their most powerful Christian ally Samir Geagea. Hezbollah, the de facto ruler of Lebanon and the force that imposed Aoun as President, has – as expected – sided with Aoun and his political henchmen from the first hour after the Incident, unhesitatingly confirming its role in what is going on.
There is no doubt of what Hezbollah, backed by its backers in Tehran and Damascus, wants. Actually, I believe that what this party and its Lebanese henchmen are perpetrating cannot be separated from what is happening in the Arabian Gulf, and what is being planned for Syria. In any case, Hezbollah and its henchmen are executing in Lebanon and Syria exactly what the Houthi militia is, since the command center, the allegiance, and aims are the same.
Furthermore, I wish that those who still believe that the greatest aim for Iran’s Mullahs and their Arab followers was “liberating Jerusalem” recall an interesting quote by the Hezbollah leader.
“If asked, now that I am 56 or 57 years old, about the best thing I did during my entire lifetime, I shall hesitate to reply that the greatest ever position I took has been my position against the aggression against Yemen!”. Indeed, to make the whole picture much clearer, he recently said “the whole region will burn” if Iran is attacked.
Thus, it is obvious that neither Palestine nor Syria, and not even Lebanon, are top priorities for Hezbollah. Supporting Iranian expansion from the Mediterranean to Bab El-Mandeb Strait is…