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Lebanon and Syria: One Occupation in Two Countries

Lebanon and Syria: One Occupation in Two Countries

Sunday, 10 May, 2020 - 19:15

Hassan Nasrallah, the Secretary General of Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia, has delivered a speech, his first after Germany declared this pro-Iran militia a “terrorist organization” on German soil. It was also the first after the Lebanese “government” announcement of what it described as a “historic step” in its endeavor to rescue the ailing, indeed, almost bankrupt economy.

The German move does not really add much to what many countries, leaders and organizations already knew a long time ago. However, it begs the thought of what it might entail in the wider political context. The fact of the matter is that this militia is not a wild plant that suddenly emerged from the ground, and grew and expanded on its own. Far from it; it is actually, by the admission of its Secretary General, fully dependent on Iran, its clerical establishment and its Revolutionary Guards (IRGC); ideologically, organizationally, financially, strategically and logistically.

What I mean is that it would be strange if a sophisticated Western government, like the German government, can see the branch but not the tree. It is implausible that Berlin regards as a “terrorist organization” the pro-Iran militia that “occupies” Lebanon, displaces people in Syria, destroys in Iraq and sponsors terrorism in Yemen, but still believes that Iran has the right to have its own nuclear program.

It doesn’t make sense that Berlin remains unaware of the aggressive intentions, if not the loud boasting of the IRGC about their de facto “control” of four Arab countries all of which are UN member states; let alone Iran’s incessant encroachments and harassments in the Middle East’s international waterways. It, simply, cannot separate the part from the whole; and here let us address the tragic situations in both Lebanon and Syria.

In Lebanon, after the formation of the current cabinet as a successor to Saad Hariri’s government, its identity was clear as were its intentions, backers and program. Thus, wise observers did not waste any time before calling it the “Hezbollah cabinet,” which is absolutely true.

Since its formation, on January 21, the new cabinet has embodied a mentality of vengefulness and political spitefulness, and made a habit of escaping forward and blaming the legacy of the last 30 years in the history of Lebanon for every crime or transgression.

Even the last “October Popular Uprising,” which led to the resignation of Hariri’s cabinet, has been shamelessly exploited, and selectively made an excuse to settling old political scores. The facades of the real power in the country, which is Hezbollah, have been working in unison with misled groups to claim that corruption appeared in Lebanon only after the end of the Lebanese War, in 1990. This implies that corruption was brought about after the Taif Accord.

So, for the enemies of the Taif Accord and the Constitution – in which these Accords are enshrined – claiming to fight corruption became a cover of their conspiracy against the Constitution, even if this meant distorting history. They are doing this as people have no memories or documents; or as if there is no international community that remembers who saved Lebanon, and who wanted to ruin it on every occasion.

When the facades of “Hezbollah’s reign” claim that throughout the last 30 years no proper “future plans” were made to avert “destruction,” they intentionally ignore Arab and international support packages that were agreed upon based on meticulously prepared plans discussed in a number international conferences.

The same applies to these facades’ ignoring the responsibility of those behind the absurd wars, sectarian agitation, malevolent destruction and plundering under the protection of illegitimate weapons, for the corruption. They are doing this because their real and only intention is revenge, not reconstruction, institutions, or development.

Yes, they intend to destroy Lebanon’s institutions including the banking and tourist sectors, as well as undermining the country’s Arab and international relations, and speeding up the constitutional coup and demographic change. Even when these facades attempted to “rephrase” a quote about Lebanon by the French Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, the attempt badly backfired when the French Foreign Ministry set the record straight in written document. The Ministry made it clear that “no financial aid will be given without real reform… and what did not happen in 2018 (because of the obstruction of the Hezbollah-Aoun alliance) will not happen voluntarily. We have turned the page”.

The same kind of suicidal Lebanese tactics continue in Syria since 2011, if not before 2011.

The backers of the Assad regime have managed to exploit several local, regional and international factors to keep it alive. However, those who have been benefitting from keeping a failed regime for their own ends, now either have diverging interests or have realized that it is impossible to maintain a “junta” that carries in its chemistry the causes of its death.

There have been intersecting interests between Iran, Russia, and Israel in keeping this regime as a “mail box” between them, so long as they oppose both the democratic and the “Islamist” alternatives. Then, President Barack Obama’s enthusiasm to strike a deal with Iran aborted the Syrian popular revolt; just before the divergences started to appear, followed by the current cracks within the “junta” itself.

Recently, the massacres of Al-Baidha and Ras Al-Naba’ (near the coastal town of Banyas) in 2013, were commemorated. Hundreds of civilians were killed in these sectarian massacres, which were perpetrated by the regime’s forces, are still regarded among the worst committed in the Syrian conflict.

Since then, many other massacres were committed all over Syria, from Idlib and Aleppo to Qamishli, and from Homs to Souweida, without sparing the suburbs of Damascus. In all these massacres regime forces and Iran-backed militias slaughtered hundreds of thousands and displaced millions, as they ruined the country.

However, despite this, and just like what is happening in Lebanon, the remnants of the Damascus regime continue to escape forward, while international readings and positions change.

As things appear so far, the Republican administration in Washington does not seem to believe that getting the Iranians out but keeping the Assad regime is possible anymore. The Russian position vis-à-vis the regime also seems to have become less enthusiastic, noting here that there seems to be no significant American opposition to the continued Russian military presence in Syria; thus, making political change much easier. Furthermore, the Israelis also do not appear to regard the presence of Assad is an important strategic matter.

To conclude, it is obvious that Lebanon and Syria have been under one and the same “occupation”; but the problem is that the henchmen of this “occupation” reflect perfectly Talleyrand’s famous quotes “they have learned nothing, and forgotten nothing!”.

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