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Lebanon: Popular Anger Over Hezbollah Obstructing Govt Formation

Lebanon: Popular Anger Over Hezbollah Obstructing Govt Formation

Wednesday, 30 September, 2020 - 09:15
Cars drive near a poster depicting Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah at the entrance of the village of Ain Qana, Lebanon September 22, 2020. REUTERS/Aziz Taher

Hezbollah is no longer able to absorb the repercussions of the US sanctions, which have recently affected its allies.

It is true the party has adapted to the financial blockade by resorting to a parallel system that does not depend on Lebanon’s banking sector. But many believe that it won't be unable to absorb the increasing popular resentment against it, especially with French President Emmanuel Macron directly accusing it of obstructing the formation of the new government.

Anger was recently echoed by Hezbollah’s close allies, namely the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM). Leaders in the movement are now talking about the party’s compliance with Tehran’s unwillingness to make any concessions in favor of Washington ahead of the US presidential elections. This was reflected in the failure of Prime Minister-designate Mustafa Adib to form a new government, amid the insistence of the Shiite duo (Hezbollah and Amal) to obtain the Finance ministry.

Professor of politics and planning at the American University of Beirut, Dr. Nasser Yassin, said that pressure on Hezbollah would increase and more sanctions would be imposed against the party and its allies.

The explosion that rocked the town of Ain Qana in southern Lebanon last week raised questions as to whether the pressure on Hezbollah had developed into targeting its weapons depots.

Although no official statement was issued by Hezbollah in this regard, sources close to the party said that the explosion occurred in a house that contained old mines and shells left over from past Israeli aggression.

Reuters, however, quoted security sources as saying that an arms depot of Hezbollah exploded due to a “technical error”.

The head of the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis (INEGMA), Riad Kahwaji, said that Hezbollah was facing “big internal pressure at the current stage, which will probably increase” following the recent remarks by Macron.

“Usually, when Hezbollah is besieged, it attacks. Therefore, if the party sees that its allies are turning against it, which will tighten the siege on it, we may witness an unexpected reaction,” he added.

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