Lebanon blighted by internal issues but Hezbollah threatens to embroil the nation for Iran
Murad Makhmudov and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Enormous demonstrations have taken place in Lebanon because of mounting economic, political, and social problems. At the same time, political cronyism and the sectarian nature of politics is holding back the hope of prosperity and dynamism. Equally important, endless mass immigration from Palestinians to Syrians is sapping this nation that is relatively small in terms of population. Therefore, many Lebanese from all faiths – and none – are disillusioned by the stagnant nation-state.
Reuters sums up the severity of the crisis by stating, “Lebanon needs a $20 billion-$25 billion bailout including International Monetary Fund support to emerge from its financial crisis, former economy minister Nasser Saidi told Reuters on Friday.”
Despite this, Hezbollah, a complex military, political, religious, and social force, is threatening to embroil a troubled state into fresh mayhem. Unlike the usual media hype – be it negative and rarely positive – the truth is that Hezbollah is a complex movement. After all, unlike Sunni Islamic Takfiris who hate all and sundry – the Hezbollah armed wing in Syria protected religious minorities including embattled Christians. Similarly, inside Lebanon, the Hezbollah elites work with all communities irrespective if Christian, Druze, Sunni Muslim, or whatever sect from each faith. Hence, this Shia movement within the body politic of Lebanon is complex and very different from other Islamist movements that don’t seek accommodation.
Yet, sadly, the one weak spot of Hezbollah is Iran. Thus, it is time to return home and stop being a useful tool for Iran to exploit. If Hezbollah is honest, then it must be painful to see returning Hezbollah fighters who have died for the “religious mosaic of Syria,” while knowing that Iran is on friendly terms with Qatar, Turkey, and the Muslim Brotherhood. After all, the same forces of Qatar, Turkey, and the Muslim Brotherhood are sponsoring Sunni Islamist terrorist and sectarian groups in Syria. Thus, Iran is fine with making economic and political capital with the same forces that are fighting the Syrian government and Hezbollah.
Equally important, the shifting sands of time must be faced by all organizations and faiths to reach out to the next generation. If endless ideology and a limited transition occur then a future generation will question the motives. Therefore, Hezbollah needs to return fully home to Lebanon and focus on the renewal of this nation along with other religious communities.
Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, an extremely powerful religious cleric in the movement of Hezbollah, is scathing about the recent killing of General Qassem Soleimani of Iran. Thus, he uttered threats against the military of America throughout the region. Nasrallah uttered, “When the coffins of American soldiers and officers begin to be transported… to the United States, [U.S. President Donald] Trump and his administration will realize that they have really lost the region and will lose the [2020 U.S. presidential] elections”
Yet, Lebanon, a nation beset by countless internal issues, doesn’t need to become embroiled in a geopolitical game between America and Iran. After all, Lebanon is small in numbers population-wise. Also, the religious mosaic of this nation means that no religious community should seek military tensions with any outside power by itself. In other words, Lebanon should be for the Lebanese and not being a puppet of America, France, or Iran.
Nasrallah, a complex individual and someone who is reaching out to different religious communities in Lebanon, uttered, “I want to ask the Christians before the Muslims: You are seeing what is taking place in Syria. I am not causing sectarian evocations. Let no one say that Sayyed is doing so. Not at all! Where are your churches? Where are your patriarchs? Where are your nuns? Where are your crosses? Where are the statues of Mary (pbuh)? Where are your sanctities? Where are all of these? What has the world done for them? What did the world do for them previously in Iraq? Aren’t these groups causing all of this in all the regions?”
Hence, the nation of Lebanon can’t afford any military convulsions with America that may also trigger sectarianism in this nation – and split the generational divide. Hezbollah needs to return fully to Lebanon and seek economic, political, and social answers to a very fragile nation. If not, then external forces – be they America, France, or Iran – will continue to weaken the nation of Lebanon based on vested interests.
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