Cutting Hezbollah’s grip is Lebanon’s only salvation


Cutting Hezbollah’s grip is Lebanon’s only salvation

Lebanese activists gathered on August 4, 2022 to mark the 2nd anniversary of the deadly explosion in the port of Beirut. (Reuters)

Two years after the Beirut port disaster – which was an apt metaphor for the whole state of Lebanon – the port’s huge grain silos continue to disintegrate and toxic fires feed on their rotting contents, terrorizing the inhabitants and fearing stinking clouds of carcinogenic dust visiting new afflictions on a capital city brutally stripped of its soul.

Beyond the 218 dead, thousands injured, $15 billion in property damage and 300,000 homeless, the number of people permanently affected by this crime of the century is beyond comprehension. Everyone has lost someone, while so many others have been permanently disfigured.

Hezbollah’s demand for an “impartial and fair investigation” illustrates how language has been stripped of meaning. These criminals flaunt their lies as another way to humiliate us, taunting us that we know of their guilt but can’t do anything about it. In recent protests, bereaved families held up images of the Hezbollah leader, saying they knew exactly who killed their loved ones.

Hezbollah and its cronies have crippled the work of the first two investigating judges and will easily neutralize the work of anyone else appointed to uncover the truth. Any widely demanded international investigation would inevitably suffer the same fate as the Hariri tribunal – which, after years of tireless work, identified the culprits, only for Hezbollah and its associates to brazenly challenge the world to come and arrest them. Such parodies surpass all attempts at satire.

Hezbollah believes it enjoys impunity for its crimes. The succession of slain national figures such as Mohamad Chatah, Samir Qasir and Luqman Slim… multi-billion dollar drug syndicates… the killing of thousands of innocent Syrian citizens… breathtaking corruption… the list goes on.

Meanwhile, Hezbollah leaders are spouting warmongering rhetoric over disputed Mediterranean gas fields, believing they would win anyway. If Israel makes any concessions, it will be thanks to threats from the “resistance”; if not, they were right all along and the Zionist enemy and its Western supporters are untrustworthy, justifying future confrontations. Hezbollah warns that no one will be allowed to extract gas and oil if its demands are not met. Drones flew over Israeli gas infrastructure, with Hezbollah threatening that gas platforms were within range of its missiles.

The “Islamic resistance” propaganda channels do not tire of listing the number of missiles, fighters and weapons that “Hizb Al-Shaitan” possesses, but they do not detail the extent of the retaliatory damage that Israel would inflict on Lebanon, or the thousands of citizens previously killed by the Israelis. assault. Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman outrageously threatened to “wipe out the entire Dahiyeh area of ​​Beirut” if Israel’s gas infrastructure was attacked. Such threats are all too believable.

Beyond that, Lebanon’s only salvation lies in the fact that its population confidently recovers its autonomy and sovereignty in Tehran.

Baria Alamuddin

Meanwhile, the tragic violence of recent days in Gaza is, of course, being exploited by Hezbollah and Iran to further exacerbate regional tensions. Hezbollah’s Naim Qassim warned that his organization “would not sit idly by”, while other Iran-backed militias across the region sought to increase pressure at Iran’s behest.

In 2006, GCC states rushed to invest billions of dollars to instantly rebuild Lebanon. Yet Lebanese leaders have spent the past few years severing Lebanon from its Arab identity and culture and blithely burning Lebanon’s bridges with the Gulf states, even though they knew the ayatollahs in Tehran would not lift the little finger to help, beyond replenishing the arsenals of his puppets. .

The question of who really controls Lebanon was highlighted in recent days when a Syrian ship subject to US sanctions and loaded with stolen Ukrainian grain was seized in the port of Tripoli in northern Lebanon. Syrian diplomats rushed to cajole, threaten and bribe the judiciary and officials to allow the ship to continue on its way to Syria to feed Hezbollah allies in the Assad regime. As a result, a Ukrainian ship carrying vital wheat supplies to Lebanon, which was due to arrive on Sunday, remains at anchor off the Turkish coast as it threatens to change its destination in protest at Lebanon’s allows it to be used as a hub for stolen Ukrainian grain. It is a perfect analogy to how Lebanese citizens have been repeatedly starved due to the criminal activities of Hezbollah and other leaders. In Beirut, where fights regularly break out over loaves of bread, people were desperate for these grain supplies to arrive.

The national infrastructure and the very fabric of society are disintegrating before our eyes, as schools, hospitals and essential institutions crumble, suffering from chronic shortages of all essential prerequisites for basic functioning. The most competent personnel fled abroad. The World Bank accuses Lebanese leaders of having organized a “deliberate depression” and of engaging in corrupt and illegal schemes to monopolize the country’s resources.

Hezbollah and its allies lost the last parliamentary elections, but they believe they have the ruthlessness and the political muscle to act as if they have won, believing that citizens are too absorbed in the daily struggles for survival to worry about these issues. Yet it is precisely because citizens are in such dire straits that they must seize the opportunity to ensure that demands for justice and accountability are heard, while acting against the efforts of Hassan Nasrallah and Gebran Bassil to block the formation of the government. With the epic struggle over who will be the next president on the horizon, there is everything to play for.

Iraq was brought to a standstill by hundreds of thousands of mostly Shiite protesters seeking to prevent Tehran from imposing a government. Only a similar mass popular uprising can save Lebanon, forcing a situation in which “business as usual” becomes impossible for the thieving factions, and this “deliberate depression” is abruptly halted.

Beyond that, Lebanon’s only salvation lies in the fact that its population confidently recovers its autonomy and sovereignty in Tehran.

Our greatest hope lies in the inspired bravery and stoicism of the Lebanese people in the face of unimaginable adversity. A rejuvenated and transformed Lebanon is there for the taking, if we collectively possess the courage to seize the moment to reach out and seize it.

Baria Alamuddin is an award-winning journalist and broadcaster in the Middle East and the UK. She is the editor of the Media Services Syndicate and has interviewed many heads of state.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the authors in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Arab News

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