Is Hezbollah distancing itself from Iran?

“IIf a war breaks out between Iran and Israel, Hezbollah might not get involved,” said Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah. He gave the very public assessment in an interview with an Iran-based news channel, according to Naharnet, a Lebanese online news source.

Faced with increasing pressure from within and without, is it possible that Hezbollah is trying to distance itself from Iran?

The international community sees Hezbollah as another proxy for Iran. Yet among these proxies, Hezbollah is quite unique. Unlike most, it wields considerable political power as a legitimate political party. But his political power is not undisputed. Because Lebanon is a democratic republic, Hezbollah’s power is subject to the fickle winds of politics. These winds are now blowing in a distinctly anti-Iranian direction with gale force proportions.

Lebanon’s economic crisis is reaching catastrophic levels. Between 2018 and 2021, Lebanon’s gross domestic product plummeted from $55 billion to $20.5 billion. the Spring 2021 Lebanon Economic Monitor ranked Lebanon’s economic difficulties among the three worst of such crises since the 1850s. The World Bank noted, “Such a sharp contraction is usually associated with conflicts or wars.”

The seeds of the country’s economic woes were sown after the Lebanese civil war. As its leaders attempted to rebuild the nation, the debt soared. Reuters quoted economists who “described the Lebanese financial system as a nationally regulated Ponzi scheme, where new funds are borrowed to pay existing creditors.” This Ponzi scheme began to crumble as Iran’s influence grew in Lebanon through Hezbollah. In October 2019, mass protests against a new tax turned off the tap on foreign investment. Without foreign dollars, the nation plunged into a general economic crisis. The explosion in Beirut in August 2020 caused billions in damage and scared away the few remaining foreign investors, thus sounding the death knell for the Lebanese economy.

Who does the Lebanese public blame? “Hezbollah officials blame US sanctions for the state’s economic collapse,” wrote David Schenker, senior researcher at the Washington Institute. “[B]but the vast majority of Lebanese know better; Hezbollah’s exploitation of the banking system, its corruption, its involvement in narcotics trafficking and its opposition to reform have greatly contributed to Lebanon’s financial collapse.

The population of Lebanon is unique in the Arab world. Lebanon is also divided between three groups along sectarian lines: 32% Sunnis, 31% Shiites and 32% Christians. Between these three, two sides have emerged. Iran-backed Shia Hezbollah on one side and a Sunni-Christian coalition on the other. “Hezbollah is losing all credibility in the eyes of the majority of Lebanese,” wrote Trumpet editor Gerald Flurry in “Why We Told You to Watch Lebanon”. “The division between these two camps threatens to turn violent. Considering this division, Saudi Arabia sees an opportunity: it believes the time has come to act to undermine and uproot Iran’s influence in Lebanon.

In December 2021, Saudi Arabia and its allies suspended diplomatic relations with struggling Lebanon. In a recent attempt to mend ties, Kuwait sent a list of proposals and conditions to Lebanon that were clearly aimed at Hezbollah. Conditions included disarming non-state militias in Lebanon (such as Hezbollah), stopping drug trafficking from Lebanon (one of Hezbollah’s main sources of income), and stopping Hezbollah’s interference in the affairs of other Arab countries (especially in Yemen).

Nasrallah, of course, condemned the “dictates” but, tellingly, said he still supported the ongoing dialogue with the Gulf states.

Hezbollah has an image problem. Being seen as an Iranian proxy is becoming increasingly unpopular both at home and abroad. Nasrallah knows it. This is why we are beginning to see him publicly distance Hezbollah from Iran. While Hezbollah is unlikely to turn against Iran, it foreshadows the future of Lebanon. Nasrallah knows something has to change or Hezbollah will lose its grip on Lebanon. And that’s exactly what Trumpet has long anticipated.

Iran and its radical Islamic proxies are the greatest threat to peace in the Middle East. To counter this threat, the Trumpet expects moderate Arab states to join Europe. We base this prediction on Bible prophecy. As Mr. Flurry explains in his pamphlet The King of the South, Psalm 83 lists an anti-Iranian and anti-Israeli alliance of nations. Among the 10 nations listed in the psalm are Gebal and the people of Tyre. These were both located where modern Lebanon is today.

But Iran and Hezbollah will not give up control of Lebanon without a fight. Mr. Flurry concluded in “Why We Told You to Watch Lebanon,” “Keep Watching Lebanon. The nation will descend into another civil war. As you watch this terrible scenario unfold, acknowledge this bloody event as part of a chain reaction that the Bible says is destined to end with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! God laid it all out for us to see in His majestic prophecies.

To understand these prophecies, please order your free copy of The king of the south and read “Why We Told You to Watch Lebanon”.

Previous Continuing hope after disasters and crises - United Republic of Tanzania
Next The Russian-Ukrainian conflict poses great risks to the world economy