Hezbollah’s Actions in Lebanon Increase Shiite Discontent

It seems that discontent with recent actions of Hezbollah in Lebanon has reached a new critical stage: The group and its officials are seizing civilians’ lands in the south to establish military points under the pretext of “resistance.”

The sons of those seized civilians returned from Syria dead. They were victims of the Iranian interest policy to dominate neighboring countries, rescuing Bashar al-Assad in Syria, but they were far from protecting southern Lebanon and resisting Israel.

In the town of Kafra, Hezbollah has captured another 20 acres to establish a medical checkpoint. Those acres are adjacent to another 65 acres that were seized by Hezbollah in 1992, under the pretext of building the Kafra charitable hospital. However, the hospital is yet still under construction, the expenses for the construction where collected three times, according to local sources.

For all those violations, Hezbollah exploits religious and security figures in addition to officials. It has signed a 99-years-agreement to invest in the land captured. Abdul Amir Qabaln, the leader of the Shiite council, pressed the Kafr Mukhtar to sign the agreement, although Nabeeh Berri, President of Parliament called the Mukhtar at the time and asked him to cancel the agreement or he will be subject to liability.

Local sources reported to MENA Research and Study Centre that the residents have informed the Amal Movement and Hezbollah to make it a case of public opinion, if the land is not returned to the owners within a month, and that they will file a lawsuit against Sheikh Qabalan and Hezbollah.

Most important strongholds

In a report released recently, the US magazine “National Interest” shed light on Nabatiyeh, the fifth largest city in Lebanon, and one of the most important strongholds of Hezbollah, located less than 24 kilometers from the Lebanese border with Israel. The magazine described the party as the weak horse of the Middle East.

The article describes the scene by talking about men with long beards belonging to Hezbollah, driving brand new BMWs without plates in the city, the flags of Hezbollah on the street lights, where billboards show photos of killed Hezbollah soldiers.

According to local residents, including soldiers who fought against Israel, the magazine talks about three different types of Hezbollah members: The first includes people who really believe in Hezbollah ideology, being discontent; the second those who believed in Hezbollah and are embarrassed of the group’s actions; the third who joined the group just for money, not caring about aims or ideologies.

Local residents point out that four thousand Hezbollah members have been killed in Syria. They wonder why a patriot party would allow its members to be mercenaries for Iran and Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

Simultaneously, MENA sources revealed that the party’s members are dissatisfied with the drop of their salaries by half after the reduction of Iranian support for its militias. Iran undergoes a stifling economic crisis due to the US withdrawal from the nuclear agreement in addition to the economic sanctions against it.

Sajid card.. Ripping on people!

After the eruption of the popular unrest in Lebanon, Hezbollah is seeking to win more support within its community. The popular uprisings called for expelling all the state figures, on top Hezbollah, dominating political and state decisions and has a parallel economy described as a “suspicious black” economy, being separated from the state’s economy.

The latest attempt of Hezbollah to win more support from the public is issuing the Sajid card. Hezbollah controls food and medicine in Lebanon, in addition to agriculture and the south and the area of Bika. In the light of the increasing economic and living crisis, Hezbollah members were granted the Sajid card, through which they can buy food with cheaper prices.

Parallel economy

Shiite discontent with the party’s behavior has led to criticize smuggling and drug trafficking for supporting its economy.

This hidden economy was formed on the expense of social, health, and educational institutions belonging to its military organization, relying mainly and directly on Iranian funding.

The parallel economy run by the party includes several social institutions, the most important of which is the “Qard Al Hassan Association“, established in 1982 and which become more like a central bank for the party’s financial system. Its role gradually has expanded to be the first financial center for the Shiite society. It has huge quantities of gold that is mortgaged it in exchange for loans.

The association, is not listed in the list of banks licensed by the Banque du Liban and operates outside the Lebanese banking system. It provides the users with ATM and even exchanges US dollar to its customers, although official Lebanese banks do not give USD to depositors.

The Hezbollah militia is taking advantage of the vital facilities of Lebanon in order to finance its parallel economy. The port of Beirut, which exploded on August 4 this year, was a major gate to boost its economy. The party used to enter materials through the port without paying customs duties. It also benefited from Beirut airport to bring anything it needs. Smuggling via illegal crossings also contributed to the support of the party’s economy. The illegal crossings deprived the Lebanese Treasury of customs revenues and depleted the Central Bank of Lebanon’s reserves of hard currency, which makes it difficult for the entire international community today to inspect and audit its accounts.

 “Hezbollah relies on the black economy for several reasons, the most prominent of which is that it constitutes the gateway to the crime world, in order to ‚clean‘ the money it earned from drug and arms trade”, Makram Rabah, a university professor, said.

After the EU’s recent actions to include Hezbollah on the list of terrorism, in addition to the threats of the World Bank and major countries to expel Lebanon from the financial system because of the corruption in the Central Bank, will the supporters of Hezbollah save Lebanon from falling into the abyss?

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