Coincided with the crisis of regional and international relations that Hezbollah has, its disputes are deepening within the Lebanese political spectrum, especially with the Lebanese Forces party affiliated with Samir Geagea. Geagea opines in a statement issued by him that the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia is the last party that has the right to talk about the crimes taking place in Lebanon and against it.
It is noteworthy that the Lebanese Forces’ statement comes in response to previous statements issued by Naim Qassem, the Assistant Secretary-General of Hezbollah. In his statements, Qassem accused the Forces party of committing the massacre of Ain al-Rummaneh-Tayouneh, which took place weeks ago causing some Hezbollah and Amal’s supporters to be killed.
However, in its statement, the Forces Party believes that all the crimes that have been occurring in Lebanon in recent decades are directly linked to the militias. These crimes include the attempt to obstruct the investigation of the port crime, which claimed the lives of more than two hundred Lebanese and non-Lebanese citizens, in addition to more than three thousand wounded and innumerable material damage. the statement also has mentioned the assassination of Martyr Rafik Hariri, Prime Minister, the martyrs of the Cedar Revolution, and what happened between them, like May 7 clashes and the recent events of Ain al-Rummaneh.
A look into history…explosives, assassinations and several crimes
Commenting on the Lebanese Forces Party’s statement and the state of controversy with Hezbollah, Michel Bou Saab, a political analyst, considers that talking about crimes will not be in the interest of Hezbollah, which has effectively controlled the Lebanese state since the Syrian military departed in 2005. The analyst points out that the party is actually the heir of the Syrian security guardianship and the repressive policy of the Syrian regime in Lebanon.
Bou Saab also draws attention to the biggest crime that Hezbollah can not deny, which is its weapon that is lacks legitimacy form the Lebanese state. Hezbollah’s weapon has always been a cause of aggravating Lebanon’s relations with the Arab world and the Gulf states, which are considered the only lung for Lebanon and the Lebanese. Bou saab notes that the party has not only been involved in bombings, political assassinations, and hegemony over the state, it has also been a part in a larger operation that led to the assassination of Lebanon’s Arab identity and getting Lebanon into international conflicts greater than its size and capabilities.
“If you wanted to talk about Hezbollah’s crimes against Lebanon, one would not need to remind neither the case of MP Michel Samaha and his confessions, the port issue that the party is slowing down, May 7, nor even Hariri’s assassination. Hezbollah’s crimes can be shown through the high rates of poverty in the country between 2005 and 2021. Lebanon turned from a banking center that made it the Switzerland of the East into a country begging for foreign exchange, a country pariah from its surroundings and mired in an economic and service dilemma that prompted the Lebanese to board death boats in search of a more stable life in the countries of asylum,” Bou Saab adds. He stresses that what Lebanon has been suffering from for 16 years is mainly caused by Hezbollah’s weapons and policies that went against the global trend and attacked the Gulf states, which are considered the main supporter of Lebanon and the Lebanese economy.
It is worthy of mention that a study issued by the United Nations stated that 74 percent of the population of Lebanon suffers from poverty in 2021, after it was 55 percent of the population in 2020, and 28 percent in 2019.
Relevantly, Muhammad al-Rabou’e, an expert economic analyst, explains that Lebanon’s economic dilemma is not related to a lack of resources or lack of development factors, but rather to political crises, poor international and diplomatic relations, and the politicization and disruption of government work in most cases. Al-Rabou’e points out that the first steps to solving the Lebanese economic dilemma lie in the necessity of liberating state institutions, particularly economic and financial institutions, from political loyalties and influences, and working to correct relations with countries that could be economic supporters for Lebanon.
As for the recent crisis that has occurred with the Gulf countries due to the policies of Hezbollah and George Kordahi’s statements, Al-Rabou’e stresses that Lebanon is paying the most expensive bill in the world, only because of the rigid statements and stances of a person or a party. He also notes that the crisis with Saudi Arabia had the biggest negative impact on the Lebanese economy, especially when suspending all forms of economic relations with Beirut
Al-Rabou’e also confirms that Hezbollah’s adherence to its hostile positions on the Gulf in general and swimming in the Iranian pond annually costs Lebanon hundreds of billions that could be used for development operations and investments that would help raise the standard of living, reduce unemployment, reduce poverty levels and reduce public debt. He sees that the accelerating economic collapse in the past two years was caused by wrong policies that have been going on for at least 15 years.
Corruption of the dark empire’s pillars
According to Ahmad Itani, a researcher in Lebanese affairs, the list of Hezbollah crimes extends to what he described as establishing the darkness empire in Lebanon, which is based on creating a deep state within the entity of the Lebanese state. The researcher has described the Lebanese government, parliament and state institutions as mere facades that only express a picture of a country that no longer exists.
Itani believes that Lebanon has begun after 2005 to live in a situation worse than the one during the Syrian security authority. “During the Syrian presence in Lebanon, despite all the security and repressive influence, through some political figures such as Rafic Hariri, Lebanon was able to create balances in the regional arena that enabled it to build good relations with all parties, which helped in achieving economic and political stability. Lebanon experienced this stability from the end of the civil war until the assassination of Rafik Hariri, except for the crisis created by Michel Aoun when he attempted to overthrow the government in 1989,” Itani clarifies.
Addtionally, Itani points out that the first stages of the collapse of that stability began when Hezbollah’s influence was extended in Lebanon even before the Syrian withdrawal. It was when Hezbollah took advantage of the Syrian regime change and the advent of Bashar al-Assad, who lacked political eligibility to rule Damascus.
“At this point, it can be said that Lebanon began to fall victim to Hezbollah’s direct crimes, which began by the Syrian regime pushing to extend Lahoud’s term in the presidency and causing a political crisis, let alone the subsequent assassination of Rafik Hariri, which paved the way for Lebanon’s exit from the Syrian security state and its entry into the Iranian dark empire, in which the Lebanese state lost what remained of the state’s entities,” Itani says. He thinks that this kind of change in Lebanon was a major turning point in its history and the beginning of the crises that came later.
Anyway, Itani stresses that his words do not mean that Lebanon was completely fine during the period of the Syrian presence, but rather that the political climate allowed political pluralism capable of preserving Lebanon’s relations within the international and Arab community to emerge.
On the same issue, political analyst Fadi Shaheen says that after 2005, Hezbollah laid the first foundations for the new state, which was based on corruption, political favoritism, and turning Lebanon’s economic, political and geographical capabilities to support the party’s agendas, which was later completed through allying with the Free Patriotic Movement headed by Michel Aoun. Shaheen emphasizes that Hezbollah did not kill people only, but also killed all of Lebanon and played an important role in the sectarian conflicts in the region, specifically through its involvement in the Syrian war and its aid to the Houthi militias in Yemen.
It is notable that the Corruption Perceptions Index for 2020, issued by Transparency International, revealed that Lebanon ranked 149th out of 180 countries in corruption indicators, compared to 138th rank out of 180 countries for 2019, retreating 11 places among countries. Lebanon also scored 25 out of 100, downing 5 points.