“I am the power,” this is the conclusion of Hassan Nasrallah’s latest speech, in which he officially announced dominating Lebanon and being the sole decision maker in the country, particularly the decision related to the illegal border crossings between Syria and Lebanon and which are controlled by Hezbollah.
After dominating Lebanon with the force of arms, Hezbollah started with operations of drugs dealing, recently its new source of finance is smuggling.
Media reports have been talking about a new scandal against Hezbollah, smuggling diesel, flour and hard currency to Syria, ignoring the deep economic crisis in Lebanon.
According to the Lebanese Forces party, the challenge was obvious when Nasrallah said that Syria and Lebanon are two countries with two armies, but no borders separating them. That statement was considered as a rejection to the decision of the Supreme Council of Lebanese Defense regarding tightening the control over the borders with Syria to prevent smuggling between both countries.
The Lebanese army has recently seized smuggling tanks and trucks on the Lebanese-Syrian northern and eastern borders, which were in route to Syria.
In an official statement, the Lebanese Army Command explained that its units seized ten tanks and three cars loaded with about 215,000 liters of diesel, in addition to two trucks and four cars loaded with about 71 tons of flour, between May 7 and 14.
During the operations, the army units arrested 25 people, and transferred them to the judicial authorities, the statement noted. It confirmed the army’s intention to take the necessary measures for controlling the borders and preventing smuggling through illegal crossings.
Lebanon the state and Hezbollah
Norman Roll, a former official of the US National Security Director’s Office, describes the position of Hezbollah in Lebanon as the “state within the states”, especially with the control of essential sectors of public life.
According to Roll, Hezbollah’s influence is a real threat to Lebanon’s sovereignty and interests, especially with the party’s involvement in many regional crises, starting with the war in Yemen, the Syrian issue and being responsible for weapons warehouses and in the Gulf States, in a reference to Hezbollah’s role in harming Lebanon’s relations with the neighboring countries.
The Gulf States and US have already announced their refusal to provide financial assistance to the Lebanese government, as long as Hezbollah, which is included on the list of terrorism, is controlling Lebanon.
Rule in the Shadow
After the formation of the new government headed by Hassan Diab, Hezbollah’s power and domination in Lebanon have increased.
Former PM Fouad Sanioura says that forming the government was an official announcement of Hezbollah’s actual control over Lebanon: “Hezbollah has become the greatest power in Lebanon,” he says.
According to Sanioura, the party’s hand is no longer confined to the presidency and parliament, as Diab has reached to his position and granted confidence with the support of Hezbollah, although Diab was not supported by Sunni parties.
The popular movement has rejected the current government, considering it as the government of Hezbollah.
Hezbollah’s policy in governing Lebanon is not based on the direct control over government positions, according to Norman Roll, it leaves a little space for other political parties as ruling the state behind the scenes.
Thus, Hezbollah will not deprive Lebanon of all the foreign aid needed in the light of the current crisis.
Lebanon is living an unprecedented economic crisis accompanied with warnings of famine and poverty, especially with the decline of the lira exchange rate, exceeding 4,000 liras against the US dollar, in addition to the high public debt rate estimated at $ 90 billion, and that, made Lebanon the third indebted country in the world.
Unlimited power and unusual war
Hezbollah is waging the war of direct control over the state’s institutions, the writer Ali al-Ameen says, and this would be a great challenge for Hezbollah’s leaders, as managing the profound issues is not one of the things that Hezbollah is good at.
Al-Ameen sees that Hezbollah was using its military security apparatus to enhance its influence in Lebanon according to its interests and ignoring the interests of Lebanon.
Hezbollah security, military, and political systems are completely independent from the government’s. It also has its own telecommunications network and other financial activities that cannot be questioned by the government. Additionally, Hezbollah has its private prisons.