Ending Hezbollah's Stranglehold Over Lebanon

Daniel Cohen, Liron Shilo

Since Mid-October, Lebanese protesters have been calling for a political reform to deal with the economic crisis. Recently the protests turned violent, with clashes between security forces and protesters and attacks by Hezbollah and Amal affiliates on the protesters.

Lebanon has designated a new prime minister, Hassan Diab, whose candidacy was proposed by Hezbollah. Having been chosen by Hezbollah, Diab’s appointment reveals the challenges to form an inclusive Cabinet able to gain the international community’s trust and unlock the needed financial assistance.

Even though Hezbollah was part of the latest government and coalition, it has an interest to sustain a weak Lebanese government. While Hezbollah has traditionally relied on gaps in Lebanon’s military power to step in and assume its place, it is currently doing the same in all places in which the government is failing, making Hezbollah a domestic political problem. Hezbollah is also a regional security problem due to its involvement in Syria, Iraq, and its affiliation with the Ayatollah of Iran; and a global problem due to its cross-border criminal and narco-terrorist activities. Hezbollah relies on a worldwide network of supporters and sympathizers that provide financial, logistical, and operational support. These include both informal networks and centrally-run enterprises that resemble international organized criminal entities.

Hezbollah is a destabilizing power in Lebanon, provoking further political, economic and civil unrest, in times when Lebanon most needs international support. Hezbollah continues to create havoc in sustaining its upper hand. The current circumstances present a significant opportunity to rehabilitate Lebanon by isolating Hezbollah.

Hezbollah’s Identity Crisis

Read the original article.