Eyad Abu Shakra/The Sad Truth about the ‘Resistance’ is Exposed When it is Most Needed/ أياد أبو شقرا: الحقيقة المحزنة عن المقاومة أنها تعرت وفُضِّحت وخيبت الأمال وانحرفت عن علة وجودها وخانت كل شعاراتها
The Sad Truth about the ‘Resistance’ is Exposed When it is Most Needed أياد أبو شقرا: الحقيقة المحزنة عن المقاومة أنها تعرت وفُضِّحت وخيبت الأمال وانحرفت عن علة وجودها وخانت كل شعاراتها Eyad Abu Shakra/Asharq Al Awsat/June 02/2020
Lebanon witnessed three significant events the “stars” of which were the current premier, the Secretary general of Hezbollah, and a parliamentary deputy from the president’s political party.
The premier, on the occasion of his cabinet completing 100 days in office, boasted to the Lebanese that it has achieved 97 percent of what it had promised to achieve.
This is incredible news, given the political tension, the financial and economic crises, the collapse of Lebanon’s Arab relations, and its failure thus far to meet the conditions of the international community for the badly needed cash.
More incredible still, is that the same premier wrote in a major US daily, within hours of his great news, that Lebanon was threatened by hunger!
The second event was the speech given by Hezbollah’s secretary general commemorating Al-Quds Day.
His speech was a repeat of his past stances and slogans, which time has proven that they have nothing to do with liberating Jerusalem (Al-Quds), preparing to win back Palestine, protecting Lebanon, saving Syria, or preventing the US from fiddling with Islamic unity. Indeed, it has become clear some time ago that “the Resistance” – meaning the Iranian regime – has lost a lot its credibility in Lebanon.
The October uprising’s mass protests in Hezbollah’s southern Lebanon have shown that this is true even in its traditional stronghold.
Before this development, the truth about Hezbollah came out in the Arab world, after it fought in Syria alongside other militias run by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), in order to implement Tehran’s bloody regional strategy. Despite this, the secretary general’s continued to talk about the “victories” of Tehran’s axis, and the Israeli “crises” and America’s “problems”.
He even boasted about the “disintegration of their projects”, while totally ignoring the almost daily raids on Iranian positions inside Syria without reply, and the continuation of the Israeli rightwing the policy of annexation of territories, from Jerusalem to the Golan Heights… also without reply!
As regards to Lebanon, Hezbollah – through its secretary general – seems to be satisfied to how its political puppet is running the show. It does not appear unduly bothered about the people’s suffering from the systematic plundering, destruction of institutions, the brain drain, the collapse of local currency, the smuggling of cash and goods through illegal border crossings; not forgetting, of course, the COVID-19 and its repercussions.
Finally, the third significant event, was a TV interview with a lawmaker from President Michel Aoun’s party, the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM).
During this interview, the MP broke the taboo of saying that it was no more possible for Hezbollah’s military arsenal and the people’s hunger to coexist! The MP, who represents a South Lebanon constituency with Shiite villages, has thus touched on an issue the pro-Iranian militia regards as its raison d’etre and the indispensable means for building its future “state”.
However, the significance of what the MP (one of the parliament’s 128 members) does not stem from his particular influence or political weight, but because it reflects a popular and populist mood that even the Aounists cannot ignore any more. This is not a sign of good will among the Aounists, who until now are indebted to Hezbollah for making him president.
Such a development raises questions as to whether Hezbollah will now automatically nominate Gibran Bassil, Aoun’s son-in-law, the chairman of the FPM, and until recently Iran’s favorite presidential candidate, to succeed his father-in-law.
Of course, figures from both sides were quick to play down the significance of the rift, and rushed to reconfirm the steadfastness of the Hezbollah – Aoun “alliance”. Leaders from both sides may well be hesitant about a break up; however, this “alliance” was always a “marriage of convenience” and an opportunistic coalition that brought together extremist Shiites and extremist Christians for the following reasons:
1- The common animosity against the “Taif Accords: Hezbollah wants to undermine the accords because they presented a formula upon which a proper “state” is founded, but which the party does not believe in. As for the Aounists, they opposed the accords because they claim they have weakened the Christians by taking away some executive powers from the Presidency and giving them to the cabinet.
2- The animosity both sides share against “political Sunnism”, which was made easier as Iran’s expansionist project gained momentum and exploited the notion of “the Alliance of Minorities” (i.e. against the Arab Sunni majority). Indeed, the Iranian project was the main beneficiary from bringing down the “Sunni-faced” rule of the Saddam Hussein in the strategically crucial Iraq, and filling the vacuum there with Tehran’s henchmen.
3- The further expansion of Iran’s influence and military presence, the need grew for a Christian “cover”, both locally and globally.
Getting rid of ex-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri – a true symbol of “Taif” – was always a major piece of the jigsaw of the expansion map that included Bashar Assad’s Syria.
However, the international reactions to Hariri’s assassination led to ending direct Syrian military presence in Lebanon; a presence that for a long time concealed the “organic” relationship between the Syrian and Iranian regimes.
Thus, no sooner had the Syrian troops left that Tehran took over the de facto military and security, welcomed the return of Aoun from exile, and entrusted him with undermining the anti-Damascus-Tehran bloc… which he did.
Within a short time of Aoun’s return from France, he built his coalition with Hezbollah, which secured him the Presidency and cemented his position by a suitable electoral system, while Aoun provided the Christian cover the pro-Tehran militia needed for fighting in Syria on the side of Assad regime.
The questions that are being asked now are: how long could this “marriage of convenience” last while Lebanon sinks in its acute problems, noting that these problems fueled the October 2019 uprising, made even worse by COVID-2019, and the aftermath of Hezbollah’s drop in revenues as a result of US sanctions against Iran, and sharp drop in oil prices?
Will the Aounists’ Christian “environment” tolerate the acute living conditions, bankruptcy, and hemorrhage of emigration, if the only thing it shares with Hezbollah’s “environment” is the hatred to others?
And, will Hezbollah’s supporters, whose leaders have long convinced them of forgetting the past of the Christian “ally” – including its sympathy with pro-Israel elements, forgive such “betrayal” …or will it continue – along with Iran – to bet on Bassil?