Terrorism

Hizbullah, Iran hold back Lebanon amid financial crisis

By Nohad Topalian in Beirut

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A Hizbullah convoy is seen in the Bekaa region, where the militia controls a number of illegal crossings used to smuggle weapons, money and food into Syria. [Photo circulated on social media]

While Lebanon seeks ways out of its worst financial crisis in decades, Hizbullah continues to pose a threat to efforts by the government and the international community to mitigate the effects of the crisis, experts told Al-Mashareq.

Hizbullah and its sponsor Iran do not prioritise Lebanon's interests, they said, as the militia continues to partake in smuggling operations that funnel Lebanon's resources to war-torn Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad.

Lebanon is currently "a state within Hizbullah's statelet which is using the country's economy" to advance its own agenda and that of the Iranian regime, said former minister May Chidiac.

The party is turning Lebanon into "a failed state" because it is standing in the way of reforms and the closure of illegal border crossings and legal crossings under its control, which it uses to carry out smuggling to Syria, she said.

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A Hizbullah fighter raises the militia's flag next to the national flag in Jurud Arsal near the Syrian border, underscoring the militia's control of the border with Syria. [Photo circulated on social media]

"The party has created a parallel market through which it brings in weapons and smuggled goods," she told Al-Mashareq, adding that Hizbullah has been exploiting Lebanon's corruption to suppress detractors.

Its policy is based on "striking Lebanon's interests and resources for the benefit of Syria and Iran", she said, noting that when the government announced the need to control all illegal crossings, the party's secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah instead called for the normalisation of ties with Syria.

"Hizbullah owes its loyalty to Iran, and is indifferent toward Lebanon's interests and the international efforts underway to help it recover from its crisis," she added.

Hizbullah and Iran seek to deprive Lebanon of financial support from donor countries, similar to what happened with the funds pledged during the April 2018 Cèdre conference of international investors, said Chidiac.

The party is continuing with its harmful actions despite the sanctions imposed on it by the international community, she said, adding that Hizbullah is implementing the policy of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in the region.

"The party is heavily engaged in smuggling foreign currency to Syria," she said, noting that it sent billions of dollars to Syria "instead of contributing to solving our crisis".

Iran, Hizbullah's indifference

Hizbullah's political hegemony and its arsenal of illegal weapons undermine Lebanon's sovereignty, said Lebanese security expert Naji Malaeb.

The militia's Iran-backed actions have isolated Lebanon and cost it Arab and Western support for its economy, he told Al-Mashareq.

"Hizbullah and Iran are apathetic about Lebanon's economic and financial deterioration and are squandering all its resources for Syria's benefit by smuggling goods, oil and dollars to that country via legal and illegal border crossings," he said.

"While Lebanon negotiates with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to get out of its [financial] crisis, Hizbullah is putting obstacles in the way of any solution to the crisis, and consequently threatening all international efforts to tackle it," Malaeb said.

"Lebanon, under Iranian hegemony facilitated by Hizbullah, is heading toward becoming a failed state," he said.

Hizbullah's priority lies not into "building a strong Lebanese state and economy, but rather into building an armed military force that takes advantage of Lebanon's weakness and creates an extension of itself outside its borders", Shia opposition figure Ali al-Amin told Al-Mashareq.

Al-Amin warned that Lebanon's economic and financial situation will only get worse if Hizbullah keeps following the course of political corruption and squandering Lebanon's resources by smuggling them into Syria.

Hizbullah and Iran's policy is indifferent to Lebanon's interests and to international efforts being made to find solutions to the country's financial woes, he said.

This was also manifest in Iran's recent actions during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, he added, as Iranian carrier Mahan Air continued to operate flights to Lebanon despite government flight bans.

"Iran continued to operate flights to Lebanon after the outbreak of the coronavirus, thus contributing to its spread in Lebanon," said al-Amin.

It is clear that neither Hizbullah, nor Iran, wants any real solution to Lebanon's problems, he added.

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25 COMMENT(S)
COMMENT POLICY

May Chidiac is an agent without honour or dignity. It’s only natural for her to talk like this. To you who are clueless, and to the scumbag Ali al-Amin, Hizbullah is bringing dollars to Lebanon, while the Americans are withdrawing the dollars from the market. Your opinions and the leg of Hizbullah are equal. Our weapons will remain in our hands until our last breath. We will defend our dignity whatever happens. The agents in Lebanon will be punished one day. Chidiac is without honour; she’s a dirty Jewish, American dirty agent.

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It’s only natural for May Chidiac to speak like that. This is because she had asked Hizbullah to pay her a sum of money every month and, in return, she would support them. However, Hizbullah didn’t accept that. This is how it is. All those who are involved in this circle know that.

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These are old pictures and trivial words that aren’t worthy to be read. Your lies are just insane. This is the most despicable page

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Nobody except the Party [i.e. Hizbullah] and Iran make you nervous, o, animals!

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Whoever wants to speak about Hizbullah wishes to purify his mouth. Period.

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Hizbullah has humiliated Israel. All of these are lies and defamation against Hizbullah because it is the protector of Lebanon. The weapons of resistance will remain and you will disappear.

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Hizbullah is a thorn in your eyes, o, you dogs of America!

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Damn you, May Chidiac and everybody else who talks about Hizbullah! Hizbullah is more honourable than you, o, agents of America and Israel. We’re more entitled to look for the interests of this country and the interests of Lebanon. It was you who smuggled the US dollars from Lebanon, not to Syria. In spite of its war and conditions, Syria doesn’t need Lebanon or its wealth; it has its own projects, investments and land, which can meet its needs. Stop your quackery and deceptions! May Chidiac, hope your other half will be blown up! Damn you! Hope the coronavirus will rid us of you so we don’t hear this nonsense! Damn you and damn Samir Geagea!

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نعرف أنكم تحاولون تدمير لبنان واحتلاله من قبل إيران. لماذا لا تهاجمون إسرائيل؟

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You accuse Hizbullah of sabotaging Lebanon. You say that Hizbullah and Iran don’t want to see Lebanon reviving. You’re just ignorant. Al-Sayyid Hassan Hizbullah said on TV that he was prepared to bring electricity to Lebanon. He said more than once that he was prepared to arm the army. We want to know why you didn’t accept, May Chidiac, and the agents are supporters of America and Israel. You hide behind your own fingers. Enough with your prostitution! You need to tell us why your masters in America and Israel didn’t want Lebanon to explore for oil, and why they didn’t want to have electricity and arms for the army from Iran. Who doesn’t want to see Lebanon revive?! Is it Hizbullah and Iran or your Jewish and American masters? Shut your mouths and stop barking. You have to hide and don't speak. You lie and you believe yourselves.

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U want us to deal with China.that I good offer.but what are your conditions.?will u leave the mailers al niyabi and stop controlling the poor Lebanese people.plse Answers without shatayem

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The country is divided into two parts, and each one is concerned with their own business.

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Where were you, Chidiac, when you were a minister? Why didn’t you do anything for reform? Or is it that now you’re out of office, you just talk?! All those who assumed office and now not in office are just infallible! They should have worked when they were ministers and MPs. However, they only focused on looting. They’re all liars, and the people won’t be deceived.

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Ok they are all thieves and they should be dealt with Christians and Moslems together.Now u should elect new people FRM the Shaab and clean ones and it offer FRM China is good if it is true.the Americans it seems let us down and wants Israel to control all the region.
There is a French proverbs thats
La raison du plus fort est toujour la
Melleieur sayd

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Excuse me, who is al-Amin and who is Chidiac? What do they do?

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May God destroy Iran and those who support it!

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Get ahold of yourself- whatever you’re saying, you won’t be able to do anything. Hizbullah shall remain a thorn in your eyes, o, dogs and agents. “The dogs may bark, but the caravan moves on."

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Hizbullat, a day will come when you'll be like rats!

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Hizbullah is a thorn in your eyes, o, panders!

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O, dears, at this time, we’re starving, our currency has lost much of its value and unemployment has reached record high levels and you still defend our parties! We’ve reached more than this; we’re at the beginning of a famine. Damn the head of the biggest party, whether Walid, Hassan, al-Hariri, the Forces, al-Kataeb. We may be fighting each others, and the leaders will be drinking together. At the end, damn the head of the biggest party who wants us to beg so we can feed our children.

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Comment removed for violating comments policy.

This is the party of devastation; it’s just a wretched party taking orders from Bashar.

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How can it be a tramp and humiliate you in this way?! It can’t be a tramp then. Hit your head at the wall!

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Hizbullah is a party of reform for Lebanon to liberate it from US hegemony. Any devastation in the region is caused by the US and its cohorts. May Chidiac is only a despicable media tool, and her uncle is Antoine Lahad who occupied the south for the account of the enemy. This is the truth.

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We’ve tried non-Iranian influence, including American or European. It was all about interests; anything that was against their interests, they would cause problems, like what is happening now in Lebanon.

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