Politics

Hizbullah disarmament would unlock Lebanon aid

By Nohad Topalian in Beirut

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Lebanese men watch Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah during a televised speech, at a coffee shop in the southern suburbs of Beirut, on August 30th. [Anwar Amro/AFP]

The US is ready and willing to help crisis-hit Lebanon, top officials have said, but in order to receive aid, Lebanon must implement UN resolutions 1559, 1680 and 1701, which include Hizbullah's disarmament among their provisions.

Lebanon, which is going through its worst economic crisis in decades, is facing a dollar shortage, increasing inflation and the devaluation of its national currency, which has lost more than half of its value in recent months.

This economic turbulence was exacerbated by the August 4th Beirut port explosion, which caused huge financial losses.

On the brink of collapse, Lebanon is awaiting major financial aid. And the international community has expressed its readiness to assist Lebanon, on the condition that real reforms be achieved and Hizbullah's influence be curbed.

In August, US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker called for the formation of a "government that is committed to reform, transparency, anti-corruption and disassociation".

In early September, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Lebanese officials to undertake profound reforms and disarm Hizbullah.

Lebanon's main obstacle to aid

"Recent developments have shown that Hizbullah is the main and serious obstacle to Lebanon's exit from its financial crises," political analyst Elias al-Zoghbi told Al-Mashareq.

"This also is evident from the difficult conditions it has set for the formation of a new government," he said. "Hizbullah poses a real danger to the future of the country, given that it has seized control of a legitimate government."

Hizbullah seeks to make the Lebanese government an instrument of the Iranian regime, he added, pointing out that "the party poses a danger to Lebanon politically, strategically and economically".

As long as it holds sway over the Lebanese government, al-Zoghbi said, "the US will not provide any assistance to Lebanon and will not allow the international community to provide it with funding".

He noted that UN Resolution 1559, of September 2004, called for the dissolution and disarmament of all Lebanese militias. Resolution 1680, of May 2006, demanded the implementation of the principles of Resolution 1559.

Among other provisions, UN Resolution 1701, of August 2006, called for a complete halt of hostilities in Lebanon as well as the disarmament of all groups.

'Lebanese pay the price'

According to strategy expert Maroun Hitti, a retired Lebanese military officer, the root of the problem is that Hizbullah is "an Iran affiliate in Lebanon".

"The US made a sound decision by tying the aid to the implementation of UN resolutions," he told Al-Mashareq.

"The Lebanese government should cut ties with Hizbullah and delegitimise it," he said. "This would pave the way for reforms, as well as for US and international assistance."

"The Lebanese public, who are paying the price for Hizbullah's actions, would accept sanctions and even starvation if it would help them get rid of the party that is sucking their blood," he said.

The Lebanese people have been subjected to "Hizbullah's control of the country's security, military and strategic decisions", Shia dissident and political analyst Ali al-Amin told Al-Mashareq.

"This makes it impossible to break away from Hizbullah and meet the conditions to receive aid," he said.

"Hizbullah puts Lebanon under the umbrella of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)," he added. "It refuses to relinquish its control because it considers weapons to be the essence of its existence."

"Lebanon today is in a race between the collapse that we are experiencing and a rescue that imposes a complete overhaul and comprehensive change," he said.

The US demanded a government that excludes Hizbullah and will carry out reforms, al-Amin said.

Meanwhile, it is not clear whether the French initiative to rapidly form a government to lift Lebanon out of crisis will be successful, he added, "which means we are entering an unknown zone".

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Greetings to the symbol of resistance, the great hero and mujahid Hassan Nasrallah! To those who want Hizbullah to be disarmed, fine. To al-Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, give them the arms. However, you know how to give them such arms and to use them as fire on the Zionist entity. May God give you victory, o, freemen of this nation!

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America doesn’t care about helping the Lebanese people or government; it only cares about dominating all world countries. It also cares about Block #9. America is pure evil. We don’t want any help from the greatest Satan, i.e. America, or from any other country that is controlled by America. America, leave us alone and just get lost. We know how to live. We don’t want anything from you. You can die out of your anger!

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