On July 31 this year, a member of the Arab Al-Maslakh tribe shot a Hezbollah official dead at a wedding party in southern Beirut. This was a revenge as last year the murdered Hezbollah official had killed the tribesman’s teenage brother. Such acts of revenge are common among the tribes, but there was more to it than that. At the Hezbollah official’s funeral, the following day, with a convoy of vehicles carrying Hezbollah flags, armed members of the group went to remove a poster of the boy who was killed last year. They were met by gunfire from a nearby building, and five people were killed, three of them Hezbollah members.
This is just a minor sign of the larger picture, where it is evidently proves the growing Lebanese discontent with notorious Hezbollah. This is not just limited within the tribal group. Gradually Lebanese are realizing, Hezbollah is responsible for the country’s continuous agonies, economic crisis, unemployment and growing poverty rate. According to analysts, such discontent and confrontation with Hezbollah will continue to grow further.
The attack on Hezbollah’s funeral convoys was not a reason of mere removal of the poster of the child who was brutally murdered by the Hezbollah leader. It definitely was a message to Hezbollah: “How dare you, with all your arrogance, come armed and parade through our neighborhood”. Hezbollah terrorists did not respond to the convoy attack fearing it would open a Pandora’s box, risking confrontation with the Arab tribes that could spread across Lebanon. These attacks on Hezbollah clearly proved, this notorious terrorist outfit is not as invincible as it once seemed, and it is also proved, Hezbollah’s notoriety can be responded in befitting manner.
Subsequently, in Lebanon, anti-Hezbollah posters were seen in a number of places on August 4, 2021. This was an exposition of renegade of the Lebanese people against Hezbollah’s obstruction of justice by exerting influence through the political elites. Lebanese people are pointing fingers at Hezbollah for illegally bringing tons of ammonium nitrate into Beirut port, which would be used for terrorist agendas.
According to Dr. Dania Koleilat Khatib, a specialist in US-Arab relations: “The general discourse is that Hezbollah stored the explosives in Beirut before transferring them to Syria for Bashar Assad to use in barrel bombs. Former army chief Jean Kahwaji was summoned for questioning, and his lawyer said Hezbollah was responsible for bringing in the ammonium nitrate — only for his client to dismiss the claim. Hezbollah is in an embarrassing position, all eyes are upon it, and at the same time people no longer fear it. In his desperation, leader Hassan Nasrallah belittled the August 4 protests and suggested that the blast investigation was being funded by Saudi Arabia.
“The group faces a situation similar to that in 2005, when fingers were pointed at Hezbollah over the assassination of Rafik Hariri. The confrontation with Israel a year later, and Hezbollah’s “heroic” resistance against the Israeli army, restored its tarnished image and made it immune from attack.
The 2006 confrontation also gave Hezbollah an additional source of income. Parliament passed a law decreeing that goods entering Al-Dahiya, Hezbollah’s stronghold of south Beirut, are not subject to customs. The aim was to reduce the cost of reconstruction of the areas destroyed by Israel, but Hezbollah has used the law to import all sorts of goods without paying any taxes”.
But now, a 2006-style confrontation with Israel is a mission impossible. The homes in Beirut, the mountains and the north that received Hezbollah supporters will no longer welcome them. The southern front is heating up as Israel responds to missiles launched by the Palestinians factions inside Hezbollah. It may be mentioned here that, recently Palestinian mega-terror outfit Hamas has publicly pronounced its alliances with Iran and its proxies including Hezbollah and Houthis with the nefarious agenda of implementing Iranian regime’s agenda in the Middle East and beyond.
According to analysts, now Hezbollah cannot confront opponents as it did in 2008. At that time, faced with moves by Walid Jumblatt and Saad Hariri that would have uncovered its communications network, it took over Beirut by arms and forced the Doha agreement, which gave Hezbollah the upper hand in the government. Today, Hezbollah’s only face-saving exit is to resort to the state. That is also the solution that prevents a violent internal confrontation in Lebanon.
Currently Hezbollah has already positioned itself as a threat to the Lebanese masses, especially the tribal groups. If Hezbollah will risk itself by engaging into confrontation with the tribes, it would ultimately get extended further, where Hezbollah may ultimately become a common target of the majority of the Lebanese people.
Hezbollah can no longer intimidate people. Its shows of power do not work, and are backfiring. Currently it has too many enemies inside Lebanon and its differences with allies such as parliament Speaker Nabih Berri are increasing.
Meanwhile, in Lebanon, there are number of groups that also are equipped with weapons, and if Hezbollah begins targeting those groups, it would ultimately result in another civil war, which would result in demise of Hezbollah.
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