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Hizbullah On Track To Govern Lebanon

Al-Hayat, London, August 22

Last week, Hizbullah officials, led by the organization’s Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah, held a formal reception for a delegation of Yemen’s Houthi leadership in Beirut. The event took place at the Dahieh, Hizbullah’s stronghold located in the southern outskirts of the capital, just a few miles away from the official seat of the Lebanese government. This level of defiance of Lebanon’s autonomy is unprecedented. Hizbullah has already dragged Lebanon into the Syrian civil war by sending Lebanese men and women to fight alongside Assad’s forces. It also deployed troops to Yemen in order to train Houthi militias to fight against Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Yet the ceremony held for the Houthi delegation marks an even higher level of shame, as Hizbullah succeeded in manipulating key forces in order to promote its agenda. It has been operating as a state within a state, slowly buying off its political opponents in order to take over the country. Indeed, one of Hizbullah’s key allies is the Lebanese foreign minister, who acquiesced to the movement’s demand to normalize ties with the Assad regime and assist in the reconstruction of Syria. It remains unclear how this move serves the interests of the Lebanese people and how the minister could begin to justify his subordination to a terrorist regime. But Hizbullah’s pressure seems to have worked and Lebanon is now on a trajectory to formally become a Hizbullah-run nation that partners with a Syrian government that undermined its borders; launched an unparalleled wave of refugees into its territory; and disrupted its economy. If this does not suffice to send the Lebanese economy into a downfall, then the American sanctions that will come in reaction certainly will. Hizbullah is taking over every last good piece of Lebanon and it is only a matter of time until it ceases to do so covertly and begins doing so blatantly. –Randa Takya al-Din

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