Lebanese security forces in Beirut block supporters of Hizbullah and other Shi’ite groups from reaching anti-government protesters in early June. (Anwar Amro/AFP via Getty Images)

The World No Longer Trusts Lebanon

Al-Arab, London, July 17

The Lebanese people look back at their bloody civil war and think of it as a walk in the park compared to the dark ages they are currently experiencing under Hizbullah’s rule. Hizbullah transformed Lebanon into a booby-trapped country that can be detonated on command in case its people refuse to comply with the group’s dictates. The inconvenient truth is that Lebanon has lost the world’s empathy. What a tragic ending for a country that was once a tourism hotspot, a country with unparalleled natural beauty, a country of hard-working, law-abiding citizens who demonstrated nothing but tolerance and respect for each other. Even under the sectarian system and during the many years of heightened sectarian tensions, the Lebanese people managed to lead normal lives and conduct their affairs in insolation from all the political turmoil. They didn’t have to sacrifice their civic rights. To some extent, they felt the possibility of “taming” the sectarian system and preventing it from separating them from the rest of the world. They hoped to transform that system into a distant memory. They hoped to turn sectarianism into diversity and bring an end to the discrimination in their society. But what happened, unfortunately, is that Hizbullah took advantage of the sectarian system and made it a mantle for its malicious operations. It defrauded the Lebanese people in order to divide and conquer them. It resorted to scare tactics and intimidation to ensure a majority in parliament. It created a system of political patronage wherein all those not loyal to the movement are weakened and ousted. Sadly, all of this has been only a prelude to declaring hegemony over the Lebanese state so that even the Christian president of the republic became the candidate of Hizbullah alongside the Sunni prime minister, who was also chosen by Hizbullah. Given Hizbullah’s ultimate loyalty to the Islamic Republic of Iran and its supreme leader, its takeover of Lebanese politics means that Lebanon has become nothing more than a subsidiary of Iran. The Lebanese situation has become confusing to the world in terms of how to look at it and deal with its crisis. Is Lebanon simply a victim of its sectarian system? Or is it a malicious actor implementing Iran’s agenda in the region? Lebanon has lost the flexibility to be a country that embraces its diversity and at the same time has lost its ability to convince the world that it is a democratic country open for global and regional dialogue. This is the primary reason for the world’s indifference to Lebanon’s current political and financial crises. The world no longer trusts Lebanon. Lebanon and Hizbullah have become one and the same. Thus, it can no longer claim to be a victim and beg for the mercy of world powers. Lebanon, the country whose beauty for years managed to conceal the ugliness of Hizbullah, will have to face its ultimate dark fate alone. – Farouk Youssef (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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