[Analysis] After Hizbullah re-entered the Lebanese coalition government, having been granted veto power, the movement is now trying to portray itself in a more nationalistic – and less partisan – manner.
The movement recently decided to reorganize its institutions in a way that would accommodate the changes that followed the 2006 war with Israel, the Lebanese-based daily A-Safir reports.
For that purpose, the movement has established a new department, which will concentrate its efforts on maintaining and improving its relations with governments, parties and organizations in the Arab and Muslim worlds.
Lebanese political analysts suggest this move may signify Hizbullah’s wish to get back on good terms with countries such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which have thus far been backing the anti-Syrian March 14 coalition.
"Hizbullah is trying to open to the world and reveal a different, non-partisan, image. It is trying to show that it represents the whole of Lebanon, not just its voters," Karam Karam of the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies (LCPS) told The Media Line.
Hizullah’s Arab-relations department will be headed by Sheikh Hassan ‘Izz A-Din, a member of the party’s Political Council.
‘Izz A-Din also currently heads the party’s media department, which is in charge of Hizbullah’s powerful public-relations mechanism.
During the early 1980s, ‘Izz A-Din studied religion in one of Iran’s most prestigious Islamic universities, Hawza Qumm. He later gained a degree in political science from the University of Lebanon.
During the war with Israel in 2006, Hizbullah portrayed itself as the defender of the Lebanese people. This image was strengthened in July 2008, when the group completed its second prisoner swap with Israel.
Five Lebanese prisoners, including Samir Quntar, who was never a member of the group, were released from Israeli jails, and were welcomed in Lebanon as national heroes. Hizbullah leader Hasan Na’srallah emerged as a national leader and for a short period of time he managed to unify all Lebanese confessions under the national flag.
This unity, however, was short lived when sectarian violence broke out a few days later in Tripoli.
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