Categorized | Lebanon

The Lebanese Color Revolution Is a Defining Moment for the Resistance

By Andrew Korybko

What originally began as an expression of legitimate outrage at the Mideast country’s dysfunctional government and endemic corruption quickly transformed into a Color Revolution aimed at carrying out regime change in Lebanon through the removal of Hezbollah from its government, the threat of which makes this a defining moment for the Resistance because its supporters’ loyalty is being tested to the core.

Lebanon is undoubtedly in the throes of an ongoing Color Revolution that’s already succeeded in securing the resignation of Prime Minister Hariri in response to large-scale protests against the Mideast country’s dysfunctional government and endemic corruption, sparked as they were by a proposed tax on WhatsApp calls that served as the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. The unrest has been condemned by two key members of the Resistance, Ayatollah Khamenei and Hezbollah leader Nasrallah, who warned against the participants becoming useful idiots in the US, “Israel“, and the GCC’s plot against their homeland. The first-mentioned tweeted that “I recommend those who care in #Iraq and #Lebanon remedy the insecurity and turmoil created in their countries by the U.S., the Zionist regime, some western countries, and the money of some reactionary countries. The people have justifiable demands, but they should know their demands can only be fulfilled within the legal structure and framework of their country. When the legal structure is disrupted in a country, no action can be carried out”, while the second urged his supporters to stay away from the scene of the disturbances and emphasized how much the government’s fall could destabilize their fragile country.

Nevertheless, the situation still remains unresolved despite Hariri’s resignation, and ever-louder demands have made within Lebanon and through some Alt-Media outlets that Hezbollah should leave the government in order to resolve the crisis. The Resistance group, which functions as a socio-political and military force, had nothing to do with the trigger event that sparked this explosion of unrest, though the very fact that it’s now increasingly being targeted for removal from its elected positions in the government proves that there are forces that had intended for this to be the outcome all along when they encouraged the unfolding of events there. It shouldn’t be forgotten that US Secretary of State Pompeo ominously hinted at an ultimatum being made to Lebanon during his visit there in March when he thundered that “Lebanon faces a choice; bravely move forward as an independent and proud nation or allow the dark ambitions of Iran and Hezbollah to dictate your future”, which strongly suggests that the US at the very least tacitly has a hand in guiding developments to that aforementioned end. What’s so disturbing about the latest narrative twist is that it appears to have the support of a critical mass of protesters, including those who have outwardly supported Hezbollah prior to this moment but evidently harbored deep feelings of antipathy towards it that are only now being publicly expressed through this “anti-corruption” “populist” pretext.

It’s impossible to accurately generalize every one of these supposed Resistance supporters feels this way, though sharing some plausible explanations could nevertheless still help to make sense of this previously unexpected trend. Hezbollah’s military might is appreciated by most patriotic Lebanese after it liberated their country from “Israeli” occupation in 2000 and prevented a second such occupation in 2006, though some look suspiciously upon its social activities because they wrongly interpret them through a sectarian lense. In addition, the group’s involvement in fighting terrorism in Syria side-by-side with the IRGC reinforced the weaponzied fake news perception among some that Hezbollah is just an “Iranian proxy”. These growing doubts about the group’s long-term strategic intentions might not have been able to be publicly expressed in such a direct way without risk of receiving accusations that the person voicing such views is unpatriotic, hence why they may have hitherto been outwardly supportive of Hezbollah despite internally cultivating hatred towards the organization and waiting for the “opportune” moment to express it in a way that couldn’t be as easily framed as part of a self-serving sectarian agenda on their part. That chance arrived when the proposed WhatsApp tax served as the catalyst for large-scale protests against the government as a whole, during which time it became “acceptable” among some to attack Hezbollah for its supposedly “corrupt” alliance with certain political forces.

It should be said at this point that Hezbollah is a responsible stakeholder in Lebanon’s stability and therefore understands the need to make tactical decisions in pursuit of the larger strategic end of preventing external forces from driving wedges between the country’s cosmopolitan socio-religious groups, hence why it’s entered into the certain political partnerships that it’s had out of its interest in working within the legal system to carry out responsible reforms to the best of its ability. These noble intentions have been deliberately misportrayed by those who have wanted to remove Hezbollah from the government for some time already as part of their never-ending campaign to delegitimize it, after which they believe that it’ll become more susceptible to the joint US-“Israeli”-GCC Hybrid War against it. A similar modus operandi is being pursued in nearby Iraq, where Resistance forces also hold considerable sway within the government but are plagued by the same accusations of allying themselves with corrupt figures, which is being used by agenda-driven forces to misportray them as “guilty by association” despite the reason for these tactical partnerships being the same as Hezbollah’s. Even worse, the similar events in both countries are being described by Mainstream Media as a “new Arab Spring“.

There’s no question at this point that legitimate anti-corruption protests have been hijacked for regime change ends aimed at removing Resistance forces from power in those countries, especially since both the Ayatollah and Nasrallah touched upon this in their recent statements on this topic, though there are still those who outwardly profess to support the Resistance’s broader mission but refuse to stop participating in the unrest there. This represents a true moment of reckoning for the Resistance that will ultimately separate its true supporters who have faith in this movement’s leaders from the opportunistically fraudulent ones who betrayed the cause as soon as they “conveniently” saw the “publicly plausible pretext” to do so. It doesn’t help any either that many Alt-Media outlets that used to have Resistance-friendly editorial lines are portraying the protests in a positive light despite the Iranian and Hezbollah leaders warning against the credible risk that they could spiral out of control and end up advancing the strategic goals of the Resistance’s enemies, which further confuses the audience at large who can’t countenance how or why this is happening, preferring instead to put their faith in those media forces instead of the leaders whose movement they had previously professed to support. As the situation remains unresolved, it’s anyone’s guess what will happen next, but it certainly doesn’t look good.

How did Jeffrey Feltman read the Lebanese developments?

By: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

The Brookings Institution published a study by former US Ambassador to Lebanon Jeffrey Feltman on the protests in Lebanon, saying that “the protests in Lebanon showed that what was not possible in the past may now be possible.”

“These trends are promising, although they are emerging and fragile, and are largely in line with American interests,” he said.

The study states that:

“Protests in Lebanon have shown that what was previously unthinkable may now be possible. After years of solidarity, Iran’s and Syrian proxies in Lebanon are showing initial signs of divergence. With Shiite demonstrators even taking to the streets and not following the calls of Hizbullah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah to disperse, some cracks appear on Hizbullah’s invincible façade. The Lebanese army and security forces responded with courage, restraint and independence in defiance of Hizbullah leaders’ appeals and appeals. Special Republican Palace to clear the roads. By contrast, with unprecedented public criticism of Hizbullah, popular support for the Lebanese army is growing.

These trends are promising, though emerging and fragile, and largely in line with US interests, but instead of reinforcing them, the White House, in a timely decision at all inappropriately, suspended US $ 105 million in security assistance to the same institutions that defied Hezbollah’s demands. To end demonstrations. The move by the Trump administration to both Damascus and Tehran gives the gift of delivering a unified message to the Lebanese about the unreliability of the United States as a partner.

The move also undermines the argument that the Lebanese army, which has improved capabilities thanks primarily to US support, provides better and more professional security than Hezbollah rockets, which only lead to risks rather than real protection. (Those who say that the Lebanese army is merely a cover for Hezbollah or an aide to Hezbollah underestimate the growing discomfort of army officers, who know to what extent the military’s capabilities have grown thanks to the United States, with Hezbollah’s arrogance and permanent underestimation of the army, and threatening the pride of the Lebanese army. Its capabilities, all linked to years of American support, are from the “narrative” of Hezbollah resistance.)

For years, Iranian and Syrian interests and tactics in Lebanon have generally met. It aims to discredit and divide the so-called “March 14” movement that emerged against Damascus and Tehran after the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, and to “resist” US and French efforts to strengthen Lebanese sovereignty and independence and to exploit Lebanon to threaten Israel.

In the meantime, Hizballah has expanded and sometimes dominated its influence in local Lebanese institutions through its 2006 memorandum of understanding with the Free Patriotic Movement, a Christian party. The Free Patriotic Movement gave Hezbollah, a Shiite terrorist group backed by Iran, the character of transnational national political legitimacy that it had previously lacked. Hezbollah responded by supporting the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) founder Michel Aoun to the presidency three years ago, and since 2006, Aoun and his brother-in-law, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, have been credible fronts for Hezbollah’s interests and thus Iran’s interests in Lebanon. Until recently, Aoun and Basil probably saw no contradiction between their alliance with Hezbollah / Iran and Damascus’ interests in Lebanon.

The current demonstrations have the potential to destabilize the foundations of Iranian-Syrian synergies in Lebanon and the relationship between Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement, and Nasrallah has resorted to hints and motorcyclists in unsuccessful attempts to undermine the demonstrations and prevent the resignation of Saad Hariri’s government. In contrast, some of Syria’s traditional allies in Lebanon, including Suleiman Franjieh, Bashar al-Assad’s childhood friend, remained silent or even sent relatives to join the protests. Jamil al-Sayyed, a well-known former director of public security and one of Syria’s policy enforcers during its control of Lebanon before 2005, issued statements sympathetic to the protesters’ anti-corruption and / or institutional demands.

Moreover, Lebanese political activists saw an indication in the absence of a bilateral meeting between Aoun or Basil with the Syrian delegation on the sidelines of this year’s UN General Assembly. Another example of how Damascus is thought to see Aoun and Basil is reported, as no senior Syrian official attended Aoun’s speech at the UN General Assembly. The value of the Christian character of Hizbullah’s Free Patriotic Movement has plummeted, and Basil is now a preferred target for demonstrators as a symbol of all the ills of Lebanon.

Perhaps Iran and Syria are beginning to look at each other with suspicion in Lebanon. This will not be the first time that external actors have used Lebanon as a venue for competition. Two Lebanese politicians have put forward a theory about what is happening in Syria’s Alawite regions, where Bashar al-Assad may see Iranian influence and Shiite calls as a threat to his secular Alawite base.

Assad, who would have regarded Hezbollah as a small partner in the Syrian occupation of Lebanon before 2005, may also resent the current strength and presence of Hezbollah in Syria. Who is now a small partner? How much control does Assad have over Hezbollah in Syria? Given that Assad still needs the help of Iran and Hezbollah in Syria, he can use Lebanon to send a message, according to this theory.

It is now conceivable that if Michel Aoun’s declining health leads to a presidential vacuum now, any Syrian-Iranian divergence will emerge more clearly, with Hezbollah (and Iran) supporting Basil and Syria’s desire to regain its sovereignty in Lebanon through someone like Franjieh. The supposed nomination of Lebanese army chief Joseph Aoun, with his increasing credibility of independence, will be more in line with the desire of the street. But the Lebanese president is elected by parliament, not by the people. As the current Lebanese parliament reflects the very institution that the protesters want to overthrow, one hopes that MPs will reflect on the demonstrators’ views if they are to choose between Damascus, Tehran or their Lebanese voters.

Despite the greatness of the current demonstrations, it is difficult to be positive when leaders do not emerge with cross-sectarian credibility to constructively direct road energy. The economic and financial situation increases the burden. However, the potential for positive change was never forthcoming a few weeks ago. We should not make it easier for pro-Syrian and Iranian forces to overcome any differences and ultimately win over the protests. ”

Jumblatt: I made the decision to formally join the popular movement

Progressive Socialist Party Chairman Walid Jumblatt announced on Tuesday the decision to formally join the popular movement in Lebanon.

Jumblatt added: “If we lose hope in the state, we will enter into chaos.”

Jumblatt’s remarks came after the announcement of the death of Alaa Abu Fakhr, the secretary of the Choueifat Interior Agency in the Progressive Socialist Party, after he was shot under Khalda Bridge.

He said: “There is no refuge for us despite what happened tonight except the state,” adding: “I contacted the army chief and chief of staff and will be investigating the incident.”

President Assad comments on the demonstrations in Lebanon and Iraq

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview with the channel “Russia 24” and “Russia Sigodnia Agency,” that the demonstrations in neighboring countries, do not resemble what happened in Syria.

Asked if the demonstrations in Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan last month were reminiscent of the beginning of events in Syria, Assad said: “What happened in Syria was that at the beginning there was money being paid to groups of people to march. A fraction of the people who came out with the demonstrations because it has goals in changing what the general situation is. ”

He continued: “The shooting and killing started from the first days of the demonstrations, which means it was not spontaneous, as the money was there and the weapon was prepared, and therefore can not be compared between what happened in Syria and the situation of other countries.”

He added: “If the demonstrations that took place in neighboring countries are spontaneous and sincere and express a national desire to improve the political, economic and other conditions in the country, they must remain national, because other countries that interfere in everything in the world such as America and the West, especially Britain and France, do not. This situation must be used to play a role and take things in a way that serves its interests. ”

Assad stressed that “the most important things to remain in the national framework because they will have positive results and because they reflect the people, but when the foreign factor enters, it will be against the interest of the country and this is what we tried in Syria.”

Comments are closed.

Shoah’s pages


November 2019
« Oct   Dec »