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Will Hariri’s next cabinet include Hezbollah members?

Mashari Althaydi

Published: Updated:

I’ve previously written an article here about Hezbollah that sips at the heart of the Lebanese state. Today, Hezbollah is a blacklisted terrorist group. What can be concluded from this recent Saudi-Emirati-American stance is that there’s no difference this group’s militant wing and its politicians and merchants. It’s on this basis that those funding Hezbollah are being pursued, according to the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center.

The members of this anti-terror financing center are: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, the UAE as well as the US. The American Treasury had categorized Hezbollah leaders as terrorists and imposed financial and banking sanctions against them. They include Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah, his deputy Naim Qassem, Mohammed Yazbeck, Hussein Khalil, Ibrahim Amin al-Sayyid and of course Hezbollah military leader Talal Hamieh, among others.

According to a Saudi statement, these leaders were listed in accordance “with the system of combating terror crimes and funding of terror in Saudi Arabia, and is in line with UN Resolution 1373 (2001) that targets terrorists and those who provide support to terrorists or to terror practices.”

Hezbollah’s reality

The joint Gulf-American stance thus deemed the Lebanese Hezbollah Party as a global terror group. The statement rejected the wrong differentiation between the so-called “political wing of Hezbollah” and the group’s terror and military activities.

Hezbollah’s reality on the Lebanese political scene is different, as it won the Shiite parliamentary seats in the recent elections along with its Shiite partner, the Amal Movement. Hezbollah’s supporters and youths took to Beirut’s streets to celebrate the victory of seven other MPs and tarnished Rafiq Hariri’s statue.

Speaking of Saad, who is the current prime minister, will he be the next prime minister? How will he include ministers from a party which is pursued on the political and security levels and on whom financial sanctions are imposed? In other words, how will his new government include ministers from a group that’s considered a “terrorist organization” by the US, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other countries?

How will Hariri convince Washington and Riyadh of this? Or will he sacrifice the premiership and sit in the opposition camp and throw the burden of forming the government onto another Sunni figure?

Some Lebanese politicians and banking figures, mainly the governor of the Central Bank Riad Salameh, tried to make Lebanon a state not responsible for Hezbollah which is “organically” linked to the Iranian regime. However Hezbollah’s leaders are Lebanese citizens and are rather the state’s actual rulers, so how will this even work?

The picture gets clearer as the moment of truth nears. The trick of differentiating between the Lebanese-Iranian organization’s political and military wings – which was previously a European ruse – has lost its effectiveness.

Lebanon’s wise and rational men – who are many – and those who reject the dominance of the Khomeini party – and who are also many – must translate this into a tangible reality even if the path to do so is the path of pain.


This article is also available in Arabic.

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Saudi journalist Mashari Althaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Althaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists. He tweets under @MAlthaydy

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.