Iran’s incitement of tension in Lebanon

Radwan al-Sayed
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After Iran’s supreme leader finally slammed the United States and said he would not negotiate, asserting that he had guaranteed the US would lose everywhere, Nasrallah on cue resumed his diatribe against Saudi Arabia and even brazenly received a Houthi delegation, as reported by Hezbollah’s media.

Observers now know the tactic, which Iran will resort to in the conflict with the United States. It is now pushing its proxies to create tensions everywhere, especially in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

In Iraq, Iran’s proxies have showed hostility towards Abadi, Sadr and Hakim and they’re pushing towards a government formed by the Maliki and Amiri blocs, although they know that there are thousands of American soldiers in Iraq and that they cannot do whatever they want.

They are even aware that if their favored alliance ends up forming the government, the Americans may withdraw, chaos may ensue, and ISIS may even return. However, they do not care about this as what they care about is showing that they’re capable of upsetting the Americans.

In Lebanon, Nasrallah is trying to provoke Arabs and Lebanese political parties, particularly the prime minister. His intention is to show he has control over Lebanon and that he can exercise it in any way Iran wants

Radwan al-Sayed

Nasrallah’s bluster

Under pressure from Israel and Russia, the Iranians withdrew to a base, which is 138 km away from the borders of the Zionist entity. The Russians have promised they will force them to leave Syria in time, but the Iranians still say that they’re solidifying their presence there, especially on the Iraqi borders and in the areas close to Idlib, beyond Homs and Aleppo. They are competing with the Turks to win the Russians’ support. The Iranians are doing so to launch an assault on Idlib, while the Turks’ purpose is the opposite.

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Putin is making both of his two allies wait to see if it is possible to strike a deal with the Europeans and Americans and take something in exchange of returning the refugees from Lebanon and Jordan. If he can strike a deal, he is prepared to stop the Iranians and their ally (Bashar al Assad) from causing another conflict. Yet, if the Europeans do not pay up, he may be willing to push his air fleet into combat, and this is something which the Europeans and Turks fear.

In Lebanon, Nasrallah is trying to provoke Arabs and Lebanese political parties, particularly the prime minister. His intention is to show he has control over Lebanon and that he can exercise it in any way Iran wants, although he knows that any action may result in a war with Israel and that the paralysis of the Lebanese administration and its failure to form a government would mean economic collapse and further siege as part of besieging his party. This would mean that the country can’t be used as a supply line of the Shiite crescent. However, as mentioned before, the higher goal now is to vex the United States and Saudi Arabia at any cost.

In Gaza, Hezbollah tried to push Hamas to wage war against Israel but Hamas is now seeking to make peace with Israel through Egyptian mediation and an arbitrator from the United Nations. So will Iran succeed in pushing Hamas back to war? This is what will be revealed in coming weeks.

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In Lebanon, there is a view that Iran’s control over the country is even stronger than that over Iraq. In Iraq, there are opponents of Iran, while there are no real adversaries of Iran in Lebanon. All the different parties say that Hezbollah does not use “its weapons at home”, which is not true.

Hezbollah controls the airport, the port and many other official institutions, and it controls the decisions of the army. It laughs in the face of those who remind it of the dissociation policy saying: “There will be no dissociation from Assad and the Houthis whatever be the costs, even if the cost is war.” It claims “the resistance” is stronger than all the armies of the Arab countries and stronger than that of Israel. This implies, of course, that it is stronger than the Lebanese army. No political party responded to his speech, and only few Arab officials mentioned the dissociation policy.

Lebanon’s agony

Will Hezbollah proceed and use its weapons in the south? The Americans are complaining that the party has returned south of the Litani River with its weapons, which is a violation of UN Resolution 1701. Renewing the international forces’ mandate is due in September, and the president has declared that the process will go on without any troubles.

Nasrallah's speech about launching wars everywhere coincided with the president’s decision to regulate the fees of private power generators on the first of October. There are power cuts across the country for several hours a day so residents subscribe to get power from private power generators.

This problem and others are the concern of officials. No one cares about the dominance of Hezbollah, or how Lebanon has been sucked into the Iranian axis. Now Gebran Bassil, Nasrallah and others want to forcefully normalize relations with Syria that despite its hardships has been selling electricity to Lebanon. Meanwhile Lebanese state institutions are incapable of modernizing and reforming the electricity sector and insist on the continuity of corruption in it! There is no might nor power except in Allah!

This article is also available in Arabic.


Radwan al Sayed is a Lebanese thinker and writer who attained a bachelor degree from the Faculty of Theology at al-Azhar University and a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Tübingen in Germany. He has been a scholar of Islamic studies for decades and is the former editor-in-chief of the quarterly al-Ijtihad magazine. Radwan is also the author of many books and has written for Arab dailies such as al-Ittihad, al-Hayat and ash-Sharq al-Awsat.

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