Time Is Running Out for Hezbollah
9:46 AM, Aug 15, 2012 • By LEE SMITH
Last week the Treasury Department leveled sanctions against Hezbollah for providing support to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad in his efforts to put down the 17-month-old rebellion meant to topple his regime. Since Hezbollah has already been designated as a foreign terrorist organization, this latest round of sanctions has little practical effect on the Lebanese militia. The purpose of the action, an American official tells NOW Lebanon’s managing editor Hanin Ghaddar, is in “highlighting the true nature of this organization, willing to assist the brutal crackdown of an illegitimate regime against its people.”
In other words, the sanctions are meant to undermine Hezbollah’s carefully constructed self-image of a resistance organization whose sacred weapons are used only to defend Lebanon from Israel. The reality is otherwise. In addition to using the arms of the resistance to assist Assad in his slaughter, the Shiite militia that now controls the Lebanese government previously turned those arms against its neighbors in May 2008. Hezbollah members stand accused of killing former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005, and the party is also alleged to be responsible for a series of assassinations and attempted assassinations, stretching from at least 2004 to the present day. For instance, last month the head of Hezbollah’s explosives unit was reportedly behind an assassination attempt on Lebanese MP Butros Harb.
The result is that some Lebanese believe that the resistance is a “liability.” As a recent editorial in NOW Lebanon puts it: “There is no place in modern Lebanon for a political party that is stronger than many of the region’s national armies. Lebanon wants to build on its democratic aspirations, create strong state institutions – and that includes the army – and build international relations through the offices of state.”
Even more noteworthy is the editorial’s description of Israel and its perception of Lebanon. This is perhaps one of the clearest and most accurate statements regarding Israeli policy toward an Arab state to ever make its way into the Arab press:
Time is running out for Hezbollah. With its Syrian ally fighting with its back against the wall, the Party of God will eventually pay a price as costly as Assad. “I saw the birth of Hezbollah,” anti-Hezbollah Shiite political activist Lokman Slim told me in the spring. “I will see its end as well.”