On the Lebanese election results and Hezbollah’s options
Both old and new Lebanon overthrew Hezbollah and its allies, especially the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM). The old and the new Lebanon charged the party, together, simultaneously, and overthrew it in the last elections.
The former Lebanon, the Lebanon of religious sects, which no longer supports the duplication of arms, removed the FPM from its position of high representative of the country’s Christians, halving this prerogative between them and the Lebanese Forces (FL); he also elected warmongering Sunnis despite Saad Hariri’s position and protected Walid Joumblat’s leadership over the Druze. This change deprived Hezbollah of most of its allies who weigh among their sects, leaving the party confined to its own sect. This change has also deprived Hezbollah of some of the party’s most prominent satellite deputies from different sects, who are also among the most important satellites of the Syrian security regime.
The new Lebanon, youth of the “civil society” resulting from the revolution of October 17 and anxious to repel looting and corruption, has shown unequivocally that it is aware of the interdependence between the regime and its armed protector. Gathered around their opposition to both sides of this bond, they succeeded, for the first time in the history of Lebanon, in obtaining a considerable number of deputies who could develop new meanings for politics and open unknown paths.
These are the same young people who had been repressed by Hezbollah after challenging the regime of plunder and corruption in 2019. Since then, journalists and Hezbollah talking heads have smeared them and accused them of treason.
For them and for the new Lebanon they symbolize, the resistance seems like a miserable relic of the past, an old outdated concept, even if it is politically besieged by the rest of the old guard.
Indeed, time and again we see new parallels between the states of affairs in Lebanon and Iraq: old Iraq, the Iraq of sects and ethnicities, pushes back Iranian influence through the Sunni and Kurdish blocs . Meanwhile, the Iraq of youth is waging a struggle against Iranian influence and proxies through the civic revolution that modernist, secular Shiites launched three years ago.
Nevertheless, we must not get carried away thinking that Hezbollah will “understand” the fact that the majority of the Lebanese do not support its weapons and its regime. We must not fall into a kind of “parliamentary naivety” and assume that the party will respect the decisions and legislation of the new parliament. The nature of this party should make us very skeptical about its acquiescence to the “will of the people” expressed in the legislative elections.
Certainly, senior Hezbollah officials, including its secretary general and deputy, have repeatedly stressed the importance of these elections and the need to recognize their results. These assertions were obviously reiterated to be used in the event of a victory. The opposite has been asserted on other occasions to be used in the event of a party defeat, which has happened. In this latest version, those who won are conspirators; behind them are embassies, foreign non-governmental organizations and colossal sums. These are “the shields of Israel”; they seek to normalize relations with her and are “fodder for civil war”. Of course, we can’t hand over the country to these guys.
Hezbollah’s penchant for the militarization of political life, especially elections, has always been evident. In the absence of a democratic toolkit and discourse, Hezbollah pushes a discourse-laden narrative of supremacy and subjugation, martyrdom and martyrdom, and the blind worship of its leader.
More dangerous are the warnings in Hassan Nasrallah’s fiery speeches ahead of the elections, particularly his insistence on oil exploration on Lebanon’s southern coast. It is more dangerous because the Lebanese, as the Secretary-General said, have a “treasure” which they dare not use for fear of Israel and the United States. As for the resistance, it is quite ready to protect such a courageous step.
This narrative could translate into military action aimed at gathering popular support at all times: it promises the Lebanese, who are drowning in poverty and hunger, a “treasure” that would leave their lives overflowing with prosperity after having overflowed with misery.
The party betting on some sort of military adventure driven by the need for gas exploration is no exaggeration. This would divert attention from the latest results of the legislative elections. Indeed, it would be a sort of rendition of the July 2006 war, which Israel launched because the party kidnapped two of its soldiers in an effort to deflate the pro-independence agenda imposed by the 2005 assassinations.
This outcome could go hand in hand with the political – and perhaps security – tensions that will be part of every major parliamentary vote: from the appointment of the president and prime minister to the formation of a government and the election of a new president. Tensions would become even more acute if the party’s opponents, old and new, were to establish some kind of front in which they come together and coordinate.
Thus, it would not be shocking to see the party, once again, lean towards punishing the rest of the Lebanese for their vote, punishing them in the name of protecting them or defending their prosperity. And we know from many previous experiences how vast the repository of lofty party goals is. Used to cover their despicable actions, this deposit is worth no more than the bank deposits seized by the Lebanese.