Opinion and Editorial

Iran's games in Lebanon have gone too far

Filed on November 4, 2017 | Last updated on November 4, 2017 at 08.14 pm

Hariri was appointed the prime minister of Lebanon in late 2016 and headed a 30-member cabinet that included Hezbollah.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri did not mince words on Saturday when he announced his resignation, fearing danger to his life from Iran and Hezbollah, a military and political organisation that owes its allegiance to Iranian regime more than it does to the Lebanese. Hezbollah's roots dates back to 1980s when the Revolutionary Guards of Iran trained militants and occupied southern Lebanon. Over the last decade or so, the organisation has flourished and significantly increased its political clout and the size and sophistication of its arsenal. The outfit reportedly has 17 times more rockets than it did a decade ago. Hezbollah exerts influence in Lebanon, and has the ability to strike at will almost anywhere in the country. Arguably, this makes it the most effective and best-armed military force today with the freedom of action that no non-state actor can boast of. Hariri's comments, therefore, don't surprise. After all, he could be correct in sensing danger that Hezbollah (despite being a political ally) might be out to get him.

Hariri was appointed the prime minister of Lebanon in late 2016 and headed a 30-member cabinet that included Hezbollah. The world caricatures Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation. The United States, Britain, France, Canada, the Arab league and the GCC have long condemned it. But that hasn't deterred the terrorist outfit and it has been able to rapidly expand the realm of operations with the backing of Iran, which provides logistic support in addition to $200 million of finance every year. Hezbollah is involved in nearly every fight that matters to Iran and, more significantly, has helped recruit, train and arm a wide range of new militant groups that are also advancing Iran's agenda. GCC leaders are right in pointing that Iran is singularly the most disruptive regime in the Middle East. The umbilical link between Iran and Hezbollah cannot be negated. Hariri's resignation could raise tensions and plunge Lebanon into political chaos, but there is little that can be done until Iranian proxies are weeded out. It's going to be a long-drawn-out struggle.


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