Any armed group holding a country hostage on behalf of a foreign state is a traitorous terrorist militia not a resistance and certainly not a legitimate political party as #Hezbollah has always claimed. Its tentacles stretching from #Tehran has rendered #Lebanon a failed state posing a threat to the region.
With diminishing hope the honourable Lebanese would reclaim their country, this sad truth has been acknowledged by #GCC member states with an official declaration branding #Hezbollah a #terrorist_organisation together with “its leaders factions and affiliated organisations” for “hostile acts” in #Syria, #Yemen and #Iraq, inciting sedition, smuggling weapons and recruiting terrorists.
The majority of #Arab states were supportive of the move but it was no surprise to learn that #Syria and #Iraq were disapproving when they, like #Lebanon, are under the Iranian boot. The Tunisian President’s rejection was, however, mystifying as was #Algeria’s distancing stance. Saudi has rightly declared that it will no longer engage in the myth of #Arab solidarity on the grounds it does not exist.
The move comes on the heels of #Saudi_Arabia’s decision to freeze $4bn in military/security aid to the Lebanese government and advice from #GCC governments warning their nationals not to travel to #Lebanon for their own security. At the same time, #Gulf_States are cracking down on known #Hezbollah sympathisers and funders within their borders. These actions could not come soon enough!
Ironically, while #Lebanon’s Minister of Interior #Nohad_El_Machnouk was quick to reject the #GCC’s labelling during a recent #Arab Interior Ministers Conference held in #Tunisia, last month he declared on the Lebanese channel LBC that terrorist cells were trained in #Lebanon under the supervision of #Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
In reality members of those cells were trained by Iranians jointly with #Hezbollah as we know from intelligence gleaned from the group’s spies and agitators arrested in the #UAE and Saudi. To imagine the Interior Minister does not know this is preposterous; either his intelligence gathering capabilities are sorely lacking or more likely he is afraid to say what every Lebanese politician knows.
They are all fearful of being added to #Hezbollah’s list of assassination targets. The #Special_Tribunal for #Lebanon formed to investigate and try the killers of the former Lebanese President #Rafiq_Hariri is still waiting for #Hezbollah to hand over four of its accused members for trial.
El Machnouk also revealed that as of 2015 there were sleeping and active Revolutionary Guard cells in #Saudi_Arabia, United #Arab Emirates, #Kuwait, #Bahrain, #Kenya, Nigeria, #Cyprus and #Bulgaria.
Now that #Hezbollah’s terrorist status is etched in stone, #GCC leaderships would be wise to focus on its collaborators and appeasers within #Lebanon’s political arena. For instance, pro-Syrian Lebanese hopeful #Suleiman_Franjieh has strongly denounced #Hezbollah’s terrorist blacklisting. Moreover, he tweeted “#Hezbollah as a resistance movement makes #Lebanon and the Arabs proud”.
The only proud Arabs are those which share #Iran’s ideology and others which have betrayed their #Arab roots by selling their souls to Persian mullahs. In this case, shouldn’t Franjieh be classed as a terrorist supporter?
And shouldn’t Parliamentary Speaker #Nabih_Berri, who heads the #Amal_Movement allied with #Hezbollah, be treated as a collaborator? Amal’s political bureau rushed to #Hezbollah’s defence with a statement blasting the #GCC announcement and emphasising #Hezbollah’s ‘credentials’ as a resistance movement when the only thing its currently resisting is the dislodging of the barbaric Syrian regime under direct orders from #Tehran. In my view, Amal deserves the same fate as #Hezbollah – a place on the #GCC’s terrorist listing.
Likewise, the #Free_Patriotic_Movement and its founder General #Michel_Aoun, who is #Hezbollah’s pick to fill a presidential vacuum that has endured for almost two years, has strange loyalties. Ten years ago, Aoun, a Maronite, signed a political Memorandum of Understanding with #Iran’s proxy in #Lebanon following 15 years in exile.
At the same he described the new partnership was cemented to build a consensual Lebanese democracy on the basis of transparency, justice and equality knowing that #Hezbollah’s manifesto calls for #Lebanon to become a #Wilayat_al-Faqih – following the Iranian example. He has since blinded his eyes to #Hezbollah’s crimes.
#Druze leader #Walid_Jumblatt, who characterised #Hezbollah as part of an Iranian system in #Lebanon just weeks ago, has also rejected #Hezbollah’s terrorist tagging. Jumblatt is a fierce critic of #Hezbollah’s involvement in #Syria and has warned its Secretary General #Hassan_Nasrallah that his anti-Saudi statements could negatively impact Lebanese expatriates in the Gulf. Yet when push comes to shove, he has declined to back the #GCC’s decision.
The real disappointment is the figurehead of the March 14th bloc and the leader of the Future Party #Saad_Hariri who until recently was considered the #GCC’s most trusted Lebanese politician. We believed he was a lion capable of taking back his homeland. Throughout his self-imposed exile, his anti-Iranian, anti-#Hezbollah rhetoric rarely faltered.
On February 14 marking the anniversary of his father’s death, he told his followers that under no circumstance would #Lebanon become a province of #Iran. His recent behaviour, however, belies that pledge. Just weeks prior he made the shocking announcement that he was prepared to share power with #Hezbollah before throwing his weight behind #Suleiman_Franjieh for President. When asked why he would cooperate with a group deemed responsible for his father’s assassination, he replied he was committed to the principle “innocent until proven guilty”.
Unlike most other politicians, Hariri did admonish #Lebanon for not standing with #Saudi_Arabia in the #Arab League over the torching of the Kingdom’s diplomatic missions in #Iran. Asked why he was now supporting Franjieh for president, he said he is baking a candidate from the March 8th bloc to fill a void.
“For me, better to have a president that I will maybe have some problems with better than a total void in the presidency,” he said. In other words he has gift-wrapped #Lebanon to be awarded to the other side. It is not better to have a president hand-in-glove with #Hezbollah/#Iran/#Syria than no president at all! The question is whether he will continue negotiations with #Hezbollah or withdraw based on its terrorist designation?
If the Lebanese government does not give its green light to the #GCC’s ruling and proceed to issue arrest warrants for its commanders and funders, then it should be classed as a terrorist abetter. I understand that it is not within their power to make arrests but at the very least its position would be clarified. Gulf heads of state and their allies should consider governments and individuals standing against #Hezbollah’s branding as partners within the same terrorist framework.
There is no room for playing both sides or holding to a middle ground. The same demand should be made to the #Lebanese_Army. Either it is against the #terrorist_organisation, in which case it should make a public announcement to that effect or it must declare its alliance with #Hezbollah when the Lebanese military should share the same stamp.
Chief of the Lebanese Armed Forces Brigadier-General #Jean_Kahwaji and his top generals should affirm their allegiance to the state over the militia and for once rise to the task of protecting the country from falling. If not, then we are forced to assume that the suspicions that the military is serving #Hezbollah’s goals are correct, in which case, commanders must be considered as terrorist colluders. Any army proven to be hand-in-glove with servants of a foreign entity deserves to be at the very least dismantled.
It is crunch-time for #Lebanon’s political and military decision-makers who have reached a fork in the road. Are you with us or against us? Do you stand with #Saudi_Arabia and its Gulf allies or with #Hezbollah and #Iran? Those are questions the #GCC should ask and demand answers to before reacting accordingly. Which path #Lebanon takes will decide its destiny not only for the foreseeable future but for generations to come.