Hizballah’s Influence Now Pervades Every Aspect of the Lebanese Government

July 18 2019

Following the most recent Lebanese elections, the Iran-backed terrorist group Hizballah was able to join a coalition of parties that together controls 74 of the parliament’s 128 seats, and nineteen of 30 cabinet positions. At the same time, the organization has entrenched its allies and clients in the state bureaucracy, the military, and the internal security forces. Jonathan Spyer explains the consequences:

Hizballah is the senior partner [in the coalition] because it can bring to the table assets that [other members] don’t have, and against which they have no answer—namely, the financial and military sponsorship of Iran and specifically of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. . . . The Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) on paper are larger than Hizballah and possess an air and naval capacity. In practice, however, Hizballah is a more cohesive and united force than the LAF, which is riven by sectarian divisions.

[But] the issue of note is the evidence of cooperation between the two forces, and penetration by Hizballah of the LAF. . . . The unwillingness of Hizballah to grant the defense ministry to its rivals demonstrates the importance the organization attaches both to controlling the official military from above while also matching it for strength and penetrating it. This has largely been achieved. . . .

The formal bodies and instruments of state—armed forces, internal security organizations, legislative and executive bodies, etc.—continue to exist. But a reality has emerged in which none of these can conceivably be mustered against the wishes of Hizballah, because Hizballah has inserted itself into these bodies themselves, and/or into the structures that command them—usually a combination of both. This has led to a situation in which Hizballah, which long constituted a kind of shadow quasi-state alongside the official state, has now effectively swallowed up the official state, and its will now constitutes the final authority, against which there is no appeal, in Lebanon.

The result is that it is impossible today in key areas of Lebanese life to determine exactly where the official state begins and Hizballah’s shadow state ends. The latter has penetrated and taken up residence in the former. . . . These today serve both as a protective camouflage for Hizballah and as the organs responsible for carrying out those secondary functions in which Hizballah and its patrons have no interest, and which do not affect the fundamental question of power.

Welcome to Mosaic

Register now to get two more stories free

Register Now

Already a subscriber? Sign in now

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Lebanon

The Palestinian Authority Deliberately Provoked Sunday’s Jerusalem Riots

Aug. 16 2019

On Sunday, Tisha b’Av—the traditional day of mourning for the destruction of the two Jerusalem Temples—coincided with the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. While the Israeli government had initially banned Jews from the Temple Mount on that day, it later reversed its decision and allowed a few dozen to visit. Muslim worshippers greeted them by throwing chairs and stones, and police had to quell the riot by force. Just yesterday, an Israeli policeman was stabbed nearby. Maurice Hirsch and Itamar Marcus place the blame for Sunday’s violence squarely on the shoulders of the Palestinian Authority:

Sign up to read more

You've read all your free articles for this month


Sign up now for unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at Palestinian Media Watch

More about: Palestinian Authority, Temple Mount, Tisha b'Av