Hizballah Is Gaining Support from Christians, Sunnis, and Druze

Aug. 14 2019

Created by Iran in the 1980s as a Shiite fundamentalist militia, Hizballah has in the past decade strengthened its popularity with other Lebanese religious groups. To this end, it has recruited a significant number of Sunni fighters and formed an alliance with the Christian Free Patriotic Movement (FPM). Michal Kranz explains:

As Hizballah has set its sights on cross-sectarian, national-level power as a political party as well as a militant group, support from non-Shiite communities has become an ever more important part of its calculus. It has been able to capitalize on feelings of popular discontent among all of Lebanon’s sects and today enjoys more influence among Christians, Sunnis, and Druze than ever before. . .

[After] the May 2018 parliamentary elections, Hizballah was able to increase significantly its influence among non-Shiite sects in parliament. Not only did the elections that year see Hizballah’s bloc gain seats, but the FPM, still its ally, became the most powerful Lebanese Christian party. In addition, a group of six pro-Hizballah Sunni deputies were elected to parliament, and the traditionally dominant anti-Hizballah Sunni party, the Future Movement led by Prime Minister Saad Hariri, lost a third of its seats. . . .

Hizballah’s outreach to Sunnis may still have a way to go, but . . . Lebanese Christians have embraced and accepted Hizballah to a much greater degree. With FPM founder Michel Aoun’s ascension to the presidency in 2016 and the party’s large gains in 2018, Hizballah’s outreach to the Christian community has yielded real political dividends. . . . Since 2018, Hizballah’s primary Druze ally, the Lebanese Democratic party led by Talal Arslan, has [likewise] been steadily asserting itself in the Druze community, which remains dominated politically by the anti-Hizballah Progressive Socialist party.

Both the cause and the effect of these developments is a situation where Hizballah is not simply a powerful terrorist militia operating within Lebanon but the country’s main source of both power and authority.

Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Druze, Hizballah, Lebanon, Middle East Christianity, Sunnis


Israel’s Covert War on Iran’s Nuclear Program Is Impressive. But Is It Successful?

Sept. 26 2023

The Mossad’s heist of a vast Iranian nuclear archive in 2018 provided abundant evidence that Tehran was not adhering to its commitments; it also provided an enormous amount of actionable intelligence. Two years later, Israel responded to international inspectors’ condemnation of the Islamic Republic’s violations by using this intelligence to launch a spectacular campaign of sabotage—a campaign that is the subject of Target Tehran, by Yonah Jeremy Bob and Ilan Evyatar. David Adesnik writes:

The question that remains open at the conclusion of Target Tehran is whether the Mossad’s tactical wizardry adds up to strategic success in the shadow war with Iran. The authors give a very respectful hearing to skeptics—such as the former Mossad director Tamir Pardo—who believe the country should have embraced the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Bob and Evyatar reject that position, arguing that covert action has proven itself the best way to slow down the nuclear program. They acknowledge, however, that the clerical regime remains fully determined to reach the nuclear threshold. “The Mossad’s secret war, in other words, is not over. Indeed, it may never end,” they write.

Which brings us back to Joe Biden. The clerical regime was headed over a financial cliff when Biden took office, thanks to the reimposition of sanctions after Washington withdrew from the nuclear deal. The billions flowing into Iran on Biden’s watch have made it that much easier for the regime to rebuild whatever Mossad destroys in addition to weathering nationwide protests on behalf of women, life, and freedom. Until Washington and Jerusalem get on the same page—and stay there—Tehran’s nuclear ambitions will remain an affordable luxury for a dictatorship at war with its citizens.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, Mossad, U.S. Foreign policy