Fools are they that assume that the locusts now afflicting Lebanon are a new or bizarre occurrence – Hezbollah have been a problem for much longer than that. The locusts come in swarms and consume the fruit of the land, leaving the people to die of hunger as they block out the hope that is in the light of the sun. The damage is generational, the scars permanent, and there’s little to do about it – so too with Hezbollah. 

What is Hezbollah? Some call it an Islamic Resistance, but who do they resist? Syria, Iraq, and Yemen – are they fighting Zionists in those lands? The tragedy of the 7th of May, when Hezbollah entered Beirut in arms – were there Zionists in the streets of Beirut? The martyrs of the pen; leaders, journalists, and statesmen, those who had Lebanon on their hearts and minds, were they too working for the Mossad?

Sec. General Hasan Nasrallah himself says it loud and clear, “We are open about the fact that Hezbollah’s budget, its income, its expenses, everything it eats and drinks, its weapons and rockets, come from the Islamic Republic of Iran”. Hezbollah is not a Lebanese political party, militia, or resistance. Hezbollah represents Iran’s neo-imperialist ambitions and serves at the pleasure of Tehran and in their interest. Hezbollah has never acted against the wishes of its Iranian overlords, and it never will, because it is a subjugating tool in the hands of the Iranian Supreme Leader.

The true and ultimate goal of Hezbollah in Lebanon is simple: to distort Lebanon’s culture and identity, eventually bringing it under the suzerainty of the Islamic Republic. This is achieved through destroying the economy, the nation’s morale, and through forcing it into unnecessary and costly wars; after all, one must first clear away the rubble before building something new. 

Niccolo Machiavelli clearly foresaw the events now at play in Lebanon. First, the presence of a military power outside the confines of the Lebanese state, especially one in service of foreign powers, greatly undermines the sovereignty and integrity of the Lebanese state. Those that ignore or downplay the question of Hezbollah’s arms are either naive or paid for. There can never be a scenario in which Hezbollah as a foreign military organization coexists with Lebanon’s national institutions. 

Lebanon has fallen apart without even being under official sanctions or in conflict with its neighbors. Is this for any reason other than Hezbollah? Their efforts have succeeded, Lebanon is now diplomatically isolated from even its staunchest allies. Their incessant warmongering, aggressive rhetoric, and decrepit narcotic activities have cost Lebanon immensely.  To this day they prioritize the interests of their allies above that of the Lebanese; the borders remain open for smuggling, and we have yet to see any justice for the Port of Beirut. Quite the contrary, those who oppose the militia continue to drop dead like flies just as they have done in the past. This is of course a coincidence, Hezbollah would never resort to such brutish tactics, it must obviously be someone else conveniencing them so. 

Furthermore, there is a dangerous game at play in Lebanon right now, the land of two ‘prophets’, one armed and the other unarmed, the Patriarch and Nasrallah. Machiavelli favours Hezbollah’s secretary general by virtue of his armed strength, and dooms Bkerke. Fortunately, Machiavelli has been wrong before. 

Bkerke and its Patriarch have proven themselves to be more than just a religious institution, but as the national safeguard of Lebanon’s identity and unity. Lebanon is no stranger to tough times, and the Patriarch has always been our anchor during the storms. Bkerke authored Greater Lebanon and lobbied for the end of Syria’s occupation, so too does it now call for Lebanon’s salvation through the adoption of neutrality and the eventual disarming of the Hezbollah militia.

To this end and no other must Lebanon and the Lebanese strive for their salvation. Hezbollah must be at the least disarmed and at most disbanded, being a tool for propagating Iranian influence. Neutrality, as called for by the Patriarch, must become the rallying cry of all those who love Lebanon, as it is in the interest of the Lebanese people. 

What do the Lebanese people want? To be left alone to rest, for they have grown weary of the incessant tragedies. To enjoy a good life, to raise their children, and to innovate and create. To travel the world, and to live a life of peace and friendship with the peoples of the Earth. Neutrality is undoubtedly the best way to achieve that. Unsurprisingly, Hezbollah have staunchly opposed this proposal, not least of which because it fundamentally negates their fabricated raison d’être. 

How does Lebanon achieve this impossible task? I admit, disarming Hezbollah is a pipe dream. For starters, political will must bend towards the implementation of UNSC Resolutions 1559 and 1701. These international legal instruments will prove vitally important in achieving any noble goal, whether neutrality or disarmament. 

The real problem is that the Lebanese are fractured and disunited; they lack clear political leadership. Realistically, it must be the Patriarch himself that spearheads our freedom run, it must be the Patriarch that lobbies the arguably inept political leaders to attach themselves to him. The Patriarch, despite being a national figure and not a religious one, will find it difficult (but not impossible) to influence Lebanese from other sects, and for this he will need the politicians. Regardless, there must be a unity in political will surpassing even that of the Cedar Revolution to have any hope of success. 

Straight is the gate and narrow is the way which leads to life, but neither is the path to hell paved with merriments. Lebanon, its people and leaders, face a difficult and costly choice. Will they endure all hardships and follow the Patriarch to our salvation, or will Hezbollah be allowed to spell our end?

The decision, for once, is 100% made in Lebanon.

Antoine R. Kanaan, Editor in Chief of the Lebanon Law Review.

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