Statement from Bryan E. Leib & Maria Maalouf
The combination of Ebrahim Raisi (Raeesi’s) seizure of power in Iran and the weakness of President Joe Biden could lead to a major conflict between Hezbollah and Israel in which many innocent lives would be lost on both sides.
Hezbollah has a lot to celebrate these days. In Lebanon, it celebrates its victory in further anchoring in all facets of the Lebanese government with the recent appointment of Najib Mikati as Lebanon’s next Prime Minister, supported by Hezbollah. This Iran-backed “political party”, which is actually a US-designated FTO (Foreign Terrorist Organization), is also celebrating the presidency of a hardliner in Iran.
During Raisi’s inauguration, Hezbollah’s deputy secretary general shared the front row with other senior officials from the US FTOs, such as Hamas and the Palestinian Jihad.
With Raisi coming to power, we predict that Hezbollah will continue its strong arms tactics in Lebanon, on Israel’s northern border, and seek to expand its power throughout the Middle East because that is exactly what proxies do – they listen to their boss .
Let’s get that straight – Hezbollah is not taking significant steps without securing Iran’s blessings. They do as they are told because if they don’t, they know that Tehran will cut off the flow of money and arms.
The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, has a vision for the Middle East and he is implementing that vision through militant deputies. The sad reality is that the Islamic Republic of Iran is trying to drive the entire region into further chaos and a protracted war with Israel. All Iranâ€™s terrorist representatives share Tehran’s vision of exterminating Israel and creating chaos in the region.
President Michel Aoun’s silent condolences testify to the inability of a Lebanese political force to stop this dangerous link between Hezbollah and Iran that has stripped the country of its sovereignty and plunged it into a death spiral.
In the meantime, the Biden government and the French government have asked Israel and Hezbollah to exercise restraint and refrain from escalating the military. These words were not backed up by concrete action.
Immediately following these calls for restraint, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah stated that the current dynamic between his militant organization and Israel was a return to 2006, which witnessed the last serious military confrontation between the two.
In addition, Nasrallah’s deputy, Naiim Qassem, met with IRGC Commander-in-Chief Hossein Salami and reiterated that â€œthe site is now ready for the collapse of Zionist unity. If there is a bug on his [Israelâ€™s] Part will start the new war, and it will be the death war for it. “
Hezbollah is signaling to its patron in Tehran that it is ready, willing and able to launch an attack on Israel. This should not come as a surprise, as Raisi’s takeover could increase Tehran’s support for Hezbollah. After all, Raisi is a hardliner who is loyal to Khamenei.
While these ruthless and dangerous remarks threaten to drive Lebanon into chaos, the possibility of politico-economic recovery has also diminished as the country continues to be forced into orbit around Iran.
Hezbollah is funded by Tehran, and the Islamic Republic spends between $ 500 million and $ 1 billion annually on its apparatus and operations. This is a significant increase from the $ 100 million it received from Iran in the 1980s.
In addition, Hezbollah was able to freeze Lebanon’s economy and society by challenging the government and ultimately deciding who should be the next prime minister.
While she was able to elect members of parliament in 2000 and appoint cabinet members from her ranks since 2006, she has introduced a very unknown vocabulary into Lebanese politics and describes herself as a “resilience” which shows her inclination to fight Lebanon in the fight against . to involve Israel and other forces.
Hezbollah is an armed political group like no other Lebanese political group that always flaunts its military might. It is a threat to the Lebanese armed forces, which are facing a rival army ready to make war and peace decisions regardless of Lebanon’s national interests.
In addition, it has built a parallel economy and aims to subjugate the entire Lebanese economy to its activities. It operates private credit institutions such as “Al Qard Al Hassan” and “Sharekat Waad”. [The Good Loan and The Promise Company]. In addition, on October 25, 2000, its executive committee founded the conglomerate “Jihad Al Binna”. [The Jihad Construction]to invest in agriculture, industry and the service economy. This company has partnered with many communities, especially those with a Shiite majority, to control their economies and communities.
Finally, Hezbollah denies its guilt for the explosion on Beirut Port on August 4, 2020. It accused the investigative committee of being biased. As expected, it will challenge the legitimacy of any international truth-finding effort as the port has been used as a storage facility for ammonium nitrate, a chemical used to make explosives.
The great Arab-Lebanese singer Fayrouz recently made a case for the resurrection of Lebanon on the first anniversary of the explosion in the port of Beirut. Unfortunately no one outside of Lebanon heard this message.
Lebanon desperately needs another noble cry for help, and perhaps President Biden should break his silence on the Islamic Republic and its vicious efforts to sow division in the region.
We believe that now is the time for President Biden to start acting like the leader he claims to be by publicly declaring his commitment to rooting out Iran-backed Hezbollah from the region. He should turn words into action by imposing and enforcing tough sanctions against Tehran and Hezbollah.
If Biden toughens his policies against the Islamic Republic, their militant proxies will be the first to feel the pain, and that’s a good thing. Terrorists should always feel the full wrath of the United States of America.
Maria Maalouf is a Lebanese journalist, broadcaster, publisher and author. She has an MA in Political Sociology.
Bryan E. Leib is the executive director of Iranian Americans for Liberty and a former Republican candidate for the US Congress.
The opinions expressed by the authors are not necessarily the views of Iran International