News from the Arab Press

Will Lebanon Fall Into The Hands Of Extremists In 2019?

By Asaf Zilberfarb | The Media Line

January 8, 2019

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Al-Anba, Kuwait, January 2

The past year was not a good one for Lebanon. Sadly, the prospects in early 2019 of forming a Lebanese government capable of tackling the country’s political, economic and social crises seem lower than ever before. After holding parliamentary elections in May—this, after a delay of about five years—Lebanon has remained for eight months in a political stalemate. Despite the recent convening of the Cedar Conference in Paris, during which some twelve billion dollars was pledged to Beirut, the Lebanese economy is on the verge of collapse due to gross mismanagement. Add to this the problem of Syrian refugees and the return of Hizbullah fighters from Syria and one has a recipe for disaster. Moreover, Israeli threats against Lebanon have peaked following the discovery of cross-border tunnels spanning the two countries and the release of a United Nations report acknowledging their existence. In this context, it is remarkable that Hizbullah, which would normally respond to any Israeli provocation, continues to be silent. Hizbullah is exacerbating Lebanon’s political instability and placing the nation at risk of military confrontation with its neighbors. The Lebanese state, which is supposed to be governed in accordance with the constitution and the rules outlined by the Lebanese people in the Taif Agreement, is de facto run by Hizbullah. It is impossible to form a government when state institutions are weak and one of the political parties maintains a separate military force. It has thus become virtually impossible to make any decisions in Lebanon without the approval of Hizbullah, which aims both to sit in the ruling coalition and control the opposition. 2019 is going to be a watershed year for Lebanon as Iranian influence in the country grows and Hizbullah drags Beirut towards war. Unless a dramatic change occurs, Lebanon will be further pulled into the hands of extremists.  –Ali al-Amin

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