By Yossi Lempkowicz
The Lebanese people who regularly protest on Place des Martyrs to denounce the political class irresponsibility in the aftermath of the apocalyptic disaster at the port of Beirut have understood the origin of the evil and the tragedy of their country when they hang Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah, in effigy, along with President Michel Aoun and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.
In view of the videos posted on social media, the Lebanese street point the finger at Hezbollah, a fundamentalist Shiite terrorist organization financed and armed by Iran which firmly controls the power of the country – its government, its parliament and its army – since r many years. going so far as to elect the president and choose the Prime Minister (who just resigned) Hassan Diab last January. While some European governments – including France – make a fictitious distinction between the ”political” and ”military” branches of the organization while the group itself claims to form a single entity, as confirmed by its number two Naim Qassem.
When French President Emmanuel Macron visited Beirut to see the extent of the damage caused by the explosion, he used this opportunity to appeal to the Lebanese leadership to implement political reforms. But did he respond to the many appeals made to him by the Lebanese in the streets of Achrafieh begging him to help them save the country by getting rid of Hezbollah who instead of working for the good of the Lebanese only realizes Iran’s goals of domination in Lebanon, Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East.
Hezbollah, which controls the port of Beirut where 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate exploded, causing the death of more than 160 people and thousands of wounded, also stored this substance, intended for the manufacture of explosives, in Europe, precisely in Britain, Germany and Cyprus until the Mossad, the Israeli secret service, informed these three countries.
Hezbollah, which in defiance of UN Security Council resolution 1701 adopted in 2006, did not disarm for the benefit of the Lebanese army as they were obligated, preferring since then to control not only part of Beirut but also all of southern Lebanon where the army no longer has any power, and to install there 130,000 missile batteries within the population itself, in each of the villages.
According to experts, Hezbollah is able to mobilize 50,000 to 60,000 heavily armed men, as many as the Lebanese Armed Forces.
Hezbollah, responsible for the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005 because he challenged the power of the terrorist organization.
Hezbollah, responsible for several attacks around the world, including that against the main Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in 1994 (85 dead and hundreds injured).
As Matthew Levitt, researcher at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy recalls, Hezbollah has also been active in Europe since the creation of the organization in the early 1980s with the organization of attacks and the establishment of trafficking in all genres.
Does President Macron remember that it was Hezbollah that was responsible for the deadly attacks against French soldiers of the Multinational Interposition Force in Lebanon in 1983 and the kidnapping of French journalists?
Unfortunately, everything indicates that France persists in maintaining a nonsense, continuing to legitimize a so-called “political wing” of Hezbollah “in order to maintain a political dialogue with all parties in Lebanon”. The protests in the streets in Beirut show the absurdity of the French position.
“Despite all of this evidence, France reluctantly continues to protect Hezbollah from any meaningful European action,” said Matthew Levitt.
France is now the only ‘’ big ’’ member state of the European Union to maintain this distinction, which prevents the EU as such from banning Hezbollah entirely. “On this subject, as on the others, Brussels seems to have its head firmly buried in the sand,” said Jacob Campbell, researcher at the Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy in Britain.
Germany decided last June to ban Hezbollah’s activities on its territory after the discovery of planned attacks and to classify the organization as terrorist in its entirety. A decision that had already been taken before by Britain, the Netherlands and Austria. Elsewhere in the world, the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council (Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Qatar) have also called Hezbollah an “Iranian-linked terrorist group.” If the Gulf countries have stopped investing in the Lebanese economy, it is also because of the harmful role played by Hezbollah.
The French president has promised to return to Beirut in September ‘’ to take stock ’,’ ’as he said, on the much needed reforms in Lebanon. It would be wise for him to announce that France, like Germany, is removing the artificial distinction between the military and political wings of Hezbollah and is demanding the disarmament of an organization that has created a state within a state. A failed state like Syria or Iraq….
Getting rid of Hezbollah, as demanded by many Lebanese, would be a first step in rebuilding the country both politically and economically.
What do Arab countries know about Hezbollah that the European Union refuses to recognize?
Yossi Lempkowicz is Editor-in-Chief of European Jewish Press and Senior Media Advisor of Europe Israel Press Association.