In territory that Hezbollah’s forces captured in northeastern Lebanon last week, “nowhere was there any evidence of the Lebanese state,” correspondents for The Washington Post reported on Saturday.
Earlier that day, the journalists participated in a tour organized by the Iranian proxy in response to recent comments by President Donald Trump, who denounced Hezbollah as an Islamist terrorist group. The trip “underscored the sway the Iran-backed Hezbollah exerts in Lebanon, where it remains the most effective and best-armed military force and retains the ability to strike at will almost anywhere in the country,” the Post correspondents wrote.
They described the Lebanese territory near the Syrian border that Hezbollah recently captured as “an arid wilderness of ungoverned space devoid of habitation. Hezbollah outposts, flying yellow Hezbollah flags alongside those of Lebanon, are few and far between.”
“Tents labeled as belonging to the Iranian Red Crescent are erected at some of the posts, presumably to supply medical aid to the fighters. There is no sign of its Lebanese equivalent,” the correspondents added.
“Basically Hezbollah has two strengths when it comes to how it shapes political and military outcomes,” observed Aram Nerguizian of the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. “It’s incredibly media savvy and understands the power of optics. And it has freedom of action that no state actor has, including the Lebanese Army, or any political faction,” he continued, confirming the reporters’ observations about Hezbollah’s strength in contrast to that of the Lebanese government.
Hezbollah’s domination of Lebanon is a consequence of Iran’s extensive efforts to assemble a multinational Shiite army to wield its influence across the Middle East, most recently documented by Buzzfeed.
Because of the Iran-backed terrorist group’s influence, experts have concluded that boosting Lebanon’s army to fight Hezbollah would be counterproductive, as Hezbollah has effective control over all Lebanese institutions, including the army.
[Photo: جرود عرسال / YouTube ]