Hezbollah’s Lasting Grasp of Lebanon

Since the group’s inception as early as 1982 in South Lebanon, Hezbollah has maintained an unrelenting grasp of Lebanon, and its people are paying the price. After the end of Israeli occupation out of Southern Lebanon, the groups following grew rapidly and began immersing themselves within the country’s society.

Their involvement in the Lebanese Parliament alongside Nasrallah’s pull throughout the country has kept Lebanon in a trap, primarily feeding Hezbollah’s wants and needs to maintain its source of power. Since being involved in parliament, the Council of Foreign Relations writes that Hezbollah created a number of social programs including infrastructure, health facilities, and schools which has led to the increase of Lebanese Shi’ite support as they attempt to form a “true democracy.” Through this time, the Henry Jackson Society also explains how Hezbollah has aligned itself with other parties in order to expand its power. This includes both general Michael Aoun and the Christian political party where such alignment has proven to paralyze the parliament, giving themselves the power to veto any legislation that the government wishes to be passed. When speaking about the power that Hezbollah holds, it is important to recognize that the group is merely a puppet of Iran, with which their training, arms, and funding primarily comes from. Iran and Saudi Arabia have been in a continuous proxy war tracing back to the 1979 Iranian Revolution, picking oppositional sides in countries from Yemen, Syria, and Lebanon in order to expand their influence throughout the Middle East.

The greater control of Lebanon is merely a series of strings being pulled by outside powers, although they are not the only ones. As the people of Lebanon have been looking for a government that truly serves the people, there have been numerous occasions in which a series of Parliamentary elections have led to each coalition pushing their own agenda instead of working to better the country as a whole. A chance for change is soon to come with the 2022 Parliamentary elections coming within the next month. Dale Gavlak at VOA News claims that with continued shortages of food, water, and electricity, these upcoming elections could provide the country with a chance to finally enact change.

In complete honesty, it is always difficult to break a cycle like this especially with Hezbollah’s power alongside talks of pushing the election because the group is not satisfied with their current level of support. With regards to more recent news, Hezbollah’s growing power has become increasingly prominent with recent technological development of drones added to the group’s arsenal, among anti-aircraft missiles, rockets, and tanks. According to an article published by Haaretz, within the last week two of these drones were sent into Israel where the first was shot down almost immediately and the second maintained flight for approximately 30 kilometers before it was detected. As the drone was detected, it took a missile, F-16, and an Apache helicopter to bring it down. In response, the Israeli government sent two F-16s to fly directly over the capital city of Beirut, making it very clear that these actions would not be tolerated.

This is just one example of many in which Hezbollah and decisions made by Nasrallah have disrupted daily life throughout Lebanon. Hezbollah has developed greatly since their inception and have become entangled in Lebanese politics, carried out a significant number of terrorist attacks across the world, and hold a great influence within the Middle East. The group’s expansion is not likely to stop in the near future as conflicts between Iran and Saudi Arabia continue and Hezbollah testing Israel’s patience will only make matters worse.

Sarah Carty
Sarah Carty
My name is Sarah Carty and I am currently an undergraduate student at George Mason University studying Global Affairs with a concentration of Human Security. Most of my life has been spent overseas, from being born in Amman, Jordan to the most recent posting in Argentina before moving to the United States. My interests include research, specifically regarding the Middle East, reading, travel, and working out daily. Alongside this, I enjoy learning new languages where I also speak Arabic and Spanish.