Lebanon is the scene these days of mass protests. They began on October 17, triggered by a proposed new tax and fueled by an austerity budget that cuts public spending, pensions, and employee benefits.
According to the Washington Post, the protests are the largest in nearly 15 years. They bring together Lebanese from all groups and sects. The target, say protesters, is the entire political class which is viewed as hopelessly corrupt.
Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed terrorist outfit, is the dominant force in Lebanon’s government. When the protests broke out, however, Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah pretended that the protests weren’t about Hezbollah. He praised the protesters for advocating reform.
It’s clear, though, that Hezbollah is not exempt from the ire of protesters. They demand that the entire government — including all ministers — resign.
The Post reports that “all means all” is a popular refrain at protest rallies. Hezbollah supporters who chant in favor of Nasrallah have scuffled with protesters.
Accordingly, Nasrallah has changed his tune. He now claims that the protest “is no longer a popular movement” concerned about “health and the environment and hunger recession.” Instead, it has been exploited by foreign powers.
Nasrallah warns that protests are pulling Lebanon towards civil war. Nasrallah’s warning is really a threat. Thanks to Iran, Hezbollah is the most powerful military force in Lebanon.
Hezbollah’s grip on Lebanon isn’t likely to become any looser, protests notwithstanding. One way or another, it will remain in control, I assume.
It’s heartening, though, to see Hezbollah challenged, and to see discontent with Iran and its puppets on the rise throughout the region, including in Iran itself.