Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah
Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah
Photo: AFP
Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab reviews the honor guard of the United Nations peacekeepers, upon his arrival at their headquarters in the southern coastal border town of Naqoura

Nasrallah's problems keep mounting

Opinion: Between the battle against coronavirus and Lebanon's crippling economic crisis, Nasrallah is losing his grip; His part in the organization diminishes, and operational decisions, if there are any in these times, are made by Iran

Smadar Perry |
Published: 05.31.20 , 21:45
Half a year after assuming the position of the prime minister, Lebanon's Hassan Diab visited United Nations peacekeepers in the country's south near the border with Israel last Wednesday. This visit did not surprise Israel which decided not to interfere.
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  • Diab, calm and calculated in his words, cited the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, which brought the 2006 Israel-Lebanon war to an end, and claimed his country safeguards the sovereignty of both nations. Diab did not mention Hezbollah's repeated violations and immediately accused Israel of relentlessly trying to "shake up his country's stability."
    Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab reviews the honor guard of the United Nations peacekeepers, upon his arrival at their headquarters in the southern coastal border town of Naqoura Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab reviews the honor guard of the United Nations peacekeepers, upon his arrival at their headquarters in the southern coastal border town of Naqoura
    Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab reviews the honor guard of the United Nations peacekeepers, upon his arrival at their headquarters in the southern coastal border town of Naqoura
    (Photo: AP)
    This is how it works: A day before the prime minister's visit, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah accused Israel and the United States of pressuring UN peacekeeper, UNIFIL, to further expand its mandate in southern Lebanon.
    Nasrallah essentially said that Hezbollah doesn't care about UNIFIL's involvement and will keep protecting Lebanon against "Israeli takeover attempts."
    Hezbollah's strongest presence, through armed guards and agents in civilian clothing, is set at Beirut International Airport. No one can come in and out without their identity checked by the terror group, and anyone whose name sets off a red flag is in for trouble. Hezbollah is looking for Israeli "agents" or "envoys", as well as a host of other foreign figures against whom interrogation warrants have been issued.
    However, Lebanon is in dire need of financial aid and the situation only worsened due to the coronavirus outbreak. Tens of thousands of newly unemployed civilians took to the streets to protest against the government and the political echelon's corruption.
    Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah
    Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah
    (Photo: AFP)
    It's enough to take one look at the lavish abodes of each one of the government ministers to get a sense of how things are running.
    The defense minister and Prime Minister Diab's deputy, Zeina Akar, lives in a spacious house right next to his predecessor Saad Hariri's palatial villa.
    When she assumed the senior position after Hariri resigned earlier this year, his security personnel were transferred to her.
    Meanwhile, no one believes the virus figures Beirut had released. As of Saturday, there are 1,172 confirmed cases, a few dozen patients in serious condition, and minimal casualties.
    Let us not forget the aerial convoy that landed from Iran, filled with coronavirus patients who came to receive medical treatment in Lebanon in the early days of the pandemic. No one knows how many of them had died, how many Lebanese citizens they may have infected, or how many were hospitalized.
    Lebanese sanitation workers spraying disinfectant during coronavirus outbreak Lebanese sanitation workers spraying disinfectant during coronavirus outbreak
    Lebanese sanitation workers spraying disinfectant during coronavirus outbreak
    (Photo: Reuters)
    The difficult economic situation created a new reality in which Hezbollah fighters mingle with Christian demonstrators and Sunni Muslims in the streets. Everyone is looking to make a living, they all come from hungry families and can't see a solution up ahead.
    The protesters hope for the international aid to come, but France is dealing with its own virus outbreak, Saudi Arabia is keeping a safe distance, and Germany mounts more conditions regarding Hezbollah's involvement.
    Between the battle against the virus and the economic crisis, Nasrallah has been losing his grip. His part in the organization diminishes, and operational decisions, if there are any in these times, have been made by Iran.
    Makeshift hospital for coronavirus patients, Nasrallah's portrait on the left Makeshift hospital for coronavirus patients, Nasrallah's portrait on the left
    Makeshift hospital for coronavirus patients, Nasrallah's portrait on the left
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Nasrallah has been sitting in his hideout with plenty of time to read translations to Israeli news, write down notes, and utter them in his recorded speeches.
    Beirut has barely shown any interest in the Shi'ite leader, other Arab countries only remember him vaguely, and only Israel still listens to him. He knows perfectly well that Israel can eliminate him at any given moment, and why it doesn't even bother to do so.
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