High-Stakes Hinge Moment for Hezbollah and Lebanon

By Saab, Bilal Y | The Christian Science Monitor, August 11, 2010 | Go to article overview

High-Stakes Hinge Moment for Hezbollah and Lebanon


Saab, Bilal Y, The Christian Science Monitor


Facing pressure over the Hariri assassination, Hassan Nasrallah and his Hezbollah organization are growing anxious.

Could this be the beginning of the end of Hezbollah?

For the first time since its official emergence in 1985, Lebanon's powerful Shiite "Party of God" is feeling nervous about its future as an autonomous and untouchable politico-military organization.

It is not a potential war with Israel that is making Hezbollah anxious, though it is doing everything it can to prevent one from happening. Instead, what deeply worries Hezbollah is a string of events that could unfold at home following an expected indictment of the group - or at least rogue elements within it - by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL). The tribunal is charged with prosecuting those responsible for the killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri on Feb. 14, 2005.

Two options

Assuming the prosecution is not derailed and no deals are made, Hezbollah has two options if it is indicted. It can accept the charge and try to limit the costs; or it can react violently and suffer the consequences of such action. Neither bodes well.

Based on recent statements of Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, Option 1 is most likely off the table.

Nasrallah has emphatically denied any involvement of Hezbollah in the murder. He has categorically refused to hand over any member of his party to any international body, calling the tribunal nothing but "an Israeli project" that seeks to smear and target "the resistance." On Monday, in a two-and-a-half hour press conference, he accused Israel of Hariri's assassination, presenting "evidence" that included footage from Israeli spy planes of routes used by Hariri.

He has also rejected talk of any deal that would accuse some "undisciplined" elements inside his organization but leave the leadership untouched. Sensing that there is an international conspiracy against Lebanon and his party, Nasrallah is in no mood to compromise.

An angry ultimatum

This leaves Option 2, an angry reaction by Hezbollah that could turn ugly and cause widespread violence in the country.

Imagine the scenario: Nasrallah would hold another press conference saying that the government of Prime Minister Saad Hariri (Rafik's son) has an ultimatum: Either disregard the tribunal's charge or face Hezbollah's wrath.

Mr. Hariri would either stall indefinitely or refuse to comply, arguing that he can't interfere with an independent tribunal. Hezbollah's ministers would immediately leave or suspend participation in the cabinet. (They could also bring down the cabinet in order to annul its responsibilities toward the STL). The party's base would hold large demonstrations and sit-ins, causing political deadlock in Beirut and possibly sectarian tensions throughout the country - a situation not unlike the political crisis that exploded into violence in May 2008.

Sunni-Shiite polarization would reach its climax, possibly though not necessarily manifesting itself in several armed confrontations across multiple regions. Not known for armed combat, the Future Movement, the largest Lebanese Sunni grouping, which is headed by Hariri, would choose non-violent confrontation. That would allow more extremist and uncontrollable Salafi jihadi elements sympathetic to Al Qaeda to emerge and fight the "infidel" Shiites.

Lebanese state institutions would gradually collapse and the Lebanese Army would remain neutral. The result would be a return to a state of anarchy, in ways similar to the bleak civil war of 1975- 90. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

High-Stakes Hinge Moment for Hezbollah and Lebanon
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.