Beirut & Washington, DC
On June 11, 2018, Gen. Solemani Iran’s Islamic Al Quds Force claimed that “Hezbollah now controls 74 out of parliament’s 128 seats and Hezbollah (Iran) now controls Lebanon’s Parliament. His boasts are accurate.
General Qassem Soleimani, the head of, has been widely viewed since 2013 as the de facto ruler of Syria given his decision-making authority over Syria’s military, political, and economic systems. And as of May 2016, when he ordered the assassination of Mustafa Baddredine, the brother-in-law of former Hezbollah military commander, Imad Mughniyeh. Solemani then secretly appointed himself Hezbollah’s new military commander. His self-appointment has still not been made public. Hassan Nasrallah had no choice but to go along with Tehran’s decision regarding Baddredine’s assassination and the usurpation by Solemani of his own authority to name Hezbollah’s military commander.
The General did not get along with Baddredine due to personal and military issues plus the fact that the Al Quds leader viewed Mustafa as too close to certain Hezbollah leaders and their growing criticism of Iran’s role in Syria and Tehran’s plans for Syria and the region, not to mention Baddredine’s oft-expressed outrage with the high body count of Lebanese Shia dying for nothing but on orders from Solemani. Baddreddine according to Hassan Nasrallah and the Iranians was killed by the Israeli’s. Nonsense according to eye-witnesses. In fact, what happened at the Damascus military airport where Solemani was meeting with Baddreddine among others is that less than two hours after Solemani left the meeting, Baddredine’s bodyguard shot him on Soleimani’s orders.
Long story shortened, Tehran instructed Nasrallah more than two years ago not to appoint a Hezbollah Military Commander. He has not done so for the past 27 months which position has been held by Solemani, but not announced to the public or to the Hezbollah membership. This arrangement obtains today with Solemani making Hezbollah’s military and political decisions and Nasrallah increasingly granted a figurehead role in Lebanon like Assad’s in Syria.
Backing up Solemani’s claim that Hezbollah now overwhelming dominates Lebanon’s Parliament, is the head of Hezbollah’s parliamentary bloc, MP Mohammed Raad who announced on June 11 that his party can and will block any draft law that it feels threatens the “Resistance” or harms their interests. “We will push for the approval of a lot of laws that preserve the interests of its citizens.”
Nasrallah insisted on June 8 that the “entire world” including Russia cannot force Hezbollah fighters from Syria. He pledged however that Hezbollah would pull out when and if the Syrian government issued a request. That request, as Nasrallah knows will never come as long as Iran, via Gen. Solemani, controls the military, political and economic orders for Syria and increasingly much of the region.
For more than the past couple of years, Gen. Solemani has spoken about his distrust of Putin. And Iran’s Supreme Leader and his Tehran coterie have expressed their suspicions that Russia was interested in playing the role of arbiter in Syria and perhaps beyond. As long as the Syrian regime was in danger of collapse, the Russians are claimed to appreciate the fact that more than three dozen Shiite militias numbering more than 100,000, 4000 Iranian fighters and 20,000 plus Hezbollah fighters were being crushed in the battlefield while largely sparing Russians.
Yet the Iranian forces are creating countless other problems and Moscow believes that the time has come for Iran to leave Syria and given up its regional plans. This as Bashar Assad told the media again last week in an interview with Russian Today that “We don’t have Iranian troops in Syria, only Iranian officers who work with the Syrian army.”
This observer is inclined toward the view that the coming months will see a re-alignment in Syria with Russia drawing closer to the Arab countries in the region, the EU, the US and perhaps even North Korea at Iran’s and Hezbollah’s expense. The United Kingdom has announced its readiness to designate all of Hezbollah’s organization as a terrorist entity, England will join the US, Canada, the Netherlands, and the Arab League countries who have previously proscribed Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. So far, Germany has been the most resistant European country to banning Hezbollah. This may be about to change. According to German intelligence, there are 950 active Hezbollah operatives in Germany who raise funds and recruit new members.
Against this backdrop, how can Hezbollah try to come in from the cold and cut its growing losses in Syria and the region and attempt to reconnect with its” Resistance” base and the nearly thirteen million Palestinians globally who according to Hasan Nasrallah is its “Religious, Moral and Political duty.”
Given space constraints, the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign (PCRC) will propose within a couple of weeks a “Palestinian-Hezbollah Program of Action for Lebanon’s Refugee Camps” offered in the form of an “Open Letter to Hassan Nasrallah.” For now, a brief notation of some items to be hopefully fully implemented by Hezbollah during the next two-three months to help restore some confidence among Lebanon’s Palestinian refugees and among many others who formally supported the notion of a true “Resistance.”
First. General Soleimani’s claimed 20-vote Parliamentary majority means that it will take just 90 minutes to grant Palestinian refugees the most elementary civil rights to work and to own a home, granted every other refugee on the planet except in Lebanon. This reality despite promises often made, followed by excuses over the past several years. Now the Parliamentary votes are available, and Hezbollah should use them without further delay.
Commit resources of staff, material and financial resources over a 60-day period on the following five vital initiatives to revitalized Lebanon’s 12 Palestinian Refugee Camps and 156 “gatherings.”
Second. Stop flooding the camps with drugs and abusive “Resistance spies.” Camp leaders and outsiders know well the rational being employed for the region from Tehran and now also used in Lebanon to keep certain society’s broken to collect the pieces and exercise domination. Hezbollah well knows the effects of these drugs on Palestinian youth in some of the camps with additions rates exceeding 20% including sky-rocketing high school dropout rates, escalating health and behavioral problems, shattered homes and increased willingness to fight and die for Hezbollah and Iran in Syria. This must stop. And it’s one reason that the PCRC has for the past several years been insisting to friends in Hezbollah that a true “Resistance” in Lebanon begins in the camps.
Third. Terminate the “Resistance” project of creating mini-Hezbollah militias among Palestinian in Lebanon’s 12 camps and 156 gatherings. No good will come of this project for Hezbollah, Palestinian Refugees or Lebanon. The soon this scheme is scrapped the better for all.
Fourth. Launch an intense 60-day program organized by Hezbollah and Palestinian camp leaders to fulfil earlier pledges to revitalize the camps infrastructures, including but not limited to The Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee (LPDC), the Central Administration of Statistics (CAS) and the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), the Shatila camp based Chatila Youth Center (CYC) directed by the inimitable Abu Mujahed, Kassim Aina’s National Institution of Social Care & Vocational Training, Lebanese Working Group on Palestinian refugees and two dozen more Palestinian camp-focused NGO’s who Hezbollah knows from ten years of conferences and all could benefit by intense meetings and working together on much needed camp projects for a period of say, two months including evaluations and planning to achieve camp life improvements.
Among the most urgent camp needs are:
Repair, replacement and new electrical systems to end electrocution of children and adults and change the massive faulty wiring.
Replace the out of date plumbing which causes serious disease and flooding.
Allow building material into the camps to make home repairs.
Remodel schools currently in bad repair.
Pave muddy streets, swamps and alleys as required.
Organized proper garbage collection.
Support more health facilities especially for women and children.
Help reduce thru social workers the escalating youth against adult violence and domestic violence among married couples and other adults.
Provides some park and play space for families and children.
Fifth. Encourage Lebanese General Security, and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) which are controlled by Hezbollah to apply the law and stop harassing Palestinian refugee families on the streets and subjecting them to arbitrary arrests while giving cover to and taking bribes from drug dealers from the Bekaa Valley who infest Palestinian camps. A recent example warrants mention:
Early this month, several cashes of Bekaa Valley Hashish was reported to media and photographed along the old airport road in the Hezbollah neighborhood of Ouzai. Embarrassed, Lebanon’s General Security chief Ibrahim, a subordinate of Hezbollah and Iran quickly announced that the drugs shown were headed to Beirut’s airport. This caused roars of laughter in Ouzai and among those knowledgeable about this subject. The drugs were a regular shipment en route to the three nearby Palestinian camps of Mar Elias, Shatila, and Bourg al Barajneh, none of which is further away from Hezbollah’s stronghold of Ouzai than 1-2 miles. Hezbollah can end this and similar crimes with a phone call.
Sixth. Stop recruiting Palestinian refugee’s youngsters (more than 90% of whom are Sunni) from the camps and Lebanon’s streets and jails to fight for Hezbollah in Syria and to die for nothing that has anything to do with legitimate “Resistance” or the future of Palestine.
Seventh. Pull out Hezbollah’s forces from Syria without further delay. Hezbollah families have paid a horrendous price with the deaths of several thousand of their sons, fathers, husbands, brothers and male relatives and friends for nothing. So have countless thousands of Syrian Hezbollah victims across that country including thousands of Palestinian refugees. Lebanon has also paid a severe price that has turned the country and much of the region against the ‘Party of God.” Hezbollah’s very existence is at stake.
Despite countless declaration of Devine Victories of various sorts, no sustainable victory has been achieved anywhere across Syria and none is in sight.
Syrian President Assad, barely a week after declaring yes again victory in Syria over “terrorists” insisted on 6/13/18 that there is no possibility of Hezbollah’s withdrawal from Syria for several years. “Hezbollah is an essential element in this war and the battle is long and the need for these military forces will continue for a long time,” Assad told Iran’s al-Alam TV when asked whether Damascus has asked Hezbollah to pull its forces out of the country.
As Hassan Nasrallah regularly speaks of the Party of God’s “Religious, Moral and Political Duty to the Palestinian cause” let the Party enter the camps and help construct a real “Resistance.”
The true Resistance for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon begins in the 12 camps and 156 Gatherings. There is no legitimate “Palestinian Resistance” project for Palestinian in Lebanon in Syria. Occupied Palestine is South.