In the past months, while exacerbating the economic crisis in Lebanon, Hizbullah has been conducting a campaign against the U.S. in the country, blaming it for all of Lebanon's troubles, including the dire economic situation and the fuel and electricity shortages, and even the rampant corruption. Hizbullah has also been accusing the U.S. of interfering in Lebanon’s judiciary system, especially in the investigation of the August 2020 Beirut Port blast, and of meddling in Lebanon's politics by employing local agents and funding civil society organizations that promote its agenda. In fact, the organization has for months been constructing a discourse of incitement against the U.S., making more and more accusations against it. Hizbullah leaders, from secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah to minor officials, have been repeating these messages at every meeting, gathering and public event. Media outlets affiliated with the organization, such as the Al-Ahed website and the daily Al-Akhbar, have been reiterating these messages as well.
Hizbullah's primary accusation against the U.S. is that it is waging an economic war against Lebanon and its people with the aim of humiliating and subjugating them. According to Nasrallah, "the Americans are starving [the Lebanese people] so that they give up their honor, sovereignty, and national rights…" This economic war against Lebanon, say Hizbullah officials, includes the U.S. sanctions on the Lebanese banking sector and Lebanese politicians; the Caesar Act, which prohibits trade and transactions with the Syrian regime and thereby harms Lebanon's economy as well; a ban on various countries transferring financial and other aid to Lebanon, and threats aimed at deterring Lebanese leaders from receiving aid from the Eastern countries, especially Russia, China and Iran. Hizbullah officials accuse the U.S. of bringing Lebanon to a state of bankruptcy, with 80% of its citizens living in poverty, and of fostering corruption among Lebanese politicians.
As noted, Hizbullah also accuses the U.S. of interfering with Lebanon's judiciary, and especially of trying to subvert and distort the probe into the August 2020 Beirut Port blast, so as to place the blame on Hizbullah. In the recent months, as Tarek Bitar, the judge presiding over the investigation, sought to question officials close to Hizbullah and to its political allies, the organization began accusing him of bias and of politicizing the investigation, and appealed to the government, the president and the judiciary, demanding his dismissal. Hizbullah officials claim that the U.S., seeking to settle scores with the organization, is intervening in the probe in an attempt to impose dictates and lay the blame on Hizbullah and its allies.
On October 14, Hizbullah and its ally, the Amal Movement, organized a protest in Beirut’s Al-Tayouneh neighborhood to demand Bitar's dismissal. The protest developed into violent clashes between Hizbullah and Amal members on the one side and members of the Lebanese Forces, the Christian party headed by Samir Geagea, known for its opposition to Hizbullah, on the other. The clashes, which included exchanges of gunfire, led to the death of seven people, six of them members of Amal. Hizbullah was quick to blame the U.S. for the bloodshed, claiming that it was behind the events. According to Hizbullah officials, the U.S. incited the members of Geagea's party, who are agents of America and promote its agenda, to start the clashes, and this was only "one of a series of events cause by the U.S." in Lebanon, aimed at destroying Hizbullah, even at the cost of civil war, bloodshed and the destruction of the Lebanese state.
In addition, Hizbullah accuses the U.S. of interfering in Lebanese politics, especially ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections, to be held in less than a year. It claims that the U.S. funds not only Geagea's party but also various civil society organizations, intending them to participate in the elections, change the political balance in the country and confront Hizbullah. The organization describes the U.S. embassy in Beirut as the hub of America's subversive activity in the country and of its efforts to "plot against the Lebanese people," as Nasrallah put it. Accusations are also frequently directed at U.S. Ambassador Dorothy Shea.
The anti-U.S. incitement has recently escalated, shifting from accusations to actual threats. Several Hizbullah and pro-Hizbullah officials threatened that the organization would launch a campaign to eliminate the U.S. influence in Lebanon, and clarified that Hizbullah knows how to hurt the U.S. and harm its interests.
This report reviews Hizbullah's incitement against the U.S. in recent months and the threats by its officials to eliminate the U.S. influence in Lebanon and harm its interests.
Hassan Nasrallah: The U.S. Is Starving The Lebanese; Its Ambassador Is Plotting Against Them, Seeking To Start A Civil War
As stated, Hizbullah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah has played a central role in spreading incitement against the U.S. by reiterating the messages in many of his speeches in the past months. In an August 17, 2021 speech, he said that the U.S. is conducting "an economic war to subjugate the Lebanese people and the resistance," and "wants Lebanon to be submissive and humiliated" because it is part of the axis that has often defeated the U.S. He said: "What is happening today is a real economic and financial war… that was planned [by the U.S.] in advance in order to bring the [Lebanese] people and state to collapse… The Americans are starving [the Lebanese people] so that they give up their honor, sovereignty, and national rights…" He added that America's economic war against Lebanon started shortly before 2019, when the U.S. began funding NGOs in Lebanon that are directly linked to its embassy in Beirut and are funded by it.
In another speech two days later, Nasrallah repeated these messages, accusing the U.S. of "conducting an economic war against Lebanon in the service of Israel," and added that "the U.S. embassy in Beirut, [which] is conducting [this] economic and information war against Lebanon and inciting against it," is not a diplomatic representation but "an embassy for plotting against the Lebanese people." However, it will fail in these attempts, as it failed in the past, he said. In remarks delivered on August 23, he said that the U.S. was "interfering in everything, even in the issues of the petrol, fuel and medicines, and in municipal affairs," and added: "The U.S. embassy wants Lebanon to be in a state of chaos, and wants harm to come to the Lebanese society and to the Lebanese [citizen], his honor and his family," so that not only Hizbullah but also the Lebanese state and society will collapse. He also said that the U.S. was preventing other countries from extending economic aid to Lebanon.
In a speech on August 27, Nasrallah claimed that the U.S. has been besieging Lebanon for some two years. It "forced [various] countries to withdraw their deposits from the [Lebanese] central bank," and threatened them with sanctions in order to keep them from investing in Lebanon and from extending it aid, grants or loans. The U.S. is also threatening Lebanese officials, he said, and telling them: "If you accept investments by China, Russia or [any other] Eastern [country], we will slap you with sanctions… Is this not a siege?" He stated that the Caesar Act, which imposes sanctions on Syria, is also part of the siege on Lebanon, because it "gravely harms the Lebanese economy" by keeping Lebanon and Lebanese companies from investing in Syria and helping to rebuild it, which would have revitalized the Lebanese economy. Nasrallah blamed the U.S. for Lebanon's severe energy crisis as well, claiming that in the past years it has kept Lebanon from importing gas from Egypt and electricity from Jordan.
In an October 22 speech addressing the issue of Lebanon's growing electricity crisis, Nasrallah stated that the U.S. blocks the Lebanese government from receiving aid from other countries that could have helped it to resolve this crisis. Addressing the Lebanese government, he said: "There are many offers [of assistance] from various countries around the world, both Eastern and Western. You do not want [to receive aid] from the East? Fine, so [obtain it from] the West. Unless there is an American veto [preventing this]. If the Americans keep you [from getting aid], tell the Lebanese people sincerely: We are afraid and cannot bring European companies [to Lebanon] because the Americans will be angry at us, and they prevent us from doing so…"
Referring to an offer by the Iranian foreign minister to build two power plants in Lebanon at Iran's expense, he wondered: "Have [the Lebanese officials] given him and answer?... We regard the U.S. as an enemy… but you regard it as a comrade, ally and close friend. So ask this friend and comrade of yours – whom you trust so much, considering it [a champion of] humaneness, [good] values and human rights – for an exemption [from the sanctions on Iran, which prevent economic cooperation with it]. Iraq received such an exemption, and so did Afghanistan under the previous government… and other countries in the region. [So] you should request one too." 
As for Hizbullah's allegations against the Beirut blast probe, already in his August 27 speech Nasrallah called the investigation political and arbitrary. In his October 11 speech, he harshly attacked Judge Tarek Bitar, who is leading the investigation, accusing him of targeting particular political elements: "This judge is behaving like a politician," he claimed. "He is using the blood of the those martyred and injured [in the blast], and the catastrophe and tragedy, to promote political goals." In an October 19 speech, he warned that there is an attempt to harm Hizbullah's political and media standing, and to direct accusations at its "allies and friends," adding that Bitar has been intimidated by the U.S. into serving its agenda. "Since the day of the incident [i.e., the explosion]," he said, "people have faced intimidation and threats of imprisonment," and there are pressures "by the U.S., France and the West.” He said that some people are trying to blame Hizbullah for the explosion because "that is what the U.S., Israel and [various] Western and regional forces want,” and added: “When anyone asks to replace the judge, [the U.S.] sees this as a threat. But at the same time it itself threatens to stop the aid to Lebanon if the judge is replaced. French elements unknown to me are telling Lebanese officials that this judge must not be touched [i.e., dismissed], and religious and political authorities in [Lebanon] are defending him. This judge will end up becoming a dictator…", said Nasrallah. 
Nasrallah also alleged that the U.S. funds Samir Geagea's Lebanese Forces party, so it will further America's plans, even at the cost of precipitating a civil war in Lebanon. Referring to the October 14 deadly clashes in Al-Tayouneh, he claimed that the Lebanese Forces party and its head, who "serve foreign countries that have plans and interests in Lebanon," are responsible for the violence and deaths. "They have no problem [deliberately] causing events, even if they develop into deadly clashes with martyrs and victims on both sides, because this serves their goal," he said, and added: "[They don't care] even if the result is a broad military confrontation or a war … The real plan of the Lebanese Forces is [to start] a civil war" in the service of the U.S., Israel and other elements.
Hizbullah Official: U.S. Responsible For Economic Crisis, Interferes In Lebanon With Help Of Its Agents
The vitriol against the U.S. in the recent months has come not only from Nasrallah himself but also from other officials in Hizbullah and circles close to it. They blamed the severe economic crisis in Lebanon on the U.S., saying that its sanctions on Hizbullah, on Lebanese officials close to it, and on Syria are aimed at delivering a death blow to the Lebanese economy in order to weaken the country and subjugate it.
Nasrallah's deputy Na'im Qassem said in an October 9, 2021 speech in the Dahiya, Hizbullah's stronghold in Beirut: "Two [reasons] – the U.S. interference [in Lebanon], and the corruption of the ruling elite – are responsible for the deterioration of the economic and social situation [in the country]… America's role in paralyzing Lebanon's economy has been clearly proven, and is no longer hidden from anyone. [The Americans] are the ones who imposed sanctions, sabotaged the banking system and prevented it from holding contacts with many countries despite our difficult circumstances. [The Americans] passed the Caesar Act against Syria and prevented it from maintaining economic ties and cooperation with its neighbor Lebanon… They brought the country to a state where 80% of society lives under the poverty line…"
Hizbullah Political Council member Mahmoud Qamati blamed the U.S. for hunger in Lebanon. In a September 18 speech, he said: "The equation they tried to plant in the minds of the Lebanese people, that the resistance [i.e., Hizbullah] and its weapons are the reason for your hunger, pain and shortages, has collapsed… The resistance has proved that the one depriving the Lebanese people of water, medicines and fuel, and the one keeping them hungry and thirsty, is the U.S. itself, and its policy in the region."
Shi'ite mufti Ahmad Qabalan, who is close to Hizbullah, said in his October 1 Friday sermon: "It is not true that Lebanon is an Iranian protectorate. On the contrary, throughout [its] history, Lebanon has been an American protectorate, exposed to corruption, theft and bankruptcy thanks to its American sponsor and its allies, who are known to all…" Calling on the Lebanese government to accept the aid proffered by Iran and China, and not to believe the U.S., he added: "Lebanon is exhausted and is in need of oil, offers [of aid] that will rescue it, infrastructure, power plants and railways. The Iranians and Chinese are generously offering to provide all this, and the government must consider their proposal seriously, for the national need is great. If Washington really cares about Lebanon it should do something [to help it]. Time will reveal the extent of its sincerity…"
U.S. Trying To Subvert Investigation Of Beirut Port Blast, Place Blame On Hizbullah
Many Hizbullah officials claimed that the U.S. was interfering in every Lebanese affair, especially in the probe into the explosion in the Port of Beirut, in a bid to frame Hizbullah for the catastrophe and crush it politically. Hizbullah officials were particularly incensed by a statement issued October 1, 2021 by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which expressed esteem for Judge Bitar and alarm about Hizbullah's reported role in delaying the investigation of the explosion, and urged the Lebanese government to “ensure that judges and other investigators can safely carry out their duties.” U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price likewise voiced opposition to Hizbullah's threats against the judiciary. 
A report aired on Hizbullah's Al-Manar TV claimed that U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea was intervening in every aspect of Lebanese politics, including in the issue of Judge Bitar's reliability and professionalism, and that it was she who had requested the Foreign Relations Committee to issue the abovementioned statement. Hizbullah MP Hassan Fadlallah called this statement "a flagrant blow to Lebanon's sovereignty and open interference in the investigations [of the Beirut Port blast] in a bid to dictate judicial decisions… The stated U.S. position on the unfolding of the investigations and on the role of Judge [Bitar] proves that there is direct American interference in this issue, in an attempt to use it to settle scores inside Lebanon, after the wars and the siege have failed to defeat [Lebanon]…"
Another Hizbullah MP, Ibrahim Al-Moussawi, condemned "the U.S.'s blatant [undermining] of the Lebanese judiciary," adding: "The U.S. administration follows a rationale of dictates. The blunt American intervention in Lebanon has reached a climax and is evident on several levels, [yet] some [Lebanese elements] keep silent in the face of [these] American violations." Hizbullah MP Hassan ‘Izz Al-Din objected to "any attempt to falsify [the outcomes of the investigation], to politicize justice or to shift the blame from one side to another… The Americans still think that the explosion in the Port [of Beirut] is a tool they can… use against their rivals in [Lebanon's] upcoming [parliamentary] elections, so as to change the balance in parliament in favor of so-called civil society [organizations], associations and the like who are [actually] their allies and supporters."
Muhammad Raed, head of Hizbullah's parliamentary bloc, condemned the U.S. expressions of support for Bitar, saying: "When we want to replace the judge investigating [the Beirut Port blast], they [call it] terror, but when U.S. Ambassador [Shea] threatened that he must not be touched, that's not terror but advice… We reject these double standards…"
An article by Fatima Salameh on Hizbullah's Al-Ahed website likewise accused the U.S. of interfering in Lebanon's judiciary in an attempt to subvert the investigation. She wrote: "Washington is bringing all its weight to bear on the Lebanese judiciary in an attempt to achieve what it hasn't managed to achieve by other [means]. It is using the issue of the Beirut Port explosion to achieve known goals as part of its main plan to sow destruction in Lebanon… Washington does not support Bitar as a [private] individual. It supports his judiciary style, which is based on selectiveness and double standard. It prefers to repeat the scenario of 2005 by falsifying charges and testimony, so as to implement the political plans it has been dreaming of implementing for many years.
U.S. Employs Agents In Lebanon, Is Responsible For The Bloodshed In Al-Tayouneh
In the wake of the October 14, 2021 deadly clashes in Al-Tayouneh during a protest by Hizbullah and Amal against Judge Bitar, in which seven protesters were killed, Hizbullah blamed the U.S. for the bloodshed. It accused the U.S. of inciting the Lebanese in order to start a civil war, and of using members of Samir Geagea's Lebanese Forces party as its agents and as a "Trojan horse" in the country.
Shi'ite mufti Ahmad Qabalan, who is close to Hizbullah, posted on the day of the clashes that "all the bloodshed, internal strife, security anarchy, and threats to public order that occurred today against unarmed protesters, or will occur [in the future], are caused by the U.S. embassy, by Judge Tarek Bitar, who must be dismissed, arrested and firmly held to account, and by the American forces of terror …"
Hashim Safi Al-Din, head of Hizbullah's executive council, said at the funeral of the protesters killed in Al-Tayouneh: "We are facing a massacre and a crime of sheer premeditated murder perpetrated by the Lebanese Forces party… The scenes we saw yesterday [in Al-Tayouneh] were a link in a chain of events perpetrated by the U.S. [in Lebanon and] funded by certain Arab [elements]… Everyone in Lebanon must know that there is a force and a party in Lebanon that is acting in the service of the Americans and of Arab elements, and wishes to drag the country into civil war. Everybody must take a position on this." On October 23 he said: "The Lebanese Forces have placed themselves at the disposal of the enemies' plans, [helping them] to implement their goals, which are to spark internal strife and cause a rift in Lebanon. The Americans and Israelis want Lebanon to be plunged into internal strife… Whoever acts in the service of the American plans and the goals of its embassy is acting to destroy the country and its future… This group has turned itself into a Trojan horse in the service of criminal plans…"
The deputy head of Hizbullah's executive council, Sheikh Ali Da'moush, said in an October 15 Friday sermon: "What happened yesterday [in Al-Tayouneh] was a planned and deliberate criminal act perpetrated by the Lebanese Forces party [in response to] American incitement. [This incitement comes] in retaliation against the ones who exposed the [U.S.] plot to harm Lebanon and against the resistance and its allies and the ones who exposed the extent of the politicization of the investigation of the [Beirut] Port blast…"
Ibrahim Al-Amin, editor of the pro-Hizbullah Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar, said that Lebanese elements, including civil society organizations, Geagea's Lebanese Forces party, Judge Tarek Bitar and others were all U.S. agents in Lebanon. In several articles, he called them "fledglings of [foreign] embassies" who, since the blast in August 2020, have been acting to destroy the country on orders from "the great American chicken." "The lunatics among them, and they are many… have gone so far as to… blame the explosion on the resistance [i.e., Hizbullah]." In another article he posted after the Al-Tayouneh clashes, he wrote that "the Americans, the French, the British, the Germans, the Saudis and the Emiratis" are all "complicit in" and "directly responsible for” the events, and wondered if they think they will get away with it. 
Accusations against the U.S. and its "agents" were also posted by Hizbullah supporters on Twitter. Following the Al-Tayouneh clashes, Lebanese journalist Hussein Murtada, who is identified with Hizbullah, tweeted a composite photo of Lebanese Forces party head Samir Geagea, Judge Tarek Bitar and U.S. Ambassador Dorothy Shea, with the caption: "The American ambassador of destruction interfered in the events."
Hussein Murtada’s tweet
Hizbullah officials reiterate that, in addition to Geagea's party, the U.S. funds various civil society organizations, which are meant to confront Hizbullah and change the political balance in the upcoming parliamentary elections. Sheikh Ali Da'moush said on September 24: "All the American pressures [on Lebanon] failed, and they lost in the political [arena] just as they lost on the ground. [So now] they are looking for new political agents that will present themselves as saviors rescuing [the country] from corruption… The Americans’ options in the next stage include [employing] civil society organizations to whom they have extended financial and moral support. Now they are preparing the ground for [these organizations] to participate in the parliamentary elections so as to form a parliamentary majority and a new political echelon that will trumpet the slogan of honesty. In practice, these organizations are worse than the corrupt political circles, for they are directly and insolently linked to [foreign] embassies. They present themselves as champions of freedom, sovereignty and honesty, but nobody knows how much money they received after the [Beirut] Port incident…" Hizbullah Deputy Secretary-General Na'im Qassem also said in an October 9 speech in the Dahiya that the Americans interfere in Lebanon using civil society organizations loyal to them. "These elements," he said, "are amassing large amounts of money in order to destroy the country, change the public climate and confront the resistance. They do all this [knowing] it may lead to destruction and ruin…"
Hizbullah Officials And Supporters: U.S. Is An Enemy; Lebanese Must Rise Up Against It
Hizbullah officials and affiliates recently threatened to launch a campaign to end the U.S. influence in Lebanon, while clarifying that the organization knows how to hurt the U.S. and harm its interests. In a meeting with members of Lebanon's Union of Muslim Ulama, Hizbullah Deputy Secretary-General Na'im Qassem said that the resistance is entitled to use every legitimate means at its disposal to defend Lebanon and its people and confront the "American siege." He added: "We will not let anyone to attack us without retaliating. We will accept nothing except [a situation in which we are] strong and prepared for every challenge on every level…"
Hashim Safi Al-Din, head of Hizbullah's executive council, was more explicit in his threats, saying on October 3, 2021 that the organization will launch a campaign to purge the state institutions of American influence and that there are several ways to harm the Americans and their interests in Lebanon. In a speech he delivered in the village of Bint Jbeil in South Lebanon, he said: "America's influence in Lebanon affects the security, political, financial and economic levels. [The Americans] have a strong presence in Lebanon and a lot [of influence]. So far we have not launched a campaign to purge the state institutions of American [influence], but when the day comes and we wage such a campaign, the Lebanese will see something new. We have not done so [yet] because we know this country's power of endurance. The U.S. is an enemy no less hostile than Israel, and sometimes even more so. We look and listen and assess the Lebanese people's ability to withstand [such a campaign]…
"The campaign we launched regarding the fuel [i.e., Hizbullah's initiative to import Iranian fuel to Lebanon in disregard of the international sanctions that forbid this] is an escalation of [our] defiance of the discriminatory siege imposed by the U.S. and the West on Lebanon. It is not the last move [we can take], and I hope we won't need to take the second and third move, for we have many moves we can take, which will embarrass and make difficulties [for the Americans], and the cost [they will pay] may even be higher... We know how to hurt them and how to threaten their interests, not necessarily with weapons…"
An October 19 article on Hizbullah's Al-Ahed website repeated Safi Al-Din's threats. It stated that Nasrallah's claim in his speech that day, that Hizbullah has 100,000 soldiers, was a message to the U.S. and Israel that if they continued pushing Lebanon towards civil war, Hizbullah would launch its campaign to end the U.S. influence in Lebanon. The article said: "For the first time, and surprisingly, given Hizbullah's policy [until now], Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah disclosed a number related to Hizbullah's military array… [namely that it has] 100,000 fighters... The gist of [Nasrallah's] message is that [America's and Israel's] insistence on pushing the fools [i.e., Geagea and his followers] to start a civil war will be the last step towards ending the American influence in Lebanon. Or as Hizbullah executive council head Safi Al-Din put it: 'So far we have not launched a campaign to remove America's [influence] from the state institutions.' [But America's and Israel's] insistence on [pushing for a civil war] will be the starting point of this war…"
Shi'ite mufti Sheikh Ahmad Qabalan, who is close to Hizbullah, also called to end the American influence in Lebanon, saying: "It is inconceivable to leave the country in this state of complete paralysis and collapse… The state is drowning, the poor are becoming victims… and they are appeasing the U.S. by announcing Lebanon's bankruptcy… What we need to do is [launch] a national uprising against the U.S. and accept the [aid] offered by Iran, China or Russia. Whoever prefers darkness, poverty and drowning to [accepting] the Iranian, Chinese or Russian offer is betraying the rights of this deprived [Lebanese] people." Qabalan called "to end the U.S. patronage of the country, because allowing it to continue will bankrupt Lebanon, starve its people and cause the state to disintegrate and perish."
* H. Varulkar is director of research at MEMRI.
 Alahednews.com.lb, August 17, 2021; Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), August 18, 2021.
 Almanar.com.lb, August 19, 2021.
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 Alahednews.com.lb, October 3, 2021. In further remarks on October 13, Fadlallah said that the U.S. State Department's interference in the investigation, manifested in its support for the policy of Judge Bitar, was "an attempt to intimidate the Lebanese officials and keep them from bringing the investigations back to their legal path and remove them from the circle of politicization." Alahednews.com.lb, Alahednews.com.lb, October 13, 2021.
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 The reference is to the investigation into Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Al-Hariri's assassination, in which Hizbullah and figures close to it were implicated.
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