In an article in the London-based Emirati daily Al-Arab, Lebanese columnist Khairallah Khairallah discusses the deep crisis Lebanon is experiencing and states that 2022 was one of the hardest years in its history. The Arabs, he adds, regard Lebanon as a failed state and an Iranian base hostile to all the countries in the region. The world likewise ascribes no importance to Lebanon, says Khairallah, seeing it as a country that is effectively ruled by Hizbullah. He states that Lebanon's tragedy will only end when Iran's Rule of the Jurisprudent regime ceases to exist and the region undergoes a profound transformation.
Khairallah Khairallah (image: anfaspress.com
The following are translated excerpts from his article:
"2022 was one of the hardest years Lebanon has known since it emerged in its present boundaries in 1920 and since its declaration of independence in 1943. In fact, 2022 can be seen as the hardest year Lebanon has ever known, after it transpired that no reform of any kind is possible and that the deliberate and planned bloodshed continues, with the aim of completely transforming Lebanese society. Now that Lebanon's Shi'ite society has been transformed, [Hizbullah believes] it is time to apply this transformation to the entire [Lebanese] society, including every sector and every region, amid the current Arab and international indifference.
"The Arabs generally regard Lebanon as a failed state from the political and military perspectives, [a state] controlled by Hizbullah, namely by Iran. The Arabs have become accustomed to living without a Lebanon that has anything to export except captagon and [other] drugs. They have given up on Lebanon – which is an Iranian base – [although] they haven't given up on the Lebanese minds, which are welcome in the Gulf states for their extensive expertise. The Arabs have no use for Lebanon as a geographical entity, as long as the Lebanese brains go to the Gulf, which has become one of their last safe havens…
"Thanks to its weapons and various capabilities, the Iranian party [i.e., Hizbullah] has managed to turn Lebanon into a base that is hostile to anything Arab in the region. The best proof of this is the fact that Beirut has become the second most important city for the Yemeni Houthis – i.e., the Ansar Allah organization – who enjoy freedom of movement to and from this city. The Houthis also have a satellite channel that airs from the Lebanese capital with Hizbullah's protection and with the knowledge of the Lebanese [authorities], which are helpless to do anything about this reality. Lebanon can only watch as it becomes nothing more than an 'arena' that Iran uses for its own purposes by emptying it of every element of life and isolating it from the Arab world, especially from the Gulf and from the external modern world as a whole.
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"Hizbullah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah takes every opportunity to remind the people of the Gulf that Lebanon is party to the Iranian attack on them and that it is just a card in the hands of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He doesn't care if this harms Lebanese families that work in various Arab countries. The Iranian agenda, and the needs of Iran's sectarian [i.e., Shi'ite] expansion plan, take precedence over any other consideration.
"On the international level, Lebanon no longer has any importance [either], except on one level: that of defending Israel. 2022 was a decisive year, considering that it saw the closing of the only front that was still open vis-à-vis Israel: the south Lebanese front. The U.S. ultimately chose to sign an agreement with Iran to delineate the maritime border between Lebanon and Israel, which would not have been possible had Hizbullah not accepted this agreement and provided all the guarantees Israel needed. Israel will [now be able to] make use of the gas in [its] Karish gas field, whereas Lebanon's Qana field may or may not contain any gas, and [if it does] Israel will receive a share of the revenues, according to the agreement [it signed] with the French company TotalEnergies.
"The alarming aspect of the [agreement] on delineating the maritime border is that America now recognizes Hizbullah as the representative of the Lebanese government. It is not yet clear whether the U.S. administration will act according to the new reality on the ground, namely the Iranian occupation [of Lebanon], as it did in the past, after Lebanon was fully occupied by Syria in October 13, 1990.
"Former president Michel 'Aoun and his son-in-law Gebran Bassil, who were [officially] in charge when the agreement [with Israel] was signed, were just pretty window-dressing for the agreement. It is not yet clear whether the U.S. has accepted Iran's patronage of Lebanon. This is not entirely certain, since it seems that Hizbullah has not managed to derive the benefit it hoped to derive from this agreement, at least so far. [The agreement] is the first of its kind in that it guarantees Israel's security, while also guaranteeing that the gas [it extracts] from the Karish field will arrive in Europe. [Hizbullah] may lose its profit due to the recent attack on the Irish [UNIFIL] unit operating in South Lebanon, in which one of the unit's soldiers were killed.
"Lebanon's tragedy is that we know when [the trouble] started, but not when it will end. It started with the signing of the reprehensible Cairo Agreement in 1969 and will end only when a significant change occurs in the region. This change will occur when the internal situation in Iran deteriorates, and it is bound to arrive sooner or later, especially since it is already clear that the existing Iranian regime is unacceptable to the overwhelming majority of the Iranian people. The popular revolution that has been unfolding in Iran since the death three months ago of young Mahsa Amini [a young woman who died in police custody after being arrested for wearing her hijab 'improperly'] is no longer limited to any particular ethnic group, like the Kurds, but rather encompasses all of [Iran's] ethnic groups: the Persians and the Azeris, as well as the Arabs and Balochis.
"The present situation of the Iranian regime will not allow it do survive without employing the worst kinds of oppression. But the questions that arise are the following. How long will it take the Iranians to end this nightmare that has been going on for over 40 years? And as for Lebanon, will anything be left of it when the rule of the mullahs and the Revolutionary Guards in Iran [finally] ends? Will anything remain of Lebanon to rebuild?
"Time is not working in Lebanon's favor. This is what we learned in 2022, which showed us, first and foremost, that [the name] 'Hizbullah' is short for the two Shi'ite [forces, Hizbullah and Amal], whereas the Sunnis are divided and the Christians suffer not only from a loss of their role in Lebanon but also from ceaseless emigration, which may turn them in the near future into a minority whose situation is similar to that of the Sunnis in Iraq, in the best-case scenario."
 Al-Arab (London), December 18, 2022.
 Captagon is a brand name for the amphetamine drug fenethylline hydrochloride.
 In October 13, 1990 a Syrian-led military operation forced Lebanon's president at the time, Michel 'Aoun, from the presidential palace in Baabda, putting a final end to the Lebanese civil war.
 The 1969 Cairo Agreement between the Lebanese army and PLO chairman Yasser Arafat established principles under which the presence of Palestinian forces in southeastern Lebanon were tolerated by the Lebanese state.