Tension between the Gulf states, led by Saudi Arabia, and Hizbullah is currently very high, as reflected in measures taken recently by the Gulf states against this organization in response to its military involvement in Arab countries such as Syria, Iraq and Yemen, including its designation as a terror organization. Against the backdrop of this tension, the Lebanese daily Al-Mustaqbal, which belongs to Hizbullah's rivals in Lebanon, the March 14 Forces, and is known for its support for Saudi Arabia and its opposition to Hizbullah, published an article by Lebanese poet and literary critic Paul Shaoul in which he challenges Hizbullah's legitimacy as a resistance organization.
Shaoul states that, since Israel is no longer occupying any part of Lebanon, there is no longer any need for resistance in Lebanon. However, he says, Hizbullah and its patron, Iran, have invented an alternative target for resistance, namely the Arab states and the Sunni world led by Saudi Arabia. Shaoul claims that Hizbullah has turned from a resistance organization into a force that acts as an occupier in several Arab countries, including Syria, Iraq and Yemen; in fact, it is a Trojan horse manufactured by the Iranian intelligence services with the purpose of destroying the Arab states and the Sunni world. Shaoul notes that not only isn't Hizbullah waging resistance against Israel, it has actually abandoned the Palestinian cause altogether and is doing nothing to promote it. He expresses satisfaction that the Arab world has finally awakened to the danger posed by Iran and Hizbullah that want to annihilate it and is now ready to fight for its life. Hizbullah is no longer a resistance organization, he concludes, but rather a target for resistance.
It should be noted that Hizbullah has for years been accepted as a resistance organization by large sectors of Lebanese society, including by its rivals, the March 14 Forces, and many Lebanese governments even recognized Hizbullah as such in their guidelines, including the current government headed by Tammam Salam. The Al-Mustaqbal article is the first time that the March 14 Forces have explicitly challenged Hizbullah's status as a resistance organization. Moreover, on March 14, the day after it published Shaoul's article, Al-Mustaqbal published a column by Muhammad Mashmushi that stated, in a similar vein, that Hizbullah is no longer a resistance organization but only uses this designation as an excuse to further other goals.
The following are translated excerpts from Paul Shaoul's article:
Israel's Withdrawal From Lebanon Rendered Hizbullah's Resistance Unnecessary; Hizbullah Has Become An Occupier In Its Own Right
"Hizbullah's existence depends on the existence of a permanent enemy, imaginary or not, otherwise it [might as well] not exist. [Hizbullah] was originally created, or fabricated, in Iran in order to fight certain enemies that were chosen for it. That is why its militias were called 'resistance [forces],' because they fight an enemy that was designated [as such] not by Hizbullah itself but by [Iran], who created it like Frankenstein's monster.
"The Israeli occupation of South Lebanon was an act of aggression that required someone to fight it, and [that struggle] was called 'resistance'... Hizbullah thus received the label of resistance and it began carrying out the task required of it and waged a struggle against Israel until the latter withdrew. Today [only] the Shab'a Farms remain as a slogan and an excuse [for continued resistance].
"In the natural course of things, when the enemy withdraws the resistance withdraws as well, for it is no longer needed. But in the absence of an enemy, the slogan of 'resistance' must still be maintained in order to maintain legitimacy. How can [Hizbullah] achieve this? In one of two ways: by continuing to treat the enemy that has withdrawn as an enemy, though without confronting it, or else by having its maker [Iran] choose another enemy for it, [an enemy] that is not occupying its country or even part of it. This is how the resistance [Hizbullah] continued to exist without [actually waging] resistance, but remained as [a tool] in reserve, ready for [the day] when the enemy becomes an internal one... Since Hizbullah's resistance is purely sectarian [i.e., Shi'ite]... reflecting the identity of the one who invented it, Iran, anyone belonging to a different sect [than Iran i.e., the Sunni sect]... or to a different ethnic group [than the Iranians, i.e., to the Arab nation] becomes the enemy...
"Hizbullah thus acquired two identities: sectarian [i.e., Shi'ite] according to the faith of its guide [Iran], and Persian, according to [Iran's] ethnicity. This empties its resistance [of its essence] and gives it a different [essence], making [Hizbullah] an occupier. In its new garb, we find that this new faux-resistance [force, i.e., Hizbullah], instead of cultivating and uniting its country, is actually prospering as a dividing and destructive element. It took the place of the Israeli occupation in Lebanon, and also inherited from its 'enemy' [Israel] every characteristic that makes it an enemy of its country [Lebanon], of the Arab world and of Palestine. It became a militia without any identity [of its own], a mercenary, but possessing very large ambitions, starting with destroying its country, which it has begun to pulverize with its weapons...
"Thus, the original enemy, namely Israel, acquired a protected status and is now outside the priorities list and off [Hizbullah's] agenda. In fact, it is an ally whose strategy dovetails with Hizbullah's strategy of sparking sectarian fitnas, destroying the Arab world, carving it up and expelling its people, while making a pact with the Syrian regime..."
Hizbullah Has Turned Lebanon Into A Military Base From Which To Attack The Arab World, That Has Become Its Enemy
"Since this 'resistance' is [associated] with a party [Hizbullah] that is owned [by Iran] and with a [certain] Part [of Lebanon], it has turned Lebanon into military base... from which to attack the Arab world, which has become its enemy instead of Israel. This new Arab enemy justifies Hizbullah continuing to call itself a resistance [organization] that confronts sovereign countries and indigenous peoples and governments. Take for example Yemen: Iran plans to divide it by exploiting the presence there of a group that is close to the Shi'ites, namely the Houthis... As a resistance [organization], Hizbullah has sent its experts and fighters... to spark fitna and an armed revolution [in Yemen] in order to prepare the ground for extending the Persian influence into this country. Or take Iraq: [Iran] made a pact with the U.S. in order to topple the Sunni regime [there] and take over this country by means of sectarian fitnas [between] the Shi'ites [who support] Iran and the Iraqi Sunnis. Or take Syria: A Shi'ite minority rules a country in which 80% are Sunnis and violently opposes a civilian revolution - and the resistance party [Hizbullah] has joined [this minority] while waving a sectarian flag and defining the Syrian people as an enemy that must be killed, uprooted and expelled and whose cities must be destroyed.
"And all this [is happening] in the name of resistance... to the extent that Hizbullah's presence in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria has become, in essence, a replacement for Israel... Across the Arab world, [Hizbullah wages] the same campaign, [and employs] the same method and the same plan... Since Israel is no longer [Hizbullah's] primary enemy... that role has been taken by another enemy, namely the Gulf and especially Saudi Arabia... Iran has chosen the Saudi kingdom as a target, since it [represents] the solid bond between two elements: Arabism and Islam...
"Hizbullah's resistance has acquired many arms... and it no longer [sees] the Americans as the Great Satan, Israel as absolute evil, or Russia as the imperialist regime of the Orthodox [Church]. [The enemies] are now Sunni Islam, represented by Saudi Arabia, and Arabism, represented by the majority of the Arab nation - which [according to Iran] must both be dismantled in order to redraw the borders and create new states or mini-states, or even new peoples...
"How can Hizbullah be a resistance [organization] when it has become the enemy of its own country and of countries that never occupied its land? Moreover, how can it be a resistance [organization] when it takes part in occupying other countries? In Lebanon, Hizbullah has become an occupier endowed with every characteristic of the occupiers this country has known. Furthermore, how can this resistance [organization] continue to bear this title when, in the name of Iran, it attacks the borders of an Arab country, Saudi Arabia, occupies parts of Syria and uses Persian weapons to take control of the Lebanese people? Against whom is this resistance directed? Against the legitimate Arab regimes? Against the very existence of Islam? Against democratic phenomena? Moreover, how can it continue to be a resistance [organization] when it erases the borders of countries on the orders, with the funding, and according to the plan of the Persian state that [itself] occupies the Arab city of Ahwaz and three Arab islands [in the Persian Gulf], Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Moussa...?"
The Arab Genie Has Awakened To Oppose The Monstrous 'Resistance' If Hizbullah And Iran
Oh Mr. Hassan [Nasrallah], you talk to us of Palestine. Well, what have you done for Palestinian except thwart any solution of establishing an independent [Palestinian] state with its own borders and government? What have you done for Palestine except create schism within the Palestinian resistance, which serves Israel? What have you done for Palestinian except cause some of the [Palestinian] organizations affiliated [with you] to drag Israel into destroying Gaza? What have you done for Palestine except draw attention away from it by triggering disagreement among the Arabs that marginalized the Palestinian struggle and weakened its very foundations? What have you done for Jerusalem since the establishment of the Islamic Republic [of Iran in 1979]?... What have you done for the Palestinians in Syria except destroy the Al-Yarmouk refugee camp?... You have done nothing for them worth mentioning, but only harmed them and plotted against them... The boastful statements against Israel and in support of Jerusalem that often pepper the speeches of Khamenei and Nasrallah are nothing but dust thrown in [everyone's] eyes, nothing but high-flown rhetoric in attempt to remind people that Iran is 'standing fast' with Palestine. [This,] after it took all the weapons [that was directed] against Israel and directed them instead at the breast of the Arab peoples. Do Hizbullah and the Persians behind it think we believe them when they threaten Israel and the U.S. with empty slogans[?]...
"Hizbullah, you have done nothing since they invented you in the labs of the Iranian intelligence [apparatuses]! Excuse me, you are [worse] than Trojan horses within the Arab nation. You must understand now that the end has come for your attempts to assume new active roles... and that your influence, too, has grown very minimal. For the Arabs now realize that their existence is in danger and that the wars declared upon them [by Hizbullah and Iran] are more than just political. Therefore we now see them awakening and coming out against the plots to wipe them off the map. It has become a battle of life and death. Yes! And you, Iran, are the one who has awakened the Arab genie and prompted it to establish the legitimate resistance, which will never allow your monstrous resistance [to continue]!"
 See MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No 1232, Lebanon's Failure To Support Saudi Arabia In Struggle With Iran Sparks Crisis Between Lebanon And Saudi-Led Gulf, March 7, 2016.
 Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), March 14, 2016.
 Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), March 13, 2016.