Strong criticism was heard in Lebanon following the celebrations marking the return of Hezbollah’s prisoners, notably Samir Kuntar.

A variety of publications found in south Lebanese villages during the second Lebanon war

A variety of publications found in south Lebanese villages during the second Lebanon war

D.  Nohara for Reuters, July 16

D. Nohara for Reuters, July 16

Hezbollah’s true source of authority   Lebanon surrenders to Hezbollah
A variety of publications found in south Lebanese villages during the second Lebanon war   D.  Nohara for Reuters, July 16

A variety of publications found in south Lebanese villages during the second Lebanon war. They praise the teachings and work of the Islamic revolution leaders in Iran, headed by supreme leader Ali Khamenei, Hezbollah’s source of authority.


The prisoners released in the prisoner swap at a welcoming ceremony at the Beirut Airport. They are shown shaking hands with Lebanese President Michel Suleiman, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, and PM Fouad Siniora (D. Nohara for Reuters, July 16). The Lebanese government members were efficiently incorporated into Hezbollah’s propaganda campaign, which starred the terrorist murderer Samir Kuntar.


1. Now that celebrations and ceremonies produced by Hezbollah to mark the prisoner swap with Israel have ended, some Lebanese are criticizing both the deal and Hezbollah’s actions and future plans. The criticism is driven by the concerns of Hezbollah’s opponents regarding the organization’s increasing power in the newly established government and in Lebanese politics in general.

2. That criticism was reflected in articles recently published in the Lebanese media questioning Hezbollah’s success in the prisoner swap, and emphasizing the heavy price paid by Lebanon both in lives and property damage in the second Lebanon war. What is more, two of the articles (Al-Hayat, Al-Mustaqbal) raised concerns over Hezbollah’s intention to establish an Islamic theocracy in Lebanon and turn it into a country of "resistance.” Such a country would be subject to the "rule of the jurisprudent” in Tehran (i.e., supreme leader Khamenei as the highest religious authority) and exposed to Israeli retaliation, which would severely harm Lebanon .

3. Following are the main points of articles recently published in Beirut and the London-based Lebanese press.


Article by Fawzi al-Zidan (Al-Hayat, July 22)

4. The London-based Lebanese newspaper Al-Hayat recently published an article warning of Hezbollah’s desire to establish an Islamic theocracy in Lebanon and of the emergence of a "resistance society” (i.e., a society based on terrorism). According to the article, Hezbollah is an extension of the Iranian Islamic revolution, which strives to win over the Lebanese Shi’ites. It does so by providing them with welfare services and by using weapons designed to "liberate” south Lebanon , home to a Shi’ite majority. The article claims that Hezbollah is planning to establish a country which will subscribe to its ideology and be subjected to the "rule of the jurisprudent” in Tehran .2 The main purpose of the ruling jurisprudent (i.e., the Iranian supreme leader) is to export the Islamic revolution to the Arab and Muslim world until it is possible to establish a Shi’ite Muslim state.

5. The article warns that Hezbollah may successfully compromise Lebanon ‘s sovereignty and render its military and security forces helpless, and lashes out at Hezbollah’s Christian and Shi’ite supporters. The article asks whether the Shi’ite elites agree with Hezbollah’s plan to establish a totalitarian religious regime, or whether they wish to live in an open, pluralistic, democratic society. It concludes by asking what kind of Lebanon Hezbollah is interested in: " Lebanon as a country for everyone, or Lebanon as a country for itself only.”

Article by Fares Khashan (Al-Mustaqbal, July 27)

6. The article addresses the controversial issue of including the "resistance” (i.e., terrorism) in the basic principles of the new government. Hezbollah, it states, cannot give up even one paragraph in the government’s basic principles which extend the legitimacy granted to the "Islamic resistance in Lebanon .” According to the article, Hezbollah will not be able to make any concessions in that respect, even if it is convinced that the agreed-upon term "resistance” is not exclusively in Lebanon ‘s interests but rather in Iran ‘s. The article notes that in the not too distant past, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah boasted of considering himself a factor in the "rule of the jurisprudent.” The article further states that the implication is that any activity taken by Hezbollah would depend on a religious legal order granted by the supreme source of authority in Iran . 3

7. Therefore, accepting Hezbollah’s demands does not mean merely surrendering to the organization itself, but bending Lebanon to the will of the Iranian regime, with the result that Lebanon’s future will depend on decisions made by Iran. If Iran decides that sparking a confrontation with Israel will strengthen its negotiating position, then Lebanon , which approved the legitimacy of the Iranian-natured "resistance,” will be exposed to unprecedented devastation. Accordingly, the state must be separated from the "resistance,” because otherwise any attempt by Hezbollah to compromise Israel ‘s security, both in Israeli territory and abroad, could result in Lebanon ‘s complete annihilation. Israel has its sights not only on Hezbollah but also on the Lebanese state which shelters it just like Afghanistan ‘s situation vis-à-vis Al-Qaeda.

Elias Harfoush (Al-Hayat, July 22)

8. The article claims that the celebrations marking the release of the prisoners and the receipt of the bodies proved just how central Hezbollah was to Lebanese politics, and how helpless the country was in the face of its growing power, in both the military and public spheres. For instance, Hezbollah managed to force negotiations (regarding the abducted soldiers), holding them with international factors such as the UN Secretary General and the International Red Cross, independently of Lebanon . Lebanon sat idly on the sidelines and did nothing but heed the call to embrace the released prisoners upon their arrival. The article further states that a political party having such a high status is unprecedented in the modern history of Lebanon . According to the article, there were political parties which armed themselves, took over regions, collected protection money and tried to control the country’s decision-making processes. However, Hezbollah has outdone them by holding negotiations on an equal footing with major world organizations which have no qualms about maintaining contacts with it.

9. After such an achievement, the article claims, it is now impossible to ask Hezbollah to relinquish its status. There is no one in Lebanon able to raise such a demand, and even if it were raised, Hezbollah has no intention of complying. Hezbollah is committed to the "resistance” (i.e., terrorism) and Hezbollah’s plan of "resistance” therefore becomes the working plan for all Lebanese and for all the country’s institutions. As a result, Hezbollah becomes the party which dominates Lebanese strategy instead of being one party in a national unity government. In such a situation, Lebanon has only two options: it can either accept its fate and accommodate Hezbollah, or it can confront it.

1 Follow-up to our Information Bulletin: "Two years after the second Lebanon war the bodies of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser were exchanged for five Lebanese prisoners, including the terrorist murderer Samir Kuntar, and 199 terrorist remains. Hezbollah exploited the exchange to produce a propaganda campaign aiming to strengthen its political position in Lebanon” (July 16, 2008).

2 During an interview given on April 16, 2007 to Al-Kawthar, an Iranian Arabic-language television channel, Sheikh Na’im Qassem, Nasrallah’s deputy, admitted that, rather than following its own policy, Hezbollah takes orders from the Iranian leadership—even on such clearly military-operative issues as the confrontation with Israel. This is based on "the ruling jurisprudent” ( al-wali al-faqih ), part of the ideology of the Iranian Islamic regime, as set forth by Ayatollah Khomeini. Describing Hezbollah’s source of authority, Sheikh Na’im Qassem used the term al-wali al-faqih (the ruling jurisprudent), the title used by Ayatollah Khomeini and his successor, supreme leader Ali Khamenei. For details see our Information Bulletin: "In an interview granted to an Iranian TV channel, Sheikh Na’im Qassem, Hassan Nasrallah’s deputy, stresses that Hezbollah’s policy of terrorist operations against Israel (including suicide bombings and rocket fire) requires jurisprudent permission of the Iranian leadership” (April 29, 2007).

3 Hezbollah considers Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei its source of authority, which was reflected in materials seized by the IDF in the second Lebanon war.