Logo of Hezbollah’s Municipal Activity Association (website of Lebanon’s municipalities, July 19, 2012)
Dr. Mustafa Badr al-Din, chairman of the Municipal Activity Association (Al-Akhbar, March 22, 2018)
Preparation and widening of dirt paths prior to paving them in the village of Al-Dalafa (Facebook page of the Municipal Activity – The Second Region, August 20, 2019).
“Jihadi trip” organized by the Aramta municipality to the Tomb of Abu Rkab (Facebook page of the Municipal Activity – The Second Region, August 10, 2019).
Partnership with the state of Lebanon – procession marking Lebanon’s Army Day in the village of Mashghara (Facebook page of the Municipal Activity, August 3, 2019)
Seminar on financing small businesses by the EU, organized by the Sohmor municipality, which is headed by a Hezbollah-affiliated mayor (Facebook page of the Sohmor municipality, August 24, 2019)
Delegation of the Mashhad municipality (in Iran) visiting southern Lebanon (Al-Manar, July 9, 2019)
- Hezbollah constructs a Shiite “mini-state” among the Shiite community in Lebanon, which caters to the needs of Shiite inhabitants in all spheres of life. For this purpose, Hezbollah, with massive Iranian support, is engaged in establishing a civilian system, which operates alongside its military infrastructure, in the spheres of education, culture, health, welfare, finance, sports, construction, agriculture, and more.
- The social institutions established by Hezbollah with Iranian support, and their intensive civilian activity, provide the Shiite residents of Lebanon with a wide variety of services of the sort which is usually provided by the state, while taking advantage of the weakness of the Lebanese central government and years of neglect of the Shiite community. Hezbollah’s extensive civilian activity is designed to create among the Shiites in Lebanon a “resistance society” which supports Hezbollah in its struggle against Israel.
Hezbollah’s civilian activity also includes the municipal field in municipalities of regions with a Shiite population. In view of the rural nature of most of Shiite society, Hezbollah attaches major importance to local government in towns and villages and maintains regular representation there. Through power positions at the municipal level (see below) and the provision of services to the local residents in cities, towns and villages, Hezbollah wins major influence on the ground. However, Hezbollah does not only invest its own resources in the provision of municipal services. Its activity in this field, at least according to its opponents, also constitutes an important source of finance for the activity of Hezbollah’s civilian infrastructure. The staff unit which regulates Hezbollah’s activity in the local government is the Municipal Activity Association (which is also called the Municipal Activity Unit), with representatives in Shiite population centers throughout Lebanon.
- Hezbollah’s popularity among the Shiite population and its intensive municipal activity were reflected in Hezbollah’s landslide victory in the latest municipal elections (held on May 2016). Hezbollah’s candidates were elected mayors in important Shiite cities such as Nabatieh, Jebchit, Bint Jbeil and Ghaziya in southern Lebanon, and Baalbek in the Bekaa Valley. Unusual in this context was the city of Tyre, in southern Lebanon, where a candidate who is not clearly affiliated with any political power but probably leans to the Amal movement was elected. Hezbollah-affiliated mayors have the ability to contribute to Hezbollah’s influence on the local population and develop Hezbollah’s local civilian institutions.
Structure of the study
- The study includes the following sections:
- Direction of the municipal activity
- Methods of the activity of the Municipal Activity Association
- Collaborations of the Municipal Activity Association with other institutions
- Hezbollah’s branches in towns and villages
- Prominent figures on the municipal level
- Collaboration with local government officials in Iran