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Tuesday 20th March 2018

Mount Lebanon Tensions Signal Break Up Of Hezbollah Backed Militant Groups


7Dnews London

Tue, 04 Dec 2018 15:41 GMT

The recent rising tensions in the Mount Lebanon region have shed light on the relationship between Hezbollah and the various militant groups operating inside the Lebanese border. Former Minister Wiam Wahhab stated that Hezbollah has even been in touch with Prime Minister designate Saad Hariri to inform him that intervention by the armed forces in pursuit of judicial proceedings has the potential to cause a civil war. Wahhab added that Hezbollah does not accept this kind of pressure on any of its allies, stating that “any further inquiries regarding the legal action should from now on be directed to the Hezbollah Secretary-General.”

Ever since 2014, militant groups backed by Hezbollah have started appearing within different Muslim sects in Lebanon and in Palestinian camps. Some of the groups dispersed after certain political compromises, judicial rulings, and national security strategies were put in place. Most of the time, these Hezbollah-backed groups would break up of their own accord after clashing with other militant groups from different allegiances.

These militant groups belong to the Shia, Sunni, Druze, and Alawi sects of Islam, and sometimes boast ties to Palestinian organisations with Syrian affiliations. These groups, also known as the Lebanese Resistance Brigades, collectively started to dissolve after Hezbollah offered the Lebanese State governmental security coverage in 2014 because their existence brought about a political crisis, especially after Minister of Interior Nohad Al Mashnouk demanded an indefinite disbanding of the Brigades.  

Wahhab’s Tawheed Party is considered the last of the Brigades. So far, the judicial process has shown great determination in enforcing the law throughout the territory of Lebanon. The ability of the Lebanese internal security forces to enter the Wahhab-leaning Jahiliya area through the Progressive Socialist Chouf district attests to this resolve.

While the pro-Wahhab forces may still have a foot-hold in Jahiliya, this does mark the beginning of the end for the brigade, as a Druze source told 7DNews. The source indicated that Walid Jumblatt, the Druze leader, insists on “ending this unnatural situation” in Mount Lebanon soon. The campaign, however, led to the murder of Wahhab’s bodyguard. Lebanese authorities have confirmed that Mohammed Abu Diab, Wahhab’s bodyguard, was shot by a bullet from his own camp.

Apart from Wahhab, armed confrontations in the Mieh Mieh camp erupted between Palestinian refugees in Sidon and the Hezbollah-backed Ansarollah on one hand and the Fatah movement and Palestinian Security Forces on the other. These confrontations ended in a settlement forcing all Hezbollah-funded militants out of the camp for good.

Palestinian sources close to 7DNews spoke about the escape of Ansarollah’s Secretary General, Jamal Sulayman, to Syria. Reports claim that Hezbollah may have instigated his and his family’s escape, especially after several bloody battles led to the death of 5 people and the injury of dozens more during the course of three weeks.

Before the Mieh Mieh confrontations, 2014 saw the start of security clashes around the Beirut area of Tariq El Jdideh between those that follow Hezbollah-supported Shakr al Burjawi and others, which only ended when the Lebanese Army intervened. These clashes led to the death of one person and the wounding of two others.  

After the Lebanese Army took control of the area and seized one of Barjawi’s headquarters near the Sports City Stadium, Al Burjawi disappeared. His file is currently with the Lebanese judiciary and he has already been sentenced in absentia by the military court under the direction of Brigadier General Hussein Abdullah to one year’s imprisonment, although he is entitled to pay a fine of 6.8 million Lebanese Lira instead.

Similarly, the Democratic Arab Party leader Rifaat Eid succumbed to the army’s plan for the Lebanese North, especially since the implementation of the security strategy for Tripoli ended many clashes in the Jabal Mohsen and Bab Al Tabana areas. Sources in the North state that Eid has escaped to another territory close to the Syrian border.

Eid is the son of Ali Eid, a former Lebanese Deputy for the Alawi sect in Northern Lebanon.

It has become apparent that, acting together, the Lebanese security forces and the judicial process have been able to break up Hezbollah-backed armed factions within the country, despite political campaigns launched by Hezbollah to try and garner support for their militant groups. For now, the Lebanese still have to deal with militant groups affiliated to Hezbollah or Damascus, such as the Popular Front – General Command party in Bekaa and the armed groups that form in Hezbollah’s security zones.

Meanwhile, it seems that Wiam Wahhab has established an armed group in Syria and announced his involvement in military clashes in villages and Druze towns in Suwayda and Quneitra alongside the Syrian Regime.

Middle East