Hizbullah Under Pressure

(Weekly Standard) David Schenker - While the demise of Hizbullah is far from imminent, regional developments threaten to undermine the group's preeminent position in Lebanon. The uprising in Syria threatens to topple the Assad regime, interrupt Hizbullah supply lines, and leave the Shiite Party of God surrounded by a sea of Sunni Muslims. The militia has responded by lashing out against (and perhaps killing its) local detractors, highlighting its anti-Israel agenda, and doubling down on Assad. Now the proliferation of body bags returning from Syria is becoming a problem for the organization. In Lebanon itself, Hizbullah stands to lose the next elections and control of the government. While Hizbullah itself continues to command broad support among Shiites, the organization's Christian coalition partner, the Free Patriotic Movement led by Michel Aoun, appears to be losing popularity. At the same time, Lebanon's Druze community headed by Walid Jumblatt is poised to bolt from the Hizbullah-led bloc and realign with the remnants of the pro-West, March 14 coalition, enabling it to form a government. Hizbullah remains dangerous, but barring some dramatic change in the trajectory of events in Syria, Hizbullah's days of dominating Lebanon are numbered. The writer is director of the Program on Arab Politics at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

2012-10-26 00:00:00

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