The Growing Hizbullah Threat to the Druze in Lebanon and Syria

(Middle East Institute) ETANA Syria - In Lebanon, Hizbullah is leveraging its political allies within the Druze political establishment to isolate and weaken Walid Jumblatt, currently the most prominent Hizbullah and Syrian regime critic among the country's Druze. Hizbullah is granting perks and privileges to Jumblatt's main rivals. Clashes have erupted between pro- and anti-Jumblatt forces in Lebanon, leading to several deaths. The Druze of Suwayda province in southern Syria have enjoyed more than half a decade of relative autonomy. Druze community militias have established checkpoints and enacted community policing. Today, as the Syrian regime seeks to consolidate its power and authority across the entire country, there have been multiple clashes between Druze militias and pro-regime forces. A number of prominent Druze military leaders in the province have been killed or faced assassination attempts. Hizbullah - and by extension Iran - have established a wide network of political, military, and cultural relationships in Druze areas of Syria as part of a concerted effort to seize control of decisionmaking. As a result, 60% of all local armed groups in Suwayda province, including Bedouin militias, are now affiliated with Hizbullah.

2019-10-25 00:00:00

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