Hizbullah's Corona Quagmire

(Washington Institute for Near East Policy) Hanin Ghaddar - At Hizbullah's urging, the Lebanese government continued to allow flights from coronavirus-stricken Iran as late as mid-March, despite calls from civil society figures and some political parties to suspend them. Even after the airport was officially closed, Hizbullah used unofficial means to bring people in from Iran. Unofficial sources indicate that the number of Lebanese citizens infected with coronavirus is much larger than the government is reporting, particularly within Hizbullah's core Shia community. A Guardian report cites a number of Lebanese officials stating that Hizbullah has quarantined neighborhoods in many southern towns and placed its own guards outside these areas. Also of concern are Lebanon's 115 border crossings with Syria, through which untold numbers of people and materiel are still being smuggled in by various actors. The writer is a visiting fellow at The Washington Institute.

2020-04-22 00:00:00

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