The dispute continues to heat up between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon. After the cancellation of the Saudi gift of 3 billion dollars to the Lebanese Army, and the recall of Gulf citizens present in Lebanon, the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Ministers for the Interior of the Arab League – from which Syria has been excluded - qualified Hezbollah as «terrorists».

Hezbollah is the main organisation of the Lebanese Resistance to Israël. Created after an Israeli invasion in 1982, it models itself on the Bassijis of the Iranian Revolution, and receives the support of the Syrian Arab Army. Initially composed exclusively of Shia families, the resitance network now also includes Sunni and Christian combatants.

Principally supported by Syria during the period 1982-2005, it turned progressively to Iran after the Syrian Arab Army left Lebanon. During the period 2006-2013, it received a considerable arsenal from the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution. However, since the election of Sheikh Rohani in Iran, Hezbollah has been developing its own sources of finance by relying on the Lebanese and /or Shia diaspora overseas, mainly in Africa and Latin America. Following the signing of the 5+1 agreement with Iran, on the 14th July 2015, Hezbollah engaged with the Syrian Arab Army against the jihadists, while progressively distancing itself from Teheran.

Hezbollah entered Lebanese political life in 2005. Certain of its members lost no time in accepting corruption and adopting the life-style of other Lebanese politicians. The considerable funds that the party had to manage also attracted all sorts of opportunists. Despite this, the dedication and the selflessness of its combatants has never failed.

So today, Hezbollah manages a number of public services that the state has abandoned. Its adversaries or rivals therefore qualify it as a «State within the State», but it would be more objective to consider it as the only State in a country which has widely failed (no public budget for the last 11 years, the incapacity to ensure the elementary public services such as water, electricity and the collection of refuse, a hobbled army unable to resist Israel, etc.).

Saudi Arabia, which has just unofficially announced that it now possesses the atomic bomb, is presently attempting to upend the regional equation. The line of fracture will no longer be between the resistance or collaboration with Israël, nor even between the Shias and the Sunnis, but between Persians and Arabs.

As of now, the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Holland, and now also the Gulf States, consider Hezbollah – which is the leading figure of the Resistance to Israël – as «terrorist». As for the the European Union, it has established a facade of distinction between the military arm of the party, which it also qualifies as «terrorist», and the political arm (2 ministers and 14 deputies, including two Sunnis and a Christian) with which it maintains good relations.

Since 1992, Israël has been accusing Hezbollah of perpetrating terrorist attacks overseas, like the attacks in Buenos-Aires (1992 and 1994), or the attack in Bourgas (2012) – noting that Bulgaria is a member of the European Union. However, these accusations, which have been widely developed and spread around for years, seem to be made up of whole cloth.

Saudi Arabia, which has been secretly allied with Israël since at least 2013, and participated in the operation in Yemen under Israeli command, seems to want to bring Hezbollah into the Iranian orbit so that Teheran – now allied for certain subjects with Washington – will transform it into a mere Shia militia to the detriment of the Resistance.

Washington, which was hoping to hand over to the Islamic Republic of Iran the role which was once managed by the Shah, that of the «Near East Police», must now deal with the demands of both Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Pete Kimberley