Lebanon’s National Initiative to Face Iran’s Influence

Lebanese politicians and religious men, as well as cultural, media and social figures, are seeking to launch a new political movement to “protect the state and the constitution, end the imbalance of power in favor of Hezbollah and confront the Iranian hegemony over Lebanon,” Asharq al-Awsat reports.

The initiative is based on the assumption that the political arrangements that Lebanon witnessed during the past year “have enabled Iran to control the Lebanese decision and increased the fears of sliding towards normalization of relations with the Syrian regime.”

Launched by prominent Lebanese intellectual Dr. Radwan al-Sayyed and former coordinator of the March 14 Forces General Secretariat, former MP Fares Soueid, the initiative will seek to “liberate Lebanon from Iran’s influence and to return it to Arab legitimacy, since the task of lifting the Iranian guardianship over Lebanon is a shared national responsibility.”

“The movement consists of a group of independents from all sects, some of whom were in political movements and are no longer part of those movements,” Sayyed said in comments to Asharq al-Awsat.

He pointed out that more than 20 development and service groups have joined the initiative, and formed a coordination committee to unite the vision and develop the program of work for the coming phase.

The National Initiative Movement is based on four principles: First, the maintenance of Taif and the Constitution, the second is the fight against illegal weapons and the extension of the state’s authority over all the Lebanese territories; the third is the consolidation of the Lebanese legitimacy, while the fourth principle is rebuilding the state and adopting internal policies that are free of corruption,” Sayyed said.

“There are those in Lebanon who are proud of providing stability by surrendering to Hezbollah’s conditions and military strength, but they must realize that the balance of power is unstable,” Soueid said, for his part, emphasized that the movement was aimed at prioritizing the national will.

Hezbollah is involved in nearly every fight that matters to Iran and, more significantly, has helped recruit, train and arm an array of new militant groups that are also advancing Iran’s agenda.

Founded with Iranian guidance in the 1980s as a resistance force against the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon, Hezbollah became the prototype for the kind of militias Iran is now backing around the region. Hezbollah has evolved into a virtual arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, providing the connective tissue for the growing network of powerful militias.

The preparatory committee of the National Initiative Movement is preparing its draft document, which will be discussed at a meeting on November 26, focusing on the need to extend the sovereignty of the state on the entire Lebanese territories in accordance with the Taif Agreement and international legitimacy resolutions.