Western press sees the situation in Lebanon through the eyes of 14 March camp. I might add that they sometimes cultivate their opinions and structure their analysis based on the Israeli government point of view. The deterrence game that is played now between Hezbollah and the Israeli state is the only thing preventing any clashes between the two and making the process of extracting oil and gas from the Lebanese international waters by the Israelis proceed slowly especially that Hezbollah threatened to blow up any Israeli oil installations.
Hezbollah can never dominate the Lebanese government or the Lebanese society due to many reasons among which:
1. Shia constitute only one third of the Lebanese population. Each sect resides its own historical territory and has its share in business, finance, politics, tourism, and all other aspect of the Lebanese state acknowledged by the other in written and unwritten accords. Being only one third of the population, the Shia cannot control society or establish an Iranian-like theocratic state.
2. Not all Sunni support Hariri’s camp especially that he allied with Sameir Jaja’ who was a civil war lord during the 1980s and the murderer of Prime Minister Rsheid Karami, President Franjieh’s son Tony and his family, and hundreds of Muslims. Many Sunni reject Hariri’s political agenda such as the Former Prime Ministers Huss, Karami, and Miqati and their supporters. A well as Some Sunni civil and Islamic organizations such as part of the Brotherhood and the AICP (whose members clashed with Hezbollah members in Beirut in 2010 yet continued supporting 8 of March camp despite Hariri’s attempts to sway them to his camp). Most of this Sunni camp rejects Hariri’s orientations not because they support Hezbollah or his camp but because Hariri’s project for Lebanon is suspicious. They believe he is taking the country to civil war under the false slogan of finding the truth about his father’s murderers.
3. Hezbollah keeps a close eye on Lebanese politics, but it is not concerned with controlling it. This movement’s participation in the government is not only minimal but his two ministers do not even hold sovereign ministries. Hussein al-Hajj Hassan is the Minister of Agriculture and Mohammad Fneish is the Minister of Administrative Development.
4. Every Lebanese knows that Hezbollah and ‘Amal’ movement, led by Nabeeh Berry, were never on good terms in the last two decades. Each was competing for expanding his sphere of influence among the Shia. They only became allies in 8 of March camp to face the Hariri-Western project that was devised for Lebanon after the assassination of Rafeq el-Hariri in 2005. Therefore, do not think that with the number of their ministers in the government they can control the Lebanese political landscape.
5. Lebanese politics reflects the diversity and complexity of the Lebanese society. It is not possible for any sect by itself to control any part other than what is decided for it in the written and unwritten accords throughout the Lebanese history.
6. It is true that Hezbollah has advanced weapons that grant him more power compared to other sects. Yet, all sects in Lebanon are armed, trained, and ready to fight another civil war. In the clash that I mentioned before between Hezbollah and the AICP members, a small-scale street war broke out in few seconds between both parties and expanded into many neighborhoods. There were four human casualties and a lot of material damage.
This is Lebanon. To analyze it accurately, you cannot just read about it, you need to live it.