We all agree that Lebanon should maintain a strong military defense against Israel’s designs in Lebanon. Where we do not agree is that Hezbollah should have the complete freedom to maintain a private army to stave off Israeli attack and in the process to empower one particular political side in Lebanese internal affairs. The question is why won’t Hezbollah agree to merge its arms into the national army? This can be done in such a way as to ensure those arms maintain some operational independence from the army but fall clearly within the command of the government.
Hezbollah claims that its weapons are not to be used for internal leverage. However, the crisis in May this year which ended with Hezbollah taking over Beirut militarily and pushing its weight around politically -a cisis which ended with the death of dozens and the terrorizing of those Beirutis who were least likely to support Hezbollah’s politics- clearly shows that this claim is meaningless at best, or an outright lie at worst.
So, the question for Hezbollah is, if we all agree that defending our country from Israeli aggression is a top priority, why can’t those capabilities come under the government’s command where they naturally should be? When this happens, the government can ensure the arming of the official resistance and provide stronger political support for this resistance.