ASSESSMENTS

Lebanon’s Crises Force Hezbollah to Turn Inward

MIN READFeb 5, 2021 | 18:16 GMT

A Hezbollah flag flutters on the Lebanese side of the border with Israel on Sept. 2, 2019.

(MAHMOUD ZAYYAT/AFP via Getty Images)

Hezbollah will be more internally focused on Lebanon in 2021 as it grapples with a unique confluence of substantial political unrest, an unprecedented financial crisis and a new wave of social and health challenges -- a turn that will intensify political frictions in Lebanon and decrease the extent of the group’s operations elsewhere in the Middle East. A years-long political crisis and wide-scale anti-government protests that have engulfed Lebanon are now commanding much of Hezbollah’s focus. In an unusual dynamic, some of the protests have targeted the group itself in areas of southern Lebanon where it has nearly always enjoyed support. Hezbollah is also grappling with substantial economic setbacks because of Lebanon’s unprecedented financial crisis, a decrease in funding from Iran (its primary external supporter), and recent sanctions implemented by the administration of former U.S. President Donald Trump. Compounding these challenges, Hezbollah is now devoting more resources to the COVID-19...

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