Colour Revolution Stalks Lebanon
10-11-2019 – Lebanon has the distinction of being one state where almost all domestic issues are automatically international. Any political movement which arises there is automatically intertwined with the Middle East and further afield. The protests sweeping through Lebanon over the past four weeks are no exception. While the catalyst was ostensibly a “WhatsAppTax” – a tax applied to phone app communication technology which is widely used, the demonstrations occurring have much more to do with the US Empire losing its footing after the (not at all total) pullout of troops from Syria. There is no denying that Lebanon suffers from an economic malaise similar to the decline of capitalist economies in the West. Lebanon has no potable water supply, functioning public transport, and sporadic garbage collection. Nevertheless, the current protests display disturbing signs of being co-ordinated from abroad.
Veiled move against Hezbollah
Lebanon’s Islamic based national resistance movement Hezbollah played an undeniably heroic role in the US/Saudi led war for regime change on Syria. Hezbollah’s military wing actively assisted Syrian, Iranian and Russian forces in the defeat and expulsion of imperialist funded ISIS and Al Qaeda mercenaries. It is primarily for this reason that foreign forces – the prime suspect being Washington – have organised the current demonstrations in Lebanon which are effectively calling for regime change. In practice, it is a regime change operation aimed at Hezbollah, even though Hezbollah is not actually the regime! While Hezbollah’s political wing does retain some seats in the national parliament, its primary political power does not reside there. Its popularity also stems from its role in the military defeat of the Zionist Israeli state’s attacks on Lebanon in 2006. This is of course another reason why the Pentagon would like to see them sidelined.
Hezbollah’s leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah initially voiced support for the protests, even at the same time as warning that they could be used to “create a political vacuum”. He warned rally participants that their efforts could well be hijacked by certain political actors and/or foreign forces. This soon came to pass, and subsequently Nasrallah signalled that Hezbollah was withdrawing its support for the protests. Reportedly at one recent rally in Lebanon, fist fights broke out against some who were chanting against Hezbollah Leader Nasrallah, after he warned that (unspecified foreign forces) were exploiting the protests to plunge the country back into civil war. Few other conclusions can be drawn from the nature of the demonstrations, when, for example, roadblocks with eerie overtones of road blocks set up by the right-wing pro-US Hong Kong separatists emerge. Not only roadblocks, but human chains have also been set up by Lebanese protestors – a classical colour revolution tactic, from Hong Kong to the countries of the former Soviet bloc. Needless to say, colour revolutions – “internal” regime change efforts organised and funded by imperialism – are often the last resort of Western capital, especially after its defeat in Syria.
Linked to moves against Iran, via Iraq
The staged protests in Lebanon are not only aimed at Hezbollah, but also against the Islamic Republic of Iran – and similarly for its heroic role in the defeat of US/UK/FRA/AUST imperialism in Syria. The Iranian state has supported Hezbollah for some time, although the extent to which it does remains unclear. Simply for regional security against the ongoing threat of US imperialism, Iran is justified in cultivating allies in the region. Likewise in Iraq, Iran’s security can only be guaranteed by good relations with the government of Iraq, which came about as an unintended consequence of the US led invasion and overthrow of Iraq from 2003. Given that recent demonstrations in Iraq featured the protestors banging their shoes against posters of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the formidable leader of the Iran’s Revolutionary Guard elite Quds Force Qassim Soleimani, Iran’s fears appear to be confirmed.
The Lebanese Communist Party (LCP) appears to have played a treacherous role, in defiance of anything “communist” or even progressive. Despite some moves to target the banks for the declining economic situation, the LCP has given overall backing to the contrived movement, despite its rather obvious links to imperialist efforts to destabilise and even reverse the result of the war on Syria. It is extremely dangerous for any self-described party of the left to come behind the political manoeuvres of imperialist forces, even inadvertently. By doing so, the LCP demonstrate that the hammer and sickle they brandish as a party symbol is, at the least, misappropriated.
Irrespective of its defeat in Syria, US imperialism has not scaled down, but scaled up, its regime change operations in the Middle East and elsewhere. This time it is using internal (political destabilisation) rather than external (arming of barbaric mercenaries) methods. This must be opposed by working people in Lebanon, Iraq and internationally. Despite the governments of Lebanon, Iraq, Iran and Syria not approaching workers’ states, the left should call for the military defence of them against US imperialism. This includes Hezbollah and Iranian Revolutionary Guard, despite the socialist view of the role of religion in history. Marxists need to continue to recruit to their own banner, while striving to derail US backed colour revolutions, and to undermine international political support for them, wherever they appear.
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