In Lebanon, Hezbollah now controls broad areas of political and social life and has become a state within a state. How can the “Party of God” be confronted.

After last week’s explosions, Beirut and all of Lebanon are in a state of shock. Well over a hundred dead, thousands injured, the city’s streets littered with rubble. Hundreds of thousands have lost their homes. And people’s anger is growing. Once again, the Lebanese government is proving unable to cope with disaster. Ever since the end of the civil war, the country has been saddled with a religious political system with proportional representation. The Iranian-funded Shiite Hezbollah in particular has Lebanon in a stranglehold. Hezbollah leaders are purportedly busy inspecting the harbour where 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate apparently exploded.

In Lebanon, no important political decisions are taken any more without Hezbollah, the Shiite “party of God”. Since the end of the civil war in 1990, multi-ethnic and multi-religious Lebanon has been exposed to growing political divisions. Supported and financed by Iran, Hezbollah now threatens to destabilize the country and the region. As a political party, Hezbollah holds two cabinet positions in the government. The Sunni Prime Minister Saad Hariri is dependent on the goodwill of Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s Secretary General − not least because Hezbollah’s militia is far stronger than the Lebanese army. In his impressive speeches, Nasrallah threatens not only Israel, but also the US. Israel sees Hezbollah as the extended arm of its arch- enemy Iran. A renewed war between Hezbollah and Israel would raze Lebanon to the ground and also cause considerable damage in Israel. Tensions between the US and Iran increase the risk of conflict. This film shows how Hezbollah has skillfully increased its power in recent years and developed into a state within a state. But there is growing resistance. Civil society forces are trying to overcome religious conflicts and use democratic means to break new ground.