Hezbollah believes it must be more accommodating to other Lebanese parties if it wants to maintain its strength in Lebanon if Syrian President Bashar Assad falls.
This follows a report by the newspaper that Hezbollah issued a statement on Christmas: “The teachings of Jesus Christ – which inspire every philanthropist – contradict what the region is witnessing in terms of injustice affecting our Christian brethren in Palestine and the region.”
Difficult circumstances make for unlikely alliances.
Hezbollah is increasingly clashing with Sunnis in Lebanon, part of a spillover of violence from neighboring Syria. Hezbollah, which is allied closely with Iran, is working with its ally to keep Assad in power.
The Syrian rebels are predominately Sunni, with Islamist elements taking part in a great deal of the fighting. The rebels seek to topple Assad’s regime and are being supported by Sunni Arabs throughout the region, including in Lebanon.
Arab Christians throughout the Middle East have also been under pressure from Sunnis since the Arab uprisings began two years ago. Many have fled the region and those who remain are very worried over their future, as Sunni Islamists have come to power in various countries and make up the main opposition movements in many others. The Sunni Islamist surge has all of the other sects and minorities on the defensive, with many seeking alliances among themselves despite differing ideologies.
Shi’ites and Christians are minorities in the Middle East and the rise of Sunni Islamists has put them in a predicament.
Shi’ites control governments in Iraq, Iran and Lebanon. In Lebanon, though, power and demographics are somewhat balanced, with Sunnis and Christians making up the other major factions.
Hezbollah finds itself wedged between anti-Assad Sunni rebels in Syria and their Sunni supporters in Lebanon. This is not to mention the financial, material and manpower support coming to the rebels from other Arab countries. With its strong ally Assad under threat, Hezbollah is beginning to feel anxious about being increasingly isolated in the region, and having to face Israel with less support.
In turn, Syrian Christians, who have traditionally been allied with Assad, have been fleeing to join their brethren in Lebanon, which remains one of the safest Arab countries for Christians.
Numerous recent reports mention the warming relations of the Christians in Lebanon and Hezbollah as they unite against the Sunnis.