Lebanon is still a mess.


"Lebanon's lawmakers elected Michel Aoun, an lran-backed politician and former general, as president Monday, ending more than two years the country has gone without a leader.

Aoun, 81, is an ally of Hezbollah, the Shiite militia and political party backed by Iran that has helped Syrian President Bashar Assad survive a five-year civil war on Lebanon’s border.

The vote for Aoun, by 83 of parliament’s 127 members, shows Iran-backed political factions shouldered past those aligned with Saudi Arabia, replacing Syria as Lebanon’s chief foreign power broker.

Aoun’s “victory now is a victory for Hezbollah and that alliance, and certainly a kind of black eye for Saudi Arabia,” said Paul Salem, vice president for policy and research at the Middle East Institute, a think tank in Washington."  USA Today


President Aoun has now stated that he will seek to align Lebanon with the policies of;  Hizbullah, Iran, the Syrian government and Russia.  This is a remarkable change of heart since he fought so long and so hard to keep the Shia in Lebanon and Iran from wielding a compelling power in Lebanon.  I hold the US and its Israeli inspiration to be largely responsible for this change of heart.

IMO the US has consistently backed the Hariris (father and son) in Lebanon in the evident belief that they were our men.  This has been a mistake.  Both Hariris have always been much closer to Saudi Arabia than to the US and Aoun sees this as a profound interference in Lebanon's affairs and her prospect for survival on Syria's doorstep.  This support dates back to the early 80s when Philip Habib, Richard Murphy and Rafik Hariri swanned around the ME together trying to arrange an end to the Lebanon civil war.  Rafik was Lebanese born but; had moved to Saudi Arabia, had made vast a amount of money in Saudi royal family sponsored government construction contracts, had become a Saudi subject (citizen), and accepted the Wahhabi version of Islam.  The airplane that the Three Amigos traveled together in from country to country was the product of Rafik's exceptionally good financial fortune in Saudi Arabia. 

After the rump Lebanese parliament accepted an armistice agreed on at Taif in Saudi Arabia largely over the heads of the Lebanese, it was decided by the Three Amigos (and those behind them)  that Rafik Hariri, a Saudi Arabian national would assume an unelected role as PM of Lebanon after being re-granted Lebanese citizenship.

Saad Hariri, Rafik's son, returned to Lebanon with his father, resumed Lebanese identity and succeeded to his father's role as instrument of Saudi and US power in Lebanese politics.   He has fulfilled that role ever since.

Now, we see that Aoun, aligned with the adversaries of Hariri's sponsors, has appointed Saad Hariri as PM and head of government in Lebanon. 

Does anyone think this is a stable arrangement?  pl  


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15 Responses to Lebanon is still a mess.

  1. JohnH says:

    With this news, it looks like Israel’s next war will be waged against Lebanon, not the Palestinians, maybe before the inauguration in January?

  2. John Habib says:

    Lebanon has always been a mess with shifting political alliances all over. However, I heard there was an agreement almost 2 years ago between Aoun and Hariri that Aoun would become president and Hariri PM. I think the Americans and Saudis balked at the time.
    Recently, Hariri and his supporters lost big time in Tripoli’s municipal elections and almost lost Beirut (their main stronghold). They would have lost Beirut had it not been for the fact that Aoun and his party and Hezbollah did not challenge them. Hariri had no choice: either accept Aoun as president and himself become PM or continue to slide in the Sunni street. For Aoun and hezbollah, it was probably easier to deal with and sustain a weakened Hariri rather than have someone else becoming standard bearer for the Sunnis.
    One more factor is the US election. All parties probably agreed to something predictable and filling the 2 vacant seats (PM + president) rather than deal with the uncertainty of a new US administration.

  3. BraveNewWorld says:

    Both the KSA and Israel are against this so I am sure th KSA, Israel and the CIA will be hard at work to destabilise the govt. The first thing to watch is whether Congress threatens to cut off support for the Lebanese military if they don’t stage a coup.

  4. bemildred says:

    It depends on how the war goes. If Assad’s government stays, it will probably make Lebanon stable too, otherwise not. Assad owes Hezbollah, and I expect Hezbollah will get what it wants in Lebanon, domestically. Which is probably good for Lebanon, if not Hariri, since it needs to have a government that functions somewhat.
    So since Assad looks likely to stay a while, it will probably be stable for a while.
    We appear to be setting off to attack Raqqa from the North with our friends the Kurds, and as near as I can tell Russia and Assad are not too upset about it.
    Gen. Dunford is in Turkey now explaining this to them there:
    You also have all that naval might off the coast there and reports in the Iranian press that Assad and the Kurds have made a deal.
    I am wondering what is going on but it looks interesting.

  5. Jack says:

    I don’t follow Lebanese politics nor am I familiar with their political system. It would seem to me if Aoun became President with the backing of Hezbollah, he must have appointed Saudi plant Hariri with Narallah’s acquiescence. In your opinion why do you think he was named PM?

  6. turcopolier says:

    It was the only way out of the political stalemate that had paralyzed the country because we would not allow Hizbullah a significant role in the cabinet. Nasrullah know that and figures the Shia will win in the long run. pl

  7. Mishkilji says:

    Does anyone think this is a stable arrangement?
    That depends on whether outside proxies will allow the reformed warlords to bicker over how to divvy up government services to their respective sectarian constituencies or prompt the warlords to pursue a maximalist confrontational agenda as part of a larger chess match.
    Nasrallah will insist the Shia be given a blocking third in the Cabinet. The jockeying will be over Interior, Justice and Finance posts

  8. Mishkilji says:

    Bibi is an a-hole but he is not crazy.

  9. Mishkilji says:

    There will not be a coup.
    The LAF is Lebanon’s “Senate”.
    We have been in this movie before without the ceiling caving in when there was pro-Hizbollah President, a PM Hariri and Hizbollah blocking third in the Cabinet.
    This is not without precedent in Lebanon.

  10. Hans NYC says:

    Yes it might well be stable because the deal is as two-faced as Lebanon itself. While Aoun’s election is a victory of sorts for Hisbollah, it is largely a symbolic one. The presidency was stripped of most of its powers in the Taif agreement.
    Because of his military past, “Le General” may have a firm hold on the parts of the Lebanese Army not paid for by the Hariri family – but this army is not a tool for Napoleonic victories even on the tinytoon chessboard that is Lebanon.
    On the other hand the return of Saad Hariri to Lebanon as premier is also a victory for Saudi Arabia.
    From what I understand, some parties must have withdrawn a threat against Hariri’s life for this to happen.
    Could this be the beginning of a Saudi-Iranian condominium in Lebanon?
    Yes but… and until further notice. Syria remains destiny for Lebanon.

  11. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Nope, he is as mad as a hatter. But he is Madman of the Cult of Shoah and thus untouchable.

  12. Mishkilji says:

    Except for bombing hapless Palestinians in Gaza, Bibi’s military adventures have been limited.
    He prefers to have others do his fighting.
    Obama was not obliging regarding Iran and since 2006 Hizballah has established a significant deterrent.
    Over the past 20 years, two Israeli Prime Ministers have lost their premiership over escalating a conflict in Lebanon.
    Bibi won’t add his name to that list.

  13. BraveNewWorld says:

    Netanyahu is absolutely crazy, as is most of the government. Fortunately the heads of the IDF, Mossad Shinbet are the grown ups in the room.

  14. b says:

    Since March the Saudis withheld billions it had promised to the Lebanese army. That didn’t work out well. The Lebanese army isn’t allowed to have any significant weapons anyway. Hizbullah is the only real army in Lebanon. The Saudis simply lost influence through this. Without the bribes there is no reason to work for them.
    Hariri’s companies in Saudi Arabia are bankrupt. Junior is out of money. The Saudis stopped paying all the big building companies and cut back on new projects. More lost influence. Hariri’s father’s racket, to steal Beirut’s inner city, also did not work out well. The project is not making money. Hariri has no longer the money to buy support.
    If I understand this right the prime minister will only seat a few month. Hariri is incompetent. He will hardly make any real progress. The waste crisis will continue. The questions about oil and gas exploration will not be solved. Unless there is a significant change in Saudi Arabia he will be gone and irrelevant soon.

  15. Will says:

    b is absolutely right…. The whole mess in Lebanon dating back to 1953 is the direct result of the US interference in the internal affairs there and the utter criminality of IsraHell, and all this is still ongoing. Next war is as sure as the sun rising, and this the me around the Galilée will be taken back.

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