My Newz 'n Ideas

It is my intent to express my opinion and to discuss current events. Feel free to make suggestions to fields you would like to see covered, and I will consider them. Please leave your name with comments. Thank you. Arabic: عربي.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

After the Lebanese Elections

I have been following the Lebanese elections with much concern. You see, Hezbollah is still armed, and they live in their own part of town which is decrepit. Walid Phares has also been following these elections. He knows much more than I, so I have decided to post his statements (as written by Andrew Cochran) here.
Walid Phares: "Lebanese Elections: The Bottom Line" (UPDATED 6-21)

Walid Phares asked me to post his assessment of the Lebanese elections:

By sheer numbers, the assessment first: Lebanese Parliament has 128 seats, half Muslims, half Christians.

(1) A Coalition of pro-Saudi Sunni Saadeddine Hariri, anti-American Druse Walid Jumblat, and allies (including few Christians) got 72 seats. It is a majority allowing them to form a Government. (2) Hizbollah got 14, its ally Amal got 15, plus 4 Baathists and pro-Syrians. This bloc will have 33 as a strategic ally to Iran and Syria. (3) General Aoun and his allies got 21 seats. (4) There are 17 independents who can shift in any direction.

By Trends:

The bottom line is that a pro-Saudi power, Hariri, will be leading the Government balancing on the one hand the followers of Iran (Hizbollah), Syria (Amal, Baath, others) with on the other hand Michel Aoun's bloc. The main issue which is of importance to the US is the disarming of Hizbollah. My projection is that Hariri will talk about it, but won't lead the charge. To the contrary, he will shield "the Islamic resistance" while promising Washington that he would act when the time is ripe. Hizbollah and its allies will try to break the unity of the parliament on this issue. Michel Aoun, although unpredictible, may be vocal on the issue of Hizbollah.

Is this situation better than last year? Certainly, since the Syrian army is out, and more anti-Syrians are in the legislative branch, soon in the Government. However, if the US doesn't move fast to lead the disarming of Hizbollah, the situation can be reversed. But how far Hariri would go in that direction?
UPDATE, 6-21: Dr. Phares's complete article, published today in "LebanonWire," is reprinted here with permission and our appreciation (downloadable Word file).
It is sad to think that they fought for their freedom only to be enslaved by another. They deserve better. I agree with Mr. Phares. Please President Bush, move quickly.