Mon May 7th, 2018 at 07:43:37 PM EST
Nicely stated by the Israeli press ahead of
today's yesterday's parliamentary election result ...
Polls open in Lebanon as Hezbollah challenges Western-backed Hariri | Times of Israel |
Polling got under way Sunday across Lebanon, where voters electing their parliament for the first time in nine years are expected to return the same ruling parties to office.
The vote is expected to be a test for the country's Western-backed Sunni prime minister, Saad Hariri, and his Iran-backed Shiite opponent, the Hezbollah terror group, which is looking to tighten its grip and expand its presence in the 128-seat parliament -- likely at Hariri's expense.
U.S. State Dept - Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO)
10/8/1997 Kahane Chai (Kach)
Continued below the fold ...
○ Hezbollah's growing threat against U.S. national security interests in the Middle East | Testimony U.S. Congress |
○ Lebanon, the Saudi-Iranian clash and Europe's role
○ The Root of Israel's Military Response in 'Search for Peace' - JDL
Hezbollah set to tighten grip in Lebanon vote | An Nahar - AP |
Few countries are as vulnerable to the Middle East's mayhem as Lebanon, which has taken in a million refugees from the catastrophic war in neighboring Syria, seen the Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah militia embroiled in that war and watched Saudi Arabia try to oust its prime minister.
The vote is expected to be a test for the country's Western-backed Sunni prime minister, Saad Hariri, and his Iran-backed Shiite militant opponent, Hezbollah, which is looking to tighten its grip and expand its presence in the 128-seat parliament -- likely at Hariri's expense.
Interior Minister Nouhad Mashnouk, a member of Hariri's inner circle, said the election is not "a Sunni-Shiite conflict but rather a conflict between a group that believes in a state and a nation, and another that has regional and Iranian leanings."
Most of the campaigning by more than 500 candidates has revolved around platforms of stability and economic growth, with many of Lebanon's civil war-era political titans set to return, including Lebanon's aging Shiite parliament speaker, Nabih Berri, a Hezbollah ally who has held the post for more than 25 years and who is virtually uncontested. Some warlords are passing on their seats to their sons, including Druze leader Walid Jumblatt.
"Divisive issues such as Hezbollah's weapons and the controversy over its participation in regional conflicts are almost entirely absent from the electoral campaigns, indicating implicit acceptance of the party's domestic hegemony," wrote analyst Joseph Bahout in an article for the Carnegie Middle East Center.
A record number of first-time hopefuls are campaigning for change, urging voters to shun politicians who have drowned the country in corruption and debt. Many rose to prominence as organizers of protests over a 2015 trash collection crisis that left garbage in the streets for months and laid bare the extent of the public sector mismanagement plaguing Lebanon.
Hariri now has the largest block in parliament, but is likely to lose seats to rival politicians. Some of Hariri's supporters shifted their allegiance after the billionaire businessman, who also holds Saudi citizenship, laid off scores of employees in his development company, Saudi Oger, as well as in Hariri-owned charities and media outlets in Lebanon, largely because of Saudi spending cuts.
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Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah hold a banner with his portrait and Arabic words that reads: "All the loyalty to the man of nobility." (AP Photo: Hussein Malla)
Hezbollah now seeks, along with its allies, to win at least 43 seats in the 128-member legislature, which would enable the militant group to veto any laws it opposes.
Its leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, called for heavy voter turnout, particularly in the Baalbek-Hermel region in eastern Lebanon, traditionally a Hezbollah stronghold which now faces a challenge from rivals.
○ 2018 Elections: Hariri cedes ground to Hezbollah alliance, LF emerges victorious
○ The Lebanese presidential elections - stalemate but never checkmate (2016)
Can bitter rivals, both sons of murdered fathers, move Lebanon forward? | CS Monitor - Dec. 2015 |
Shakespearean: Audience with the king
It is in this context that the new proposal arose from discussions in October in Riyadh between the Saudi leadership, Hariri, and Walid Jumblatt, veteran leader of Lebanon's Druze community.
"I met the king [Salman] and then Hariri and he asked what I thought of Frangieh" as president, Mr. Jumblatt says, adding that he responded favorably. "It [a Frangieh presidency] was in the Saudi mind and Hariri's and it led to the meeting [between Hariri and Frangieh] in Paris."
The sudden proposal caused a stir in Lebanon. It was all the more startling given that Frangieh is a close friend since childhood of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom Hariri believes ordered the assassination a decade ago of his father, longtime Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Frangieh was interior minister of Lebanon's pro-Syrian government at the time of Rafik Hariri's death in February 2005.
For Saad Hariri, however, a deal with Frangieh would allow him to return to Lebanon as prime minister and help him to rebuild his political fortunes, which have waned during his exile.
The Ehden massacre of 1978 in Lebanon:
○ Shin Bet Secretly Arrests IDF Druze Soldier Suspected of Exposing Secret Meeting Between Syrian Rebels, IDF Intelligence | Tikun Olam - March 2015 |
Democrats join Republicans in warmongering .... AGAIN!
Congress introduces new bill targeting Hezbollah
Two US congressmen presented last week a bill targeting the Iranian-backed group Hezbollah after introducing to Congress the 'Disarm Hezbollah Act' (HR 5540) which instructs the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to further investigate the group in terms of its "capabilities, arsenal, and the illicit supply routes it uses to procure weapons."
The bipartisan bill calls for an investigation by the DNI to produce an official National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) and help assess the work of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and "also detail the ways Hezbollah raises and distributes funds in the region under UNIFIL's mandate."
The bill was presented by Tom Suozzi (D-NY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), with both members labeling Hezbollah a "threat to our allies."
Israel/Lebanon: Israeli Indiscriminate Attacks Killed Most Civilians
○ IDF Suffers Highest Lebanon Losses to Date, 9 Dead, at Bint Jbail | Tikun Olam |
○ Israeli Missiles Targeting Bridges in Christian Heartland of North Lebanon
○ Qana: Déjà Vu All Over Again by Jeff Huber @dKos on Aug. 3rd, 2006
Israel and war crimes in Gaza ...
○ Gaza War: Bringing Out the Worst in Israeli Misogyny, Racism
Recall the Dutch people are under threat from U.S. Congress with the passing of the "Invasion of The Hague Act" of 2002.
○ Dutch still wincing at Bush-era 'Invasion of The Hague Act'