Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Lebanon's Metn Election Results

It was an election battle royale between the March 14 alliance of Christians and Sunnis versus the Iran pole of Hezbollah and Christian Michel Aoun. The election was close but in the end Aoun's candidate Camille Khoury "won" against former president Amin Gemayel.

I write "won" because the election has an air of Syrian corruption since the very beginning. The election is actually a special one in order to replace Amin's son, Pierre, who was assassinated by Syria last year. During election day Syrians who were nationalized Lebanese because of earlier occupation laws were bused in to vote. They had no clue why they were there because at first they wanted to vote for Hezbollah's Nesrallah then announced their intention to vote for Aoun himself. Several Gemayel supporters were also attacked as they attempted to vote. Add in early results claiming Gemayel was the winner (though many US candidates have suffered this same fate) and one starts smelling something odd.

The strategy of Hezbollah and its allies becomes clearer as time passes. They will not try to take over the country by force, too messy. Instead they will use the political process to keep Hezbollah armed and in charge of their microstate while they try to bring Lebanon itself in line with Hezbollah's goals.

The March 14 alliance meanwhile recognizes short term defeat but vows to continue the fight. Walid Jumblatt, de facto leader of the Druze, claimed Khoury's loss of his own village and needing Syrians to win is proof the Hezbollah opposition has little backing in non-Shia areas. While that is all well and good I am sure a Gemayel victory would have been a better statement.


Dan tdaxp said...

Meanwhile, Iran has its own problems...

Michael said...

Seems to me the Shiite Lebanese might be happier as part of Syria.

Catholicgauze said...

While the Lebanese Shia certainly are politically close to Iran and Syria culturally they are not. Syria has been going through a process of forced secularization. The Lebanese Shia on the other hand tend to be well more religious than the average Syrian Muslim who is Sunni. The Assad clan is Alawite which is aligned with Twelver Shia Islam but 12er it is not (up until the 1990s the debate of "Are Alawites Muslims" was an open one).