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Hezbollah Ties with Lebanese Allies Ruled by Regional,

Sunday, October 9, 2016 14:11
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Hezbollah Ties with Lebanese Allies Ruled by Regional, International
Interests
Asharq Al-Awsat 9 Ocotber 2016
http://english.aawsat.com/2016/10/article55359864/hezbollah-ties-lebanese-allies-ruled-regional-international-interests

Beirut-The so-called Hezbollah party has been lately busy with the
two-and-a-half year Lebanese presidential crisis and its repercussions that
created disputes between allied parties.

Despite being active in the fighting along the Syrian regime in Syria since
2012, Hezbollah was capable of managing the existing disputes among its
allies in Lebanon in a way that benefited the party’s strategic interests.

Despite the comments made by one of the party’s parliament members, MP Nawaf
Moussawi, who called on head of the Change and Reform bloc, MP Michel Aoun,
and Speaker Nabih Berri to “resume direct talks that could produce a certain
mutual understanding,” the latest developments in Beirut show that the party
has an interest in keeping the status quo. Therefore, the party is satisfied
with watching Berri obstructing the arrival of Aoun to the presidential
seat.

According to political researcher Ali al-Amine, a Shi’ite who is opposed to
Hezbollah, Berri would have never taken such evolving positions in the issue
of Aoun’s candidacy, had he not been convinced that the election of a new
president is not one of Hezbollah’s priorities.

“The party is looking neither for an ally nor for an enemy in Lebanon, but
rather for a regional partner to help carry the burdens of the foreign
relations, the financial affairs and the relationship of Lebanon with its
regional surroundings,” al-Amine said.

In Lebanon, Hezbollah has more than an ally that provides the party with
specific interests. According to informed sources, the most prominent ally
remains Berri. The sources said the relation between the party and the
Speaker is strategic to protect the unity of the Shi’ite community in
Lebanon.

In addition, Berri provides the “good-looking image for the diplomatic
engagement, particularly with the West.”
The sources said Aoun ranks second on the list of the party’s allies.

Aoun offers Hezbollah the Christian cover that the party needs to embellish
its image in front of the international community.

However, the relationship among the party’s allies had recently
deteriorated, particularly between Aoun and Berri, and between Aoun and head
of the Marada Movement MP Suleiman Franjieh.

Hezbollah has done nothing to fix the disputes, but rather observed their
relationship further worsening.

Al-Amine said the party is tactically attached to the candidacy of Aoun
instead of Franjieh, because it is convinced that the Change and Reform bloc
has a greater Christian representation than Franjieh.

“The so-called Hezbollah is able to please all its allies with different
tools because it completely controls the country, and therefore, the party
won’t be forced to choose between an ally or another,” al-Amine said.

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