March 13, 2009


Fundamentalists poised for power: A Hezbollah-led alliance is expected to win power in an echo of events four years ago today (John Lyons, March 14, 2009, The Australian)

In return for pulling Hezbollah's fighters off the streets and avoiding another civil war, a ceasefire deal gave the organisation a one-third blocking veto. This means that only one-third of the parliament is needed to reject any government decision. Hezbollah has those numbers, so it effectively took control of the national agenda.

Hezbollah is a fundamentalist Islamic organisation in the Shia tradition. It is as bitterly contested in Lebanon by its Sunni Muslim rivals as it is by its Christian rivals. And it is in a position where it may win the upcoming elections, so a leader who cannot appear in public looks set to take his party to an extraordinary victory.

Although Fouad Siniora remains the nominal Prime Minister, he can make no key decisions unless Nasrallah agrees with them. Nasrallah also controls what is widely regarded as the most formidable fighting force in Lebanon.

"There's only one force who can fight a war if there is a war: Hezbollah," American University of Beirut professor Ahmad Moussalli tells Inquirer.

Asked if he is saying Hezbollah is more powerful than Lebanon's army, Moussalli replies: "Of course." He says that during the five days of fighting in Beirut last May, "even the army could not come near Hezbollah".

If the Sunni and Christians don't want to be governed democratically they should end the fiction that is The Lebanon.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at March 13, 2009 9:24 AM
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