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Lebanon … polls or civil war?

Ahmed Al-Jarallah – Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

NEXT month, Lebanon will witness parliamentary elections, which can be described as decisive in various aspects.

The elections this time will be different compared to the previous ones. It has been nine years since the last parliamentary elections, which were conducted on the basis of distribution of legacy of power and influence among the militia leaders, who removed their battle cloaks and wore white suits with neckties for the first time in 25 years.

These militia groups continued to distribute the country based on their accord. Today they are preparing for elections based on a quota system which could expose the actual size of the political forces in Lebanon. Despite all the flaws in the current election process, most importantly the lack of integrity as per the unanimous opinion of the election observers, the election itself poses an actual threat to all participating factions such as Hezbollah.

This is due to the fact that this election is the first test for all the political forces to determine their sizes. Hence, organized oppression, which has been perpetrated by the gang of Nasrallah in their strongholds and even in areas outside, continues openly and secretly.

This is nothing more than expression of fear over the outcome of the elections which will be announced on May 7. Leaders of the armed Iranian gang realize quite well that the voice of protest, which gained momentum in the previous years in their strongholds, has intensified in recent months.

This is an actual indication of how abhorred this imposed military environment has become in the eyes of the Lebanese public. The situation has also been aggravated by the meaningless deaths of Lebanese children who were thrown to the frontiers in Syria, Iraq and Yemen; that is why this gang suppresses any opposing voice ferociously.

The least we have seen about this suppression is the attacks on opposition nominees in various areas in the south such as by closure of party headquarters, burning of vehicles and personal assaults.

However, this remains to be the least of what all the villages and towns are going through in terms of suppression and collective punishment such as threats to suspend basic services in those areas, and pressurizing employers and small entrepreneurs to fire members of the opposition from work.

The suppression has reached a point where families of university students are being threatened in order to warn them from going against the will of Hezbollah and its ally Amal Movement. Undoubtedly, Hezbollah knows that the ripples of Iran’s failures in Yemen, Iraq and Bahrain will reach Lebanon, and that will give the political force more courage to confront it and its plans.

Therefore, Hezbollah is doing its best to ensure that it gets highest parliamentary representation and at any cost so that it can tell the world that the Lebanese people elected it, and that its MPs represent this nation.

A major issue that Lebanon is bound to face is the victory of this terrorist party with higher majority, or even the least, in the parliament, and that will be a precursor for the return to the civil war. This is because the political force will never allow the fall of Lebanon under the pressure of international sanctions in the form of economic and financial embargo due to Hezbollah’s control of internal and foreign policies of Lebanon.

On other hand, if the Iran-backed militia does not win the majority representation which qualifies it to protect itself in the internal political spectrum, it will resort to using its weapon to prevent the parliament from performing its role. It will cripple the entire nation’s authority.

Such a complex equation that awaits Lebanon perhaps requires serious international observation on the upcoming parliamentary elections as well as the support of the Lebanese armed forces with all its capabilities in order to prevent Hezbollah from returning this small country to the furnace of a civil war.

Therefore, if Hezbollah and its partner for dominating the Shiite sect Amal Movement want to maintain their actual presence in the Lebanese political arena, they either have to accept the election challenge and enter it with integrity or should prepare to face the entire Lebanon. Nonetheless, in both cases, they will go through a rigorous accountability by the Shiite sect itself, because the one who pays with blood is not like the one who accumulated wealth through that blood.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

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