Lebanon's Hezbollah-Led Government - by Stephen Lendman
It's official, or nearly so, Haaretz, on January 25 headlining, "Hezbollah's PM pick wins majority backing as Hariri supporters hold 'day of wrath,' " saying:
Hezbollah-backed Najib Mikati, a Sunni billionaire, became new prime minister after getting 68 votes, a majority in Lebanon's 128-member parliament. Caretaker PM Saad Hariri got 60. As a result, Hezbollah "is now in position to control Lebanon's next government. The move has set off angry protests and drew warnings from the US that its support could be in jeopardy."
"Sunni blood is boiling," chanted protestors. Burning Mikati pictures, they said they won't serve in a coalition government, adding that anyone allying with Hezbollah is a traitor. After being appointed, he said:
"I extend my hand to everyone....This is a democratic process. I want to rescue my country....My actions (as PM) will speak for themselves."
"I affirmed to the president that cooperation will be complete between us to form a new government which the Lebanese want, a government to maintain the unity of their country and their sovereignty, achieve the solidarity of its people, protect the coexistence formula and respect the constitutional rules."
However, nothing in Lebanon is ever simple, especially with Washington and Israel often intervening politically, economically and/or violently.
Commenting briefly, State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said Washington has "great concerns about a government within which Hezbollah plays a leading role," adding that relations and Washington-supplied aid will be affected.
On January 25, Reuters headlined, "Clinton warns Hezbollah-backed government may alter US ties with Lebanon," saying:
She accused Hezbollah of "coercion, intimidation, (and) threats of violence to achieve its political goals," adding, (o)ur bottom lines remain as they always have been. We believe that justice must be pursued and impunity for murder ended. We believe in Lebanon's sovereignty and an end to outside interference. As we see what this new government does, we will judge it accordingly."
In fact, no nation matches Washington's worldwide lawlessness, waging imperial wars for global dominance and increasing repression of its own people at home.
Yet White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said:
"It is hard to imagine any government that is truly representative of all of Lebanon would abandon the effort to end the era of impunity for assassinations in the country (referring to Mossad's 2005 Rafiq Hariri killing falsely blamed on Hezbollah). In the meantime, we call on all parties to maintain calm."
America designated Hezbollah a foreign terrorist organization, meaning aid is automatically suspended. In the past five years, it's been $1.2 billion, and the Obama administration requested $246 million more this year.
Hezbollah supporters dismissed US concerns, saying Lebanon's power shift will be conciliatory and peaceful. According to Hassan Khalil, publisher of the left of center Al Akhbar:
"Mikati is not coming to power by force, a coup or by civil unrest. (It's by Lebanon's) parliamentary system. (Moreover, (f)unding from the United States is limited and will not disturb the balance of power," if cut off.