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Nasrallah: Prime Minister of Lebanon - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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There are two reasons why I believe the leader of Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, should assume the mantle of Prime Minister of Lebanon. Firstly, because he chooses the timing of his official statements to coincide with the formation of government or [other] major state occasions in a manner that suggests to everybody that he is the parallel of the [Lebanese] Prime Minister. Secondly, the government that has been formed by Saad al Hariri is closer to being the government of the defeated opposition than it is the government of the March 14 Alliance that won the elections. Al Hariri may have received the title of Prime Minister before he turned 40 years old, but this does not mean that the government that he formed is the government [desired] by those who voted for him in an impressive display.

In a lengthy thirty-page speech entitled ‘The Political Charter of Hezbollah’ Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah revealed his vision. The first thing to occur in the mind of anybody listening to this speech was that this [charter] was more than the vision of a party preoccupied with the resistance; rather this was an operational agenda on how to govern Lebanon, and even the world. In ten of these pages, Hassan Nasrallah holds the US accountable for its actions around the world since World War II until today.

Except for these ten pages on international affairs, we should recognize that the Hezbollah leader has the right to put forth his vision on Lebanon’s policy and management in his capacity as one of the ten [religious] pillars of Lebanon, as well as the leader of Lebanon’s best armed sect, in comparison, for example, to the Maronite Patriarchate, who holds a similar position to the Pope [in the Maronite Church]. Former Soviet leader Joseph Stalin was once asked “Why don’t you appease the Pope and let the Catholics pray in their churches?” He exclaimed “The Pope? How many divisions has he got?”

Sayyed Nasrallah, unlike the Pope or the Maronite Patriarchate, has a militia that is larger than the [Lebanese] army and has an arsenal larger than the state’s. Therefore it is logical that his speech is more important than [religious] sermons.

The Hezbollah leader clarified the impossibility of disarming his militia, putting forward a long list of heavy duties that he called “the station of defending the [Lebanese] people and soil.” Even though according to the available estimates, revoking [political ]sectarianism will most likely be more beneficial to the Shiite majority than to other sects, I doubt Hezbollah desires to get rid of [political] sectarianism, and neither do the other leaders of religious sects [in Lebanon].

Theoretically, Hezbollah would benefit the most from the abolishment of the political quota system, with this being replaced by the majority vote system. This however is theoretical, and does not take into account personal considerations that apply to all parties. A Shiite voter free to vote [on non-sectarian lines] may not acknowledge the principle of resistance, and may rather vote for whoever provides him and his children with essential services, rather than launching more rockets at Israel. Hezbollah is aware that Shiite voters will punish their [political] representatives at the next election if they fail to fulfil their promises [under a non-sectarian political system], and this is something that a party that is built on commands and prohibitions and the sanctity of leadership cannot tolerate. [Political] party’s leadership and countries that desire to manage Lebanon’s internal affairs are the ones that will lose out from the abolishment of political sectarianism. Therefore with such internal and external consensus, abolishing [political] sectarianism in Lebanon would be more difficult than liberating Palestine.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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