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Low Expectations and the New Lebanese Government - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The newly formed Lebanese government did not arrive with any new surprises; rather the government resembled the realties of Lebanon, clearly reflecting its complex political and foreign loyalties. Moreover, what is currently called the Lebanese national unity government cannot be relied on great deal.

Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora stated after announcing the formation of the government, that “This government has two basic tasks, namely, restoring confidence in the Lebanese political system and securing the carrying out of parliamentary elections transparently.”

The truth is it is difficult to restore confidence in the political system and transparently conduct parliamentary elections in Lebanon, especially with this government. How can confidence be restored to the political system, while the Iranian Hezbollah opposition has veto power? An opposition whose leader boasts of being a part of the Waliy al Faqih party, giving it the right to disrupt everything rejected by Tehran.

The Lebanese government even guaranteed the Syrians a seat in the new formation, despite the words of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that his country has no intention of returning to Lebanon militarily. Naturally, he wants to return in another form where the reality on the ground is that Syria is mainly existent through its followers in Lebanon, not including Hezbollah. A significant wedge has developed between the Iranian party and Damascus; however, what is important here is that the Syrians have a minister in the new government, namely, Ali Qanso, former head of the Syrian National Socialist Party and one of those who took part in the invasion of Beirut in the seventh of May coup.

This is what relates to restoring confidence in the political system. As for transparency in the parliamentary elections goes; that is nothing but a dream. Today, Lebanon is not the Lebanon of old and that has been the case since the Iranian Hezbollah used its weapons against their own and in the process became the only power on the ground.

Restoring confidence in the Lebanese political system and ensuring transparency of parliamentary elections will not be achieved in light of the current regional situation since the issue is now greater than Lebanon.

Therefore, the Lebanese must be patient with this puppet government with a short shelf life, until major issues in the region are resolved most notably the Iranian issue and what might transpire from it including, war or peace.

Furthermore, Lebanon has to wait and see the results of this “touch-less dance” taking place between Damascus and Washington, as described by a Syrian source to our newspaper. And who knows, the Syrian American case might dramatically develop into a kissing and hugging session with Israel as witness, in addition to France and Turkey! It seems that many in our region have finally begun to believe that Damascus decided to save its skin by distancing itself from Iran.

In brief, this Lebanese government cannot do much or in the least remain steadfast, until a clear vision of where the regional situation is leading is formed, which is expected to undergo major changes that are impending.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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