Hezbollah and the specter of canceled elections

The peoples of the South are aware of “the responsibility of Hezbollah for having left the state suspended and the interests of Lebanese women and men marginalized in favor of its interests and commitments”. This sentence is not taken from an internal meeting behind closed doors but came at the beginning of a political statement by the forces of change “October”, which launched the campaign “Al-Janub Maan” (The South together) with the intention of presenting candidates in all the districts of South Lebanon against the dominant sectarian duo of Hezbollah and the Amal Movement and their supporters!

During Al-Janub Maan’s launch ceremony, the rhetoric the campaign would adopt became clear, and its slogans and goals crystallized – the inevitability of peaceful and serious political action to change the authoritarian regime. Their proposals seemed very similar to those of other “October” forces such as “Sahlouna w Jaboulana” (Our plain and mountain) in the Western Bekaa, “Beirut Tuqawem” (Beirut resists), which pushes the militias and those who and Liqa Al-Taaghyier (Rally for Change) in Akkar and “Shamaluna (Our North)”, which will participate in the elections in the four northern districts. Their clear and unequivocal position on the Nakba in Lebanon, which they claim was deliberately provoked by the “gang” that runs the spoil-sharing regime based on sectarian quotas, which “controls us and the state, and now is the time to hold him accountable… All mean all. They defined their battle as a battle “between a people whose state has been plundered and destroyed and whose homeland has been violated, and a regime clearly responsible”.

Things hadn’t been so clear. The authoritarians have hedged their bets on desperation overwhelming voters in the face of financial, economic and social collapse, its expansion with the pandemic that has spread across the country within months of the start of the “October 17 revolution”. , and its exacerbation after the crime of port explosion, which were accompanied by successive attacks on the interests of citizens and the country. It seemed that the citizens would concentrate only on their quest for bread and medicine and that they would fail to continue their fight to recover the rights that had been taken away from them, the attacks on their dignity and the broad feeling of humiliation that was spreading across the country as the state was hijacked by arms, corruption and bigotry.

The people found themselves trapped into living in destitution and starvation, amid widespread unemployment and scarcity of resources, because of the forces of the systematic campaign of “counter-revolution.” This campaign drew its strength from the overwhelming military strength of the small state, which protected the men responsible for the crimes of the sectarian quota-based loot-sharing system. They were all fully aware that the state would fall due to the plunder of the country’s wealth and the deposits of its people. The money was legally smuggled out of the country to finance the “Al-Quds Force” and the Syrian regime’s militias; the country has been turned into a hub for the spread of Captagon toxins by targeting Gulf corporations, entrenching the country’s isolation!

The objective was to turn the page of “October 17” because it was a real revolution that no one expected. Its goals are profound; it is rich in its diversity, peaceful in its tactics and democratic in its framework. And so the counter-revolution, led by Hassan Nasrallah personally, was launched, targeting the revolution with threats, accusations of treason and subordination to embassies, and subjecting them to physical assaults and unbridled repression , as well as “on demand”. pursuit by security and prosecution! All this prevented the emergence of true revolutionary leaders, leaving a broad feeling of frustration among the people. But in 2022, the year of legislative, presidential and municipal elections, which despite being ignored by the authorities, began to crystallize what had been delayed.

The picture has changed with the launch of the Forces of Change campaigns seeking to unify the battlefields, and there is no shortage of outsiders seeking to welcome them. What is remarkable is the crystallization of slogans and campaign programs that people have been broadcasting across the country. The most notable of these is the recovery of the hijacked state, that is, the recovery of its decision-making to make reform viable, to enforce the constitution and to take the necessary measures to save the country and safeguard the rights of its people and the independence of the judiciary, thereby ensuring accountability and the recovery of rights. A remarkable aspect of these campaigns is their approach to candidate selection, as they allow citizens to vote for who represents them. This approach implies that the will of the voters delivers the best candidates to Parliament, and the best candidates are those who emerge as a result of a crossroads of opinions and visions. By adopting this approach, the forces of change break with the traditions of the authoritarian system in which the choice is in the hands of the rulers, the leaders of authoritarian, sectarian or tyrannical militias who ignore the will of the people. The result of these traditions has been a lack of legislators in Parliament, which is made up of subordinates to those who hold ministerial seats, creating successive emigration seasons!

It is likely that what has been initiated by the forces of change will present different faces and show many capacities. Lebanon is rich in its human resources, which will give serious impetus to the front of change project called to formulate a political alternative. At the same time, the sectarian system accelerated its efforts to consolidate alliances between autocratic rulers accused of crimes, including those sanctioned by the United States as corrupt individuals who corrupted political life and favored the interests of their mini-states over the public interest. With them are the politicians whom Judge Sawan suspected of being responsible for the Beirut port explosion, and so they fired him. This corrupt elite accused by Sawan of “probable intent” to murder received all the protections and immunities they enjoyed, even in the blood they shed and their incineration in the heart of the capital!

Overall, recent gauges of shifts in public opinion no longer deliver the same tattered lexicon of incitement by accusations of subordination and foreign belonging. It is no longer enough to pretend that anyone not with Hezbollah is plotting the “resistance”, and what remains of that resistance anyway? What is he fighting for? This tendency to circumvent rigid stereotypes, and a “blood test” that is no longer restricted to any region or sect, has given Hezbollah a headache it had not anticipated. He put Hezbollah in its rightful place – in front of the people, as the party leading this authoritarian system responsible for moving Lebanon from opulence to famine, and the Lebanese from ease to misery, and to transform the Lebanese social society into a society of beggars. !

To date, March 3, there are only 12 days left before the close of candidacies for the legislative elections scheduled for May 15, ie only 73 days. Everything leads to believe in a lack of nominations and in the failure of the launching of the work of the electoral machines by the political forces in power, while everyone is waiting for the password! Admittedly, the decision to go to the elections, or not, remains in the hands of Hezbollah and is inevitably linked to its assessment of the fate of its current parliamentary majority, and of the size of the Christian parliamentary representation within this majority, which can cover up his transgressions. If Hezbollah becomes certain that it cannot guarantee the maintenance of this majority, no elections will take place, and Hezbollah will not hesitate to disrupt them. As such, Hezbollah would instruct its legislative arm, Nabih Berri, to find “legal” interpretations that would allow such an approach. Moreover, Hezbollah will not hesitate to fabricate security threats to impose its obstruction, which will be met first with expressions of condemnation, and later with attempts to deal with this fait accompli!

Hezbollah’s monopoly on the parliamentary majority is not a trivial problem. On the popular level, the developments worry the party, especially since a popular majority is emerging, which rejects the domination of Hezbollah. Therefore, Nasrallah threatened that changing Hezbollah’s parliamentary majority would not affect his tiny state’s control, dominance and surplus power. However, he is keenly aware that losing that majority will turn him from the final arbiter of next fall’s presidential elections into a mere troublemaker. Given the ambiguity of the developments in Vienna, and the extortion practiced by Tehran as if it were a winner, and on the eve of reaching its nuclear threshold and delaying the implementation of the agreement which pays water in its mill, until the Desires of the Lebanese presidency which fears the collapse of its Movement, we are witnessing a persistent tendency to divert the voice of the people, that is to say to undermine the elections and to put all its eggs in one basket, parliamentary and presidential. This will take political confrontation to a whole new level!

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