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Lebanon: Shiite Duo Maintains Silence After Macron's Remarks

Lebanon: Shiite Duo Maintains Silence After Macron's Remarks

Tuesday, 29 September, 2020 - 10:30
Lebanon's President Michel Aoun welcomes French President Emmanuel Macron upon his arrival at the airport in Beirut, Lebanon August 6, 2020. Dalati Nohra/Handout via REUTERS

French President Emmanuel Macron gave Lebanon’s politicians another four to six weeks to form a government within the framework of the French initiative and escalated his tone against Hezbollah and Amal Movement, accusing them of obstructing the cabinet’s birth.

While the Shiite duo has so far maintained silence over Macron’s remarks, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah is expected to deliver a speech this Tuesday evening to explain the Shiite parties’ stance towards the recent developments.

“There are no rescue options for this duo except for the one proposed in the French initiative,” Strategic Analyst Sami Nader told Asharq Al-Awsat.

If the path is not corrected, “Lebanon will head to a model similar to the Venezuelan, Iranian, or Syrian experiences in terms of sanctions and international isolation,” he added.

According to Nader, the Shiite duo might consider that it is buying time until the US presidential elections, but “this is a lost bet for two reasons: first, the outcome of the US elections is not guaranteed in November, nor is a change in US policy towards Hezbollah or the region if the US presidential candidate, Joe Biden, succeeded and Donald Trump left office.”

“Second, Lebanon is unable to bear the repercussions of two months of stalling in light of the exacerbating economic crisis and the decision to lift subsidies on basic materials,” he underlined.

While no official position has been issued by the two parties regarding the extension of the French initiative, a member of the Development and Liberation bloc, MP Qassem Hashem, said: “The doors have not closed to a solution even through the French initiative itself.”

“Clearly, we are committed to the initiative, but within the preservation of the partnership,” he added.

Hashem said that the French initiative “bore many interpretations and details that are at the core of the Lebanese national balance, which cannot be touched in light of the Lebanese structure that is based on understanding.”

He continued: “It is necessary to search for a settlement because there can be no government outside the balance that the customs and the constitution established.”

Jaafari Mufti Sheikh Ahmed Qabalan, said Macron’s words carried “political injustice.”

“What is required today is the formation of a government of national weight and not an international agency government. What French President Emmanuel Macron presented yesterday contains gross political injustice,” he said in a statement.

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