Lebanon, Iran await U.S. Election

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Source: Annahar – By Bassem Ajami

Words are written by Lebanese citizens in front of the scene of Tuesday’s explosion that hit the seaport of Beirut, Lebanon, Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020. (AP Photo)

Forming a new government in #Lebanon is a pressing need for the country. But the issue is entangled not only with local political quarrels, but, more important, with the ongoing negotiations between the #United States and #Iran.

 

According to the constitution, President Michel Aoun is obliged to hold consultations with members of parliament in order to name a new prime minister designate to form the awaited cabinet. But Aoun is under pressure from his allies, #Hezbollah and company, not to hold such consultations before the name of the future prime minister is agreed upon, and the shape and objectives of the awaited government  are decided, that is, approved by the Iran-backed groups in Lebanon.

 

This simply means that we are back to square one, which is where we were before the French initiative.

 

We might as well float the outgoing Hassan Diab government since the proposition by former prime minister, Najib Mikati, to form a cabinet of 20 minister, comprising six politicians and 14 “technicians” makes no difference.

 

In fact, it only complicates matters. It means that we have two cabinets in one. The “big one” addresses the technical and administrative issues, while the “small one” addresses the political issues.

 

The Mikati proposal also raises another issue. Who will appoint the 16 “technicians” to the cabinet? It will certainly be the same politicians who undermined the French initiative. This actually depletes the Mikati proposition of any real value.

 

Yet now all eyes should be on the coming negotiations between Lebanon and Israel with regard to the demarcation of the maritime and land borders between the two countries.

 

While the framework agreement may not officially constitute recognition of Israel by Lebanon, it is no doubt a step forward. It points to the possibility of starting a new era between Lebanon and Israel.

 

More important, the declaration is a good indication that the negotiations that are surely underway somewhere between Iran and the United States are making progress.

 

This is the second such indication. The first one was a few months ago, with the release of the Israeli collaborator, #Amer Fakhouri, from Lebanon and the release of Hezbollah activist, #Mohammad Tajeddine, from a U.S. jail.

 

If Lebanon manages to form a new government it now will be no more than a caretaker government, while Lebanon, and Iran, await the results of the presidential election in the U.S.

 

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