Lebanon’s governing coalition government which includes members of the rival pro-Syrian March 8 Alliance and the broadly pro-Saudi March 14 Alliance is set to remain in power after a new deal between all parties has been reached.
Today marked the first official cabinet meeting of the current coalition government, since Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s forced resignation in Saudi Arabia in November of this year. During the meeting, all parties in the coalition agreed that the government should continue its work according to its existing multi-party composition.
The agreement stipulated that Lebanese parties should not involve themselves in the affairs of other nations. This is a more mild wording of statements Hariri had previously made, ordering that Hezbollah should refrain from fighting terrorism in Iraq and Syria or else be “dealt with” by other powers, ostensibly Saudi Arabia.
In reality, the agreement represents a face-saving move by Hariri. In practical terms, the status quo of Lebanese politics that existed prior to Hariri’s Saudi captivity, remains more or less unchanged.
As Lebanese President Michel Aoun previously stated,
“…when the war against terrorism is finished, their (Hezbollah’s) fighters will come back to the country”.
Aoun is clearly aware that even if one were to discard the vital role Hezbollah has played in securing Lebanon from the regional threat of Takfiri terrorism (in reality Aoun and his party have praised this role), that in reality, as the wars against Takfiri terrorism are more or less at an end point in both Iraq and Syria, Hariri’s demands have been made in the service of what is already, a moot point.
As the fighting ends, Hezbollah’s members will return to Lebanon as has always been the plan.
The overall conclusion of the turbulent events which have gripped Lebanon is that in spite of Saudi blackmail, outrageous claims by Hariri himself and the looming threat of a renewed Israeli invasion and occupation, Lebanon’s legal process has weathered the storm and normalcy has returned along with the country’s prodigal Prime Minister whose bark turned out to be more prevalent than his bite.