Following the 2018 elections, Lebanon had a pro-Hizballah Christian president, and the Iran-backed terrorist group and its allies held a majority in the parliament and cabinet. Formally, the ruling coalition included both pro-Iranian and pro-Western groups. But the new government, announced last week, is very different. Jonathan Spyer explains:
Hizballah itself controls only two ministries in the new government. But the Christian Free Patriotic Movement . . . and the Shiite Amal movement, both closely associated with Hizballah, control much of the rest. Smaller parties also associated with this bloc make up the remainder.
In this regard, [the new] government constitutes for the first time an administration that reflects the longstanding power reality in Lebanon. Hizballah has long dominated the key nodes of power in Lebanon when it comes to military and intelligence matters. Its influence is also profound in the economic sector. The overt, formal political administration in the country will now reflect this. Over the last decade-and-a-half, Hizballah has gradually removed all obstacles to its exercise of full-spectrum dominance in Lebanon.
As of this week . . . the ambiguity appears to have disappeared. Formal power in Lebanon now coincides with real power.
The consequences for Israel, at which Hizballah has aimed tens of thousands of rockets, are significant:
In the 2006 [Israel-Lebanon war], the government of then-Prime Minister Fouad Siniora was oriented toward the West. Israel thus faced the difficult task of chasing Hizballah in Lebanon while avoiding harm to the Lebanese state infrastructure. The results were mixed. . . . Given the events of this week in Lebanon, any such attempt at differentiation is unlikely to be repeated. Rather, in a future contest between Israel and Hizballah/Iran, the state of Lebanon under its Hizballah-dominated government will constitute the enemy. This, in turn, will enable Israel to exercise the full range of options available to it from a conventional military point of view.
Read more on Jerusalem Post: https://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Hezbollah-dominated-government-emerges-in-Lebanon-for-the-first-since-1990-615228