Elections in Lebanon Won’t Shake Hizballah’s Hold on the Country

In the Lebanese national elections, held last Sunday, Hizballah fared poorly, winning only 62 (out of 128) seats in the parliament, and thus losing its previous 71-seat majority. The Christian Lebanese Forces party—the Iran-backed terrorist group’s major political opponent—meanwhile gained four new seats. But electoral disappointments won’t weaken Hizballah’s deeply entrenched control of the country, writes Eyal Zisser:

[True], these elections are a blow to Hezbollah from which it will struggle to recover: first, the voting numbers in all of Lebanon are low, with just 41 percent of eligible voters bothering to show up. In the country’s Shiite areas, voter turnout was even lower. This can be viewed as an expression of anger and lack of faith toward Hizballah, which failed in its efforts to rally popular support.

Second, many of Hizballah’s allies among the other ethnic groups lost in the regions in which they ran against their rivals, who openly criticized their alliance with Hizballah. Among the Christians, for example, President Michel Aoun’s party suffered a trouncing, as did Hizballah’s Druze allies.

These aren’t the results Hizballah wished for, but it can live with them as long as its control over the country remains intact. . . . Hizballah will continue doing as it pleases while leaning on a corrupt elite class (the local version of mafia families in the U.S.), which will also remain in control of Lebanese society and state affairs.

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Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Hizballah, Lebanon

Will Tensions Rise between the U.S. and Israel?

Unlike his past many predecessors, President Joe Biden does not have a plan for solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Moreover, his administration has indicated its skepticism about renewing the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. John Bolton nevertheless believes that there could be a collision between the new Benjamin Netanyahu-led Israeli government and the Biden White House:

In possibly his last term, Netanyahu’s top national-security priority will be ending, not simply managing, Iran’s threat. This is infinitely distant from Biden’s Iran policy, which venerates Barrack Obama’s inaugural address: “we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

Tehran’s fist is today otherwise occupied, pummeling its own people. Still, it will continue menacing Israel and America unless and until the internal resistance finds ways to fracture the senior levels of Iran’s regular military and the Revolutionary Guards. Netanyahu undoubtedly sees Iran’s growing domestic turmoil as an opportunity for regime change, which Israel and others can facilitate. Simultaneously, Jerusalem can be preparing its military and intelligence services to attack Tehran’s nuclear program, something the White House simply refuses to contemplate seriously. Biden’s obsession with reviving the disastrous 2015 nuclear deal utterly blinds the White House to the potential for a more significant victory.

To make matters worse, Biden has just created a Washington-based position at the State Department, a “special representative for Palestinian affairs,” that has already drawn criticism in Israel both for the new position itself and for the person named to fill it. Advocated as one more step toward “upgrading” U.S. relations with the Palestinian Authority, the new position looks nearly certain to become the locus not of advancing American interests regarding the failed Authority, but of advancing the Authority’s interests within the Biden administration.

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Read more at 19FortyFive

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran, Joe Biden, U.S.-Israel relationship