Media reports have been abuzz with news and rumors of fast-paced Hizballah moves to acquire strategic military positions throughout Lebanon. The reports, which revealed 4 (rumoured) deaths in the Jezzine area due to local resistance to Hizballah’s aggressive moves there, come in the wake of the violent campaign launched by the group on May 7th and fears that the group may be preparing for another violent confrontation between it and the Lebanese state.
While reports of Hizballah's deployments across Lebanese territory - either through their own fighters or through their proxies - continue to emerge, despite the attempted media blackout being placed on the incidents by the group, formation of the country's government and the subsequent appointment of top military and security posts continues to be hampered by Hizballah's “faux-Christian” ally, Michel Aoun.
To understand this hampering, one needs to realize that the formation of the upcoming cabinet is, as always, a cover for other issues plaguing the country. And while Hizballah’s arms, their [obvious] readiness to use them against the Lebanese population and state, and the response to that threat, as well as others, that should be derived from the country’s armed forces, constitute the main issues we are currently facing, it is the upcoming parliamentary elections that are the face of the problem driving this most recent hiccup.
To understand Aoun’s position on the 2009 elections, one needs to go back to the parliamentary elections of 2005 which provided Michel Aoun with two claims he has trumpeted for the past three years: his proclaimed representation of a majority of Christians in Lebanon; and his belief that the results of the 2005 elections were the result of a reactionary vote in the favour of the “Hariri-camp” following the February 14th 2005 assassination of Rafic Hariri.
On both of these claims the General is right, but not in the way that he thinks. It is true that the results of the 2005 elections were tempered by a reactionary vote, but it was a reactionary vote driven by the formation of the Quadripartite electoral alliance (composed of the Future Movement, AMAL, Hizballah, and the PSP - all pre-dominantly Muslim parties) to the detriment of the country's Christian community.
The net result of those elections, and that temporary electoral alliance, was the garnering of a massive reactionary vote by the Christian community in Aoun’s favour. This [protest] vote, bolstered as it was by the electoral bases of the SSNP and other pro-Syrian Christian groups, have provided the General with a sizeable parliamentary bloc made up of MPs from predominantly Christian districts (Metn, Jbeil and Kesrouan).
A bloc the General has used to consistently stand in the way of long-term Christian political objectives. Objectives aimed at reinforcing the state, its institutions, and the ability of those institutions to operate in the face of constant pressure by Syria and its allies, aimed at dissolving the sovereignty of the state and reinforcing the country’s status as a de facto province of its larger neighbour to the east [and north].
And so, as in any ‘analysis’ on the General and his policies, we come back to the question that has dogged Michel Aoun since his return to Lebanon: How could a man, so wholly and visibly dedicated to the fight against Syrian occupation and the instruments of that occupation – as embodied in Hizballah and its weapons, among others – have become a primary defender of those weapons and a leading instrument to the return of that occupation?
The answer to that question, I believe, has been partly given by a post, and a video, put up on this blog several months ago, detailing the circumstances of Aoun's return to Lebanon ahead of the 2005 parliamentary elections, the building of the quadripartite alliance, and Aoun's own alliance with those factions against which he - through his leadership position among the country's underground anti-Syrian resistance youth movement - had actively fought.