Young women wave Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah flags as well as an Iranian flag in the southern Lebanese town of Bint Jbeil on August 13, 2016. (AFP)

By Waleed Shuqair

September 29, 2020

After preventing the formation of the new government in Lebanon, Hezbollah, its allies, and Iran’s supporters in the country now realize the grave mistake they have committed.

This is why they have resorted to the media in attempt to clear their names in relation to the failure of the French initiative and to place the responsibility on all the other Lebanese parties, focusing the blame for the deadlock that the situation has reached on the one person who made concessions in hopes of ensuring the success of the initiative, Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

The most glaring irony in all the media and mobilization campaigns that followed the apology of the Prime Minister-designate who was tasked with the formation of the new government, Ambassador Mustapha Adib, is that those who foiled the French initiative, on which he relied in setting the criteria for the government formation, are claiming to support the initiative and are dissociating themselves from killing off the chance that it represented to divert the country from the path of total collapse.

In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov requested from his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif that Iran facilitate the formation of a new government in Lebanon to put it on the path of finding solutions to this crisis. Zarif replied by saying that the Lebanese should be left to deal with their affairs without interference and wondered why President Emmanuel Macron sees it fit to intervene. In Beirut, Tehran’s allies say they want Paris to maintain its interest and they refuse to declare the failure of the French efforts after Adib’s stepping down.

Back to Moscow, Zarif concludes the meeting with Lavrov by asking why the French communicate directly with Hezbollah, thus suggesting that Paris should discuss the crisis in Lebanon with Tehran. In Beirut, Tehran’s supporters promote the idea that the Secretary-General of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, is authorized by the Iranian leadership to take the appropriate actions without referring to them.

Upon looking into the views of Iran’s affiliates and Hezbollah on why the French initiative failed and Adib’s stepped down, one can only conclude that they are burying their heads in the sand. Before Adib’s decision, they wavered between criticizing what they called the French interference in forming the government and accusing the former heads of government of intervening, then after Adib’s resignation, they insisted that the initiative did not fail and demanded its continuation.

The affiliates of Hezbollah accuse Macron of coordinating his efforts with the Trump administration on the one hand, and then accuse the Americans of being the ones who foiled Macron’s initiative on the other. All these contradictions indicate clear doubt and disorganization.

The apologetic PM-designate Adib set new rules for the formation process, whether due to his constitutional position or the dictates of his political position, outside the sectarian and political quotas, which were the main cause of the deadlock in which the country now finds itself. He stood firmly against entering into bargains and against the previous methods of imposing a certain balance of power within the executive branch of the government, which is extraneous to the constitution and political life.

Perhaps the new method that Adib used was the cause for the doubt and confusion in the position of Hezbollah, which forced it along with Iran into the open when it comes to its goal: retaining the upper hand in forming the government to keep it under Hezbollah’s complete control by virtue of its alliance with the “Free Patriotic Movement.”

The success of Hezbollah and Iran in denying Macron an achievement in Lebanon, and Tehran’s holding back on exercising its influence until the planned negotiations with Washington, may represent justification for rapprochement between the two capitals regarding sanctions and the hardened position against Iran.

As for things on the local level, depriving the country of the opportunity that Macron’s initiative provided put Iran and Hezbollah in a position of rivalry with all the Lebanese parties, and cost their ally, Speaker Nabih Berri, his negotiator and conciliatory role despite his attempts.

Al Arabiya

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Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.