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Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Losing Lebanon

By Douglas V. Gibbs

Lebanon used to be a majority Christian country, kept the peace, and was an ally to Israel.  When Islam took over, and became the majority, Lebanon has become a war-torn strip of land in constant upheaval, and now the buddy of Syria's Assad may take the helm.

Remember, one of the problems in Lebanon has been Syrian influence.  Now, a childhood buddy of Dictator Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could become president in a power-sharing deal that will finish off any Christian presence or influence in Lebanon, and place Israel in an even more precarious position.

Suleiman Franjieh's appointment (not electoral victory) is believed to be a push for more stability in Lebanon, a country badly affected by the Syrian war, but the barely functioning government who has been without a president for 18 months, has been in desperation seeking some kind of viable leadership.  The reality is, Saudi Arabia and Iran both have their hands in this latest Lebanese twist.

Still a proposal, and something that has not even been made public, Franjieh has said the proposal for him to become president is serious, but not official. The deal is expected to include an agreement on arrangements for new parliamentary elections.

Hezbollah's support has surprisingly been behind Michel Naim Aoun, head of the largest Christian bloc, and a former Lebanese Army Commander. He is the founder of the Free Patriotic Movement, over which he presided from 2005 to 2015.

Franjieh may be able to win over Hezbollah, since he is pro-Syrian, and Hezbollah has been waging war in Syria in support of Assad.

Franjieh's candidacy would certainly be welcomed by Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, a powerful Hezbollah ally who heads the Shi'ite Amal Movement and whose fractious relationship with Aoun is no secret.

Whatever happens, Franjieh's appointment, should it happen, will lead to greater strife in Lebanon, lead to a mass exodus of the remaining Christians in the country out of the area, and allow Lebanon to once again become a major launching ground for assaults against Israel.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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