(My Middle East)

77 days with a journalist, Lebanon, and a list of non sequiturs

Posts Tagged ‘March 14

Victory for March 14

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Looks like I was wrong when I called a March 8 victory yesterday. Although it looks like M8 will win seats in Jbeil and Koura _Sound like Koura is going 3-0 for March 14_ (where I covered), it looks as if M14 could win both seats in Batroun, and overall March 14 picked up the seats they need. Hariri has announced his win, which has gone uncontested by the opposition.

The lede I had on my story for the paper was about how many Aoun, Marada and Hezbollah supporters there were on the street, but it looks as if March 8 just has more exuberant supporters while M14 are laid low and voted heavily. Heres a good wrap by Abu Muqawama, counter insurgency and Middle East expert at CNAS.

Also a fun set of pictures from the blog Blacksmiths of Lebanon, it seemed like everyone had flags waving out the back of their cars.

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Written by stephenddockery

June 8, 2009 at 7:17 am

Hes got the whole world in his hands

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Lebanese President Michel Sleiman

Lebanese President Michel Sleiman

Interesting blog post today from freelance journalist Deen Sharp, Sharp talks about the role of independents in the upcoming election who seem to be not that independent after all. Sharp alludes to a bloc of independents who are in President Michel Sleiman’s pocket.

These independents like Nazem al-Khoury in Jbeil and Michel al-Murr in Metn who may be a tipping factor in giving the March 14 bloc the edge.

We will see how this develops if the independent Sleiman becomes more politicized and if he starts wielding more power in parliament. If thats the case, the president will hold the precarious key to stability .If he is looked at as partisan to March 14, it could increase the divide between the government and the opposition and could also push Hezbollah farther away from politics and more reliant on their militia. If on the other hand Sleiman can manage holding these parliamentarians in a critical independent bloc AND make it appear that he has no particular parties interest in mind, then Sleiman could create that split parliament result that seems to be in everyone’s interest.

The second scenario may be getting more difficult as yesterday two independents mysteriously pulled out of the Jbeil race. The move ended the deadlock between several March 14 potential lists and cleared the way for a single list which includes independent Maronite and former adviser to President Sleiman, Nazem al-Khoury.

Written by stephenddockery

June 6, 2009 at 1:57 pm

Victory for March 14? Be just as concerned

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There is a good Q&A with Michael Young from The Daily Star yesterday, who points out that even though everyone is talking about the regional impact of a decisive March 8 victory, he says a decisive victory for March 14 could be equally as destabilizing

The Future Party

The Future Party

“If there is a substantial victory by the March 14 forces, in alliance with so-called independent candidates, you’ll also have a period of instability. The “independents” are primarily Christians who have said they are neither with March 14 nor with the opposition.

A large victory by either side would be destabilizing. The least destabilizing option would be essentially a stalemate, which would mean a modest victory by a coalition of March 14 with the independents, in which any future government would be probably headed by Saad Hariri or by one of his political allies. But at the same time, given that this victory would have been modest, you would have to give the opposition some kind of role in the government–it would be a national unity government of some sort.”

It makes sense because Hezbollah would be put in a weaker position, having less political power and having to rely on their military power to protect their interests. A March 14 strong victory would also put the government in a position to try and force Hezbollah to give up their arms (if they were so inclined), which would invariably lead to conflict.

Written by stephenddockery

May 30, 2009 at 11:35 am