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Lebanon: A new political alliance on the horizon?

Al-Akhbar | February 18, 2014

Yesterday, the leader of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) MP Michel Aoun announced that he mediated between Hezbollah’s Secretary General, Hassan Nasrallah, and the leader of the Future Movement (FM), former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, which coincided with the restoration of security and political channels of communication between Hezbollah and the FM.

Is Lebanon witnessing a new political scene based on a five-party alliance in the government that can manage a truce, which would in turn allow the election of a new president?

In 2005, the four-party alliance excluded the FPM which had won an unequivocal majority of the Christian vote in the parliamentary elections. The new alliance includes, in addition to Hezbollah and the Amal Movement, the FM, the FPM’s Change and Reform bloc, the Phalange Party and the Progressive Socialist Party. Based on the sectarian considerations governing Lebanese politics, the sectarian representation in this alliance appears to be complete. This five-party alliance seems to have become a reality, as an increasingly positive environment seeps out little by little.

Aoun announced yesterday that he mediated between Hezbollah and the FM, and specifically between Nasrallah and Hariri. In addition, a step was taken in the same direction yesterday, prior to Aoun’s announcement, when the head of Hezbollah’s Liaison and Coordination Unit, Wafiq Safa, visited the new Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi at his apartment in Achrafieh.

The official goal of the meeting was to offer congratulations to Rifi for his ministerial appointment, but the form the meeting took gives it additional significance. In addition to Rifi and Safa, the meeting was attended by the head of the Internal Security Force’s (ISF) Information Branch, Colonel Imad Othman and director of the ISF Operations Room, Colonel Hussam al-Tannoukhi.

According to political sources, Tannoukhi – who is on good terms with the leaders of both Hezbollah and the FM – arranged the meeting which relaunched the security and political communication back channels between the two sides. This back channel had maintained contact between both parties until Rifi’s retirement and the rising political tension between Hezbollah and the FM.

While at Rifi’s home, Safa called the new interior minister, Nohad al-Machnouk, and congratulated him on his new post. Political sources said that this “positive environment comes as a follow-up to the efforts that resulted in the formation of the new government and can be relied upon to carry the government through future political junctures such as the ministerial statement and the presidential elections.”

In a related matter, Aoun confirmed that he met both Hariri and Nasrallah, explaining: “Whoever wants to conduct mediation to bring disparate parties closer together has to talk to everyone, that is why I met both of them.”

When asked if his willingness to accept Rifi as interior minister during consultations on government formation angered Hezbollah, Aoun replied: “I was not present during the distribution of ministries and I am not the prime minister charged with assigning ministers to the various ministries. There was a difference of opinion between Hezbollah and the FM on this issue. To form the government, we suggested a kind of solution based on exchanging posts.”

Regarding concerns over the ministerial appointments of Machnouk and Rifi, especially since the Interior and Justice ministries could facilitate the work of terrorists and takfiris, Aoun argued “this issue is handled by the judiciary and the government as a whole and does not rely on the authority of one or two ministers.”

Akhbar Al-Yawm News Agency revealed that a family dinner was held Thursday evening at Aoun’s home in Rabieh and it included FPM minister Gibran Bassil and the director of the Future Movement’s presidential office, Nader Hariri. The obstacles that were still facing the formation of the government were overcome at this meeting.

In addition, information emerged in the past few days that Bassil traveled to Saudi Arabia last week where he met Saad Hariri.

February 18, 2014 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Lebanon: A new political alliance on the horizon?

Lebanon: Michel Aoun affirms that the Free Patriotic Movement and Hezbollah are on the same path

Al-Manar | August 15, 2012

Free Patriotic movement leader, Michel Aoun addressed Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah, saying his party was with the resistance on the same path.

In an interview with al-Manar TV, General Aoun said his party would not abandon resistance, saying it has been part of the movement’s being.

“We can’t stand against a part of our people who have been sacrificing and dying for the sake of our country, land and people.”

Asked whether the General rued his position in regard to Hezbollah, Aoun told the al-Manar correspondent: “Never… you should not ask me such a question.”

Asked for his position toward resistance in case of an Israeli attack on Lebanon, Aoun stressed that the FPM would support the resistance.

“We will take the same position and behavior. We will be as eager as we were in July War in 2006 in supporting the resistance because it’s part of our being.

Addressing Sayyed Nasrallah, Aoun affirmed that the FPM and Hezbollah were in the same path.

“To Sayyed Nasrallah I say we are in the same path until securing victory at the end.”

Concerning the equation of people-army-resistance, the FPM leader said there were attempts to dismantle this equation, stressing that any occupied land, however small it was, had dignity.

“The attempt to dismantle the equation of people-army-resistance is an offensive one, which aims at subjecting our country to an International political equation, in a bid to threaten its entity in the future,” Aoun told al-Manar correspondent during the interview.

August 15, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Lebanon: Michel Aoun affirms that the Free Patriotic Movement and Hezbollah are on the same path