The ruling March 14 Coalition, heirs to the Cedar Revolution, have somewhat unexpectedly carried the day in Lebanon
. This is being reported as a defeat for Hezbollah, since Hezbollah was (and is) the main party in the opposition. But Hezbollah’s actual level of electoral support is unchanged. Instead, as I said the other day
, the key player was Michael Aoun and his Free Patriotic Movement. Aoun, a Christian, had aligned himself with the Hezbollah-led coalition. But he ultimately wasn’t able to carry enough of the Christian vote to put the opposition in power.
Since the March 14 Coalition is pro-Western in its orientation, this counts as a win for US foreign policy. At the same time, it’s not actually clear to me how anyone’s life in the United States is actually impacted by Lebanese electoral politics and my general sense is that it’s not wise to get too invested in these kind of proxy struggles. The fundamental issue of Hezbollah’s role in Lebanese society will, one suspects, remain unresolved as Hezbollah has no intention of surrendering its weapons and it seems it will still be the case that the Lebanese government isn’t going to be willing or able to forcibly disarm it.