| 16 April 2024, Tuesday |

Between “defensive strategy” and “electoral strategy”

Some historian who will chronicle General Michel Aoun’s arrival circumstances to the presidency in October 2016, after two years and five months of presidential vacuum, would dare reveal that one of Hezbollah’s conditions to facilitate this access was to withdraw the “defense strategy” file from circulation throughout the period President Aoun’s covenant.

The “General” adhered to this condition, and whoever reviews his stances, dialogues, and speeches over the past five years, finds no trace or mention of the defense strategy, and this was what satisfied the party.

Suddenly, and without warning, the “General” violated the condition, and demanded a defensive strategy, but rather went further, by demanding that the state be the decision-maker, as he literally said: “Only the state sets the defense strategy and ensures its implementation.”

These words should have been said at the beginning of the covenant, and not in the last ten months of it, and what he said is nothing but to outbid his partner in the “Mar-Mikhael understanding”, Mr. Hassan Nasrallah, and not to achieve the strategy. And that the remaining ten months of it do not allow him to appoint a bush warden, so how can he accomplish a defensive strategy?
President Aoun wants to open an electoral “bazaar” with Hezbollah: He wants a guarantee that the party will support the arrival of the head of the Free Patriotic Movement to the presidency.

He wants a guarantee that the party’s electoral votes in the “joint constituencies” with him, will belong to the movement’s lists, just as it happened in the 2018 elections.
If Hezbollah adheres to the “electoral strategy” with President Aoun and the Free Patriotic Movement, the president withdraws from circulation the “defensive strategy.”

But this “bazaar” is not obstacles free. The “chefs” of the presidential elections are not in Haret Hreik, and the head of the Free Patriotic Movement is aware of this, and he is trying to implement a “thoughtful distancing” from Hezbollah, but these attempts are not counted, as a complete disengagement with the party is required, which he is unable to do.

The Parliamentary elections issue, constitutes a real “headache” for the head of the movement, as all the numbers and polls that are placed on his desk, indicate a decline in the Tayyar’s popularity, and even his popularity among expatriates has also declined, and based on these polls, Bassil needs an “electoral impetus” from the party in circles, such as Byblos, Baabda, Zahle, the South, and perhaps others, and unless the Tayyar gets the support of the party, its lists in those districts are not in a comfortable position.

These data suggest that the President and Bassil will not go far in their opposition to Hezbollah, but rather they are expected to take into account the “return back option”
In short, Basil without Hezbollah, is like a fish outside of water. All the dedication of the last fifteen years, since the signing of the “Mar-MiKhael Understanding” is not erased by the “knotting of a pen” in Baabda’s last speech.