| 13 June 2024, Thursday |

Washington, Paris refuse any Syrian influence following presidential elections

Lebanon will enter the constitutional orbit to elect a new president of the republic on September 1st, even though it has been in the political orbit of this entitlement since the beginning of the failure of the government formation process, which should have occurred immediately after the parliamentary elections.

Lebanon is in greatest need of a new president, but the circumstances surrounding him are fraught with ambiguity. Prominent diplomatic sources in Beirut told Sawt Beirut International that the Lebanese situation is determined by the possibility of a clash of regional and international interests during the election period. The first initiative is for the state to reclaim its sovereignty and decision-making authority over its territory and people. The second is the Iranian hegemonic project over its capabilities and institutions.

As a result, if a US-Iranian nuclear agreement is not reached, and Iran continues to enrich uranium, leading to the creation of a nuclear bomb, there is little prospect for a substantial production in Lebanon. This will reflect internal tensions as Hezbollah attempts to impose its presidential candidate, although what is necessary, according to sources, is the presence of a non-confrontational president, which will fix the Lebanese crisis. The crucial thing to remember is that the March 8 parties will find it difficult to overcome internal checks, particularly those represented by Parliament.

In the absence of the present regional conflict, neither Saudi Arabia nor Iran will impose a president, unless the main internal forces support the candidate whose candidacy is likely to be declared, Sleiman Frangieh. The attitude of the Free Patriotic Movement and the socialist, if they proceed in the direction of Frangieh and do not face “vetoes” from the “forces” and “the revolution,” then this may be achieved. This time overseas, there is no substantial escalation taking place in preparation for the Lebanese presidential elections.

As a result, the internal consensus’s orientation may impose itself on international powers. Noting that, as with the election of the current president of the republic, all parliamentary blocs linked with the opposition would not quickly cede one hundred percent. The Americans and French standing with them against the Syrian regime, and hence against any candidate allied to it, will destroy the apathetic international climate that has existed till now.

From this perspective, there is a risk that Frangieh will be named president, and the foreign pressure to find a moderate president will become non-confrontational, especially if the Americans and Iranians agree on nuclear issue. Furthermore, US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin are personal adversaries, not simply political foes.

The US government does not want Syria’s influence to return to the Arab League, nor does it want Syria’s and its candidates’ influence to return to the Lebanese file. However, according to sources, if a domestic agreement is reached regarding the nomination of Frangieh as a president, no foreign team will hinder this agreement owing to Lebanon’s lack of international significance.

However, there is a worldwide and Arab foreign desire for a President of the Republic to come to Lebanon from outside the parties, similar to the present Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s scenario, who is not affiliated with any party.

What is unfortunate, according to sources, is that internal understandings will affect international powers, which is no longer very interested in Lebanon’s file at this stage, as they are primarily interested in a team making a difference in its sovereign national performance and achieving something important for Lebanon, but it believes that sharing and compromise prevents this goal from being achieved.

  • Sawt Beirut International