How does Iran interfere in Lebanon’s upcoming elections?

Translated by Farah El Desouky

Through the forthcoming Lebanese elections, Tehran seeks to become an influential player in decision-making within the institutions of the Lebanese State, with numerous reports indicating that Iran has equipped support for Hezbollah in the upcoming multifaceted elections. (Material, political, media and military) for the party’s achievement of the largest number of seats in Parliament and its use as a pressure paper within the Lebanese regime, aimed at implementing the Iranian Shia scheme aimed at destroying Arab communities by sectarianism, corruption and weak infrastructure in particular, the results of those elections will tip the internal and external scales, as soon as Lebanon rises to the top or leaves it in the dark bottom. In particular, the mullahs’ arm won it and took control of the Lebanese House of Representatives this time as it did in the 2018 elections.

Lebanon’s parliamentary elections will take place on May 15, with 1,043 candidates from the leaders of various political parties and currents competing, most notably “Lebanese Hezbollah” (Iran’s arm within Lebanese territory). Lebanon’s parliamentary elections are held every four years and candidates compete for 128 parliamentary seats, divided according to the current electoral system into 28 for the year, 28 for Shi ‘a, 8 for Druze, 34 for Maroness, 14 for Orthodox, 8 for Catholic, 5 for Armenians, 2 for Alawis and 1 for minorities within the Christian community.

Iranian means of support:

The words of the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Qassem Soleimani, in June 2018, after Hezbollah won the majority in the Lebanese House of Representatives – underscore the importance of Lebanon’s parliamentary elections to the Iranian regime especially because “Soleimani expressed his pleasure at the time, saying “The elections held in Lebanon represent a major victory for Hezbollah, which has shifted from a resistance party to a resistance government”; Based on the importance of the forthcoming Lebanese elections for the Iranian regime, it will do its utmost and harness all its resources to support its Lebanese arm in winning those elections, and not to repeat the scenario of losing the militia loyal to it in the country of Mérifidain for the October 2021 parliamentary elections, as follows:

(*) Financial support, despite Iran’s difficult economic conditions as a result of United States sanctions that have led to the collapse of Iran’s economy and domestic currency and the failure to date of negotiations to revive the Vienna nuclear agreement to reach a solution to lift sanctions on Iran by Washington; The Fakih State regime will provide financial support to Hizbullah to spend on its upcoming election campaign. Indeed, a number of Iranian media outlets have revealed that the party has asked the Office of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, over the past days, to increase financial allocations to the party by about $25 million, to pay for the campaign and provide the necessary financial resources to the party-allied personalities.

(*) Media support, likely to be launched by Iran’s media in Lebanon and Hizbullah mouthpiece, such as the “World, Manar and Fields” channels, an information campaign in support of pro-party candidates in those elections, The opposition opinion holders threaten the party’s influence in Lebanon, and Iran will rely chiefly on social media to send veiled threatening messages against Lebanese party policy and militias. Trying to convince Lebanon that Hizbullah won those elections was in Lebanon’s interest, to save its collapsing economy and to fight America and Israel.

(*) Political support, a week after the closing of the nomination for Lebanese elections on 15 March last, Iranian Foreign Minister Hussein Amir Abdulhian visited Lebanese capital Beirut and met with the Secretary-General of the Hizbullah militia, Hassan Nasrallah, to deliver a number of political messages to reassure the Lebanese Party The most important of them is that if the Vienna nuclear negotiations are successful and Tehran concludes a nuclear agreement with Washington, That will not change the Iranian regime’s position in support of its allies in the countries of the region. and that he will continue to demand the removal of Hizbullah from the United States terror list, Emphasizing Iran’s future role within the Lebanese arena, especially in parliamentary elections Tehran will stand by Hezbollah until it wins the upcoming elections.

(*) Military support, Hizballah’s military capabilities are known to be primarily credited to Iran, This support contributed to the party’s possession of a huge arsenal of ballistic missiles, anti-aircraft missiles, ships and drones As Lebanon’s elections approached, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights revealed on April 23, That the Lebanese Hezbollah, under the supervision of experts from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, was established, Workshop for the manufacture of missiles and maintenance of drones and weapons in the second largest Syrian weapons depot in Homs.

Pragmatism Governor:

Hizballah’s election battle policy is based on the “principle of pragmatism” and the removal of anyone who threatens the party’s access to the majority in the forthcoming elections, Hence, under Iran’s direction, the Party provides its candidates with media and financial support in exchange for the silence of the candidate for tearing the Party apart the sovereignty of the Lebanese State. This underscores the Iranian party and regime’s fears this time that it will lose those elections, especially as its status among Lebanese suffering from a deterioration in their living and economic conditions as a result of the party’s failure to manage the country’s affairs over the past years has recently resulted in Lebanon declaring bankruptcy.

That policy is also confirmed by Hezbollah’s expulsion of several pro-Syrian candidates from the electoral lists. Such as the Secretary-General of the Ba ‘at Party in Lebanon, Ali Hijazi, Baalbek al-Hirmil, or Walid Sukkari, Baalbek al-Hirmil In the wake of the rapprochement between Syria and certain Gulf States and the visit of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, To the United Arab Emirates last March, his first visit to an Arab state since 2011, as Iran and its party fear that the Gulf’s rapprochement with Syria could diminish Iranian influence in Lebanon’s election through the formation of an independent parliamentary bloc from Hizbullah by Damascus allies in Lebanon, which may not be aligned with the Shia party in voting on a number of key decisions, such as the selection of the Prime Minister or the President of the Republic.

Possible implications:

Some close associates are likely that if the pro-Iranian party wins a majority in the House of Representatives, it will continue to control the joints of the Lebanese State. If it loses, its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, will come out to tell the Lebanese that the country is not governed by the majority because it is a “consensual democracy” and will overturn the election results; The President’s question here is: What if Hezbollah takes control of the Lebanese House of Representatives? What impact does this have on the future of Lebanon’s new Government?

To answer the previous question and reveal Tehran’s games “and their possible repercussions, it should be noted that Lebanon’s parliamentary elections are different this time, as it came after the popular movement in Lebanon in October 2019, in which demonstrators raised demands that the regime should step down and undertake radical reforms in the joints of the Lebanese State. as well as after the massive explosion in Beirut in August 2020, and the pointing of fingers at Lebanon’s Hezbollah as well as an unprecedented phenomenon, of 26 candidates from media professionals and journalists joining the electoral regulations on the basis of the foregoing, a set of influences that may determine the shape and contours of the outcome of the forthcoming elections can be challenged by their possible implications, as follows:

(&) Sunni tendency: One of the highlights that will of course affect the results of those elections and will shape the new government and determine the shape of the next Parliament the Sunni Movement, headed by Saad Hariri, declared that it would not run in those elections. and the reluctance of any Sunni leadership such as current Prime Minister Najib Mikati and former Fouad Siniora This unprecedented reality could be in the interest of Hezbollah’s political alliance. s Republic of China “, which could acquire some Sunni seats within its parliamentary bloc.

If this happens, a strong Hizbullah-allied Hizbullah and the Free Patriotic Movement (FNM) team is expected to be present in the next Parliament. (Hizballah’s representative on the Christian Street), which puts the strong opposition of the coalition of the Lebanese Forces Party led by Samir Geagea and the Progressive Socialist Party (PROP) in great defiance, along with media reports of Hizballah’s aspirations to control half of the seats reserved for Druze in Parliament.

(&) American “aid” calculations: The Lebanese people remain open to two options for determining their fate with regard to U.S. aid. First, if Lebanon increases their opposition to Hezbollah, which dominates their country’s policies, it is expected that U.S. foreign aid will flow to the Lebanese government and be reallocated in ways that counter Iran’s influence, and will be directed away from authorities and organs under Hezbollah’s influence. The second option would be for Washington to pursue the same approach by imposing sanctions on Lebanese figures implementing the agenda of Iran’s terrorist agent within the corridors of Lebanese rule. US Foreign Minister Anthony Blinken has previously asserted that “sanctions come in solidarity with the Lebanese people who have for some time been demanding transparency, an end to corruption, spoilers and Lebanon’s rescue from the Iranian anese imperial project.”

(&) Foreign isolation and Iranian hegemony: Hezbollah won parliamentary elections and controlled the Lebanese Government would increase Lebanon’s bleeding, and strikes on the Lebanese people would continue between a profound financial and economic crisis accompanied by all forms of corruption. and external isolation will negatively affect Lebanese society and enhance opportunities for the Iranian regime to dominate decision-making organs within Lebanon, to this end, foreign actors must put pressure on political allies loyal to Hizbullah and implementing its political agenda, notably Lebanese President Michel Aoun, in particular by allowing Iran and its agent to do their thing freely in Lebanon.

(&) Expansion of Iranian influence inside Syria: Hezbollah’s victory in parliamentary elections will result in continued military engagement inside Syria in coordination with Iran. Tehran relies consistently on the Lebanese Party to use Lebanese airspace to carry out strikes on Israeli army positions inside Syria.

Lastly, Iran’s accurately estimated calculations from the forthcoming Lebanese parliamentary elections will make it fight vigorously to stabilize Hezbollah within the Parliament, thereby establishing its pillars among the main actors in Lebanese decision-making institutions, which may negatively reflect both the functioning of the Lebanese Parliament and the future of the future Government.

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