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Lebanon’s Elections And The Ever-Shifting Narrative Of Western Propaganda

In the buildup to the Lebanese elections, which took place on May 15, Western media predicted a landslide victory for Hezbollah and its allies, painting an eerie picture of what could be afoot for Lebanon. However, now that the results have painted a different picture, a new narrative has emerged for the time being, one that claims that Hezbollah suffered a significant loss in the recent elections.

Prior to the May 15 elections, it was not uncommon to see Western media mouthpieces pointing to Tehran’s alleged growing influence in Beirut. For years now, Western and even some Middle Eastern news outlets have been attempting to make their audiences believe that the Islamic Republic of Iran is a de-facto occupation force inside Lebanon, maneuvering as such behind the shield of Hezbollah. The fact that Saudi-backed Sunni leader, Saad Hariri, had bowed out of political life and sparked a boycott of the elections from many of his supporters seemed to further solidify the argument that Hezbollah, along with its allies in the Christian ‘Free Patriotic Movement’ and ‘Shia Amal Movement’, would win big in the elections.

Then voting took place and the results showed a very different picture. It then seemed that the parliamentary majority that Hezbollah and its allies secured in 2018 was no longer in place — they had lost their majority. What followed was a predictable spinning of the facts to claim that Hezbollah were defeated by Lebanese democracy. So, it went from Iran being the rulers of Lebanon through Hezbollah and the coming Islamic Republic of Lebanon narrative, to there is now a fair democracy in which the people rejected Hezbollah. The fact of the matter was that the election results reflected the fact that much of the independents, who had run in the election, had won the hearts and minds of the Lebanese public over many of the political parties they may have traditionally chose. In addition to this, the political landscape has shifted, the ‘Future Movement’ was all but absent and now there is a mixed and balanced parliament.

The Lebanese Forces Party, headed by Samir Geagea, became the biggest Maronite Christian party elected to parliament over the Free Patriotic Movement, of President Michel Aoun. The Lebanese Forces, which the Western media seems to be presenting as an innocent party, were born out of the Lebanese civil war as an ultra-nationalist militia force and are headed by a convicted murderer. The Lebanese Forces are believe to have a militia force around 15,000 strong and have been implicated in massacres that murdered Palestinians, as well as Lebanese Christians and Muslims. They have historically received the support of Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Hezbollah’s seats in parliament did not change from what they were in 2018, remaining at 13, however pro-Hezbollah independents and candidates from Amal and the Free Patriotic Movement most certainly took a hit. Whilst the allies of Hezbollah did not do as well as predicted, there is no single bloc which maintains a clear majority and both the speaker, as well as the deputy speaker, of parliament are both in the pro-Hezbollah camp. So although Hezbollah’s allies did not perform as well as expected, there is no objective winner or single ruling entity which has emerged from the elections. This fact, along with the sheer number of independents who claimed victory, points to a path forward for Lebanon. Although, nothing is ever guaranteed due to the ongoing economic and political crisis.

The Western media and anti-Hezbollah media in the Middle East will continue to portray this election as a statement from the Lebanese people against the resistance forces in the country, yet there is no evidence of this. They will also now state that Hezbollah can’t claim to be allied with the largest representative of the Christians in Lebanon. Just because the Lebanese Forces managed to scrape up more seats in a single election does not make this a true statement. There is no evidence to say the Lebanese Forces represent the majority of Lebanese Christians.

What these election results also do, is thoroughly expose how the western narrative of “Iran is ruling Lebanon” is completely ludicrous. Whilst the US Ambassador to Lebanon was on the streets attempting to influence voters and Saudi donors were said to have been offering people money for votes, there was no such interference from any Iranian. In fact, the election result itself is a testament to the fact that neither Hezbollah, nor Iran, control Lebanon. The loss of seats for Amal, the Free Patriotic Movement and the pro-Hezbollah independents, whilst the Lebanese Forces expanded their number of seats, proves the narrative of complete Hezbollah control to be false.

Lebanese Hezbollah possesses a military force much more powerful than that of the Lebanese Army itself. If it chose to, it could easily take the entire country over by force, and yet it refuses to do this. Hezbollah provides economic aid and relief to those in need, helping to solve the fuel crisis that took place last year as an example of such practices. Instead of picking legitimate reasons to voice grievances and complaints towards the group, the corporate media in the West seeks only to demonize Hezbollah for one purpose — to forward the aim of destroying its armed wing. This is a military force that is essential to maintaining the security of Lebanon. The only reason Israel does not still occupy southern Lebanon, and the only reason we aren’t seeing a civil war inside the country today, is due to Hezbollah’s overwhelming military power.

Robert Inlakesh
Robert Inlakesh is a documentary filmmaker, journalist, writer, Middle-East analyst & news correspondent for The Last American Vagabond.
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