A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, June 8, 2009

Nasrallah Accepts the Results . . .

. . . albeit not very cheerfully:
We accept the result regardless of the huge expenditure that will [be] illustrated in the days to come; regardless of the sectarian incitement and the lies that were aimed to intimidate the public opinion, especially in some particular districts and regardless of open foreign interference, however I will not tackle this tonight and this will not affect our acceptance to the results.
Note: This paragraph seemed to disappear at one point from the Al-Manar English website, but now it's back.

I think the "open foreign interference" is a reference to Joe Biden's recent trip. Rob Satloff of the Washington Institute, writing at the Middle East Strategy at Harvard site, goes so far as to credit the win to the Vice President. The idea is that if Biden hadn't suggested that US aid to Lebanon might be affected by the results of the elections, the opposition might have won. I'm dubious about that: usually overt threats are counterproductive in the Middle East, and I would lean toward the idea that the Christian population was mobilized by Hizbullah's armed seizure of West Beirut last year and that this undercut Aoun. (It wasn't Hizbullah that lost ground, it was Aoun, who did far more poorly than the polls suggested he would.)

Andrew Exum at Abu Muqawama
has a list of winners and losers, and I think his assessment is more on target: Saudi Money (the "huge expenditures" Nasrallah refers to) to the Hariri camp, Hizbullah's behavior last year, and Cardinal Sfeir's warning were all influential. Not to mention feudal loyalties, which he labels nepotism, asking "Goodness gracious, how many Gemayels won?". I think at least two is the answer: Nadim son of Bashir, and Sami son of Amin. Nayla Tueni won too, as did most people named Frangieh or Murr or Chamoun or any other well-known last name of a political figure in the last two generations. UPDATE: I almost said, "except perhaps Karami," but nope: Ahmad Karami won a seat from Tripoli. The families go on.

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