Lebanon.. Conflict Over Power between Allies

It seems that 60 days were enough to hit the bloc supporting Hassan Diab’s government in Lebanon, especially that it started to have internal fissures, the most prominent of which are the threats of the Marada Movement’s leader and former Minister of Interior, Suleiman Franjieh, who tweeted a threat withdrawing from the government coalition, increasing the possibility of a new governmental vacuum crisis, that Lebanon may experience in the coming days.

Analysts say that Franjieh’s threats reflect the disputes between the parties of the governmental coalition, and carry a series of indications, most notably, the conflict over the gains, at a time when the world, including Lebanon, undergoes a serious health crisis due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

This means that the mentality of Diab’s government and its supporting parties is going on the old approach of getting the greatest share of political and economic gains, regardless of what the country is going through. And according to analysts, this leads to hundreds of questions, the most important of which is: Will this government be able to confront the huge challenges facing Lebanon, an almost bankrupted country?

The disputes between allies in the governmental coalition are completely based on the conflict over power and decision making, particularly the economical ones; they are not based on the government’s program to overcome the crises, Lebanese sources told MENA Research and Study Center.

The weakness of the prime minister and not having a party that supports him, exacerbated the crisis, MENA Research and Study Center sources pointed out: “Diab was appointed by Hezbollah. So he doesn’t have the power to make decisions or deal with crises, as he’s no more than a pawn moving according to Hezbollah agreements and interests, and this is a great disaster,” the sources added.

On the other hand, having partisan conflict over the posts distribution, and having some political parties threatening to withdraw from the government, categorically revokes Diab’s claims that it’s a government of competencies and technocrats.

When the Free Patriotic Movement, the Amal Movement, the Marada Movement or any other party insists on specific persons for specific positions and ministries, a question will be raised: What is the role of the prime minister, and is his government formed of independent persons?

The Governmental coalition represents several Lebanese streams that have individual interests, “if we look at the list of Diab’s supporters, we find that they were enemies, who waged wars against each other in the past. Their loyalties are completely different, and the only thing that unites them now is the government that enables them to obtain more power,” the sources said.

“Especially the Free Patriotic Movement, which obtained a large share of the government in addition to the position of the President of Lebanon and the Amal Movement, which also obtained major positions in the government alongside the presidency of the Parliament, while Hezbollah has turned from ruling the country under the pretext of the parliamentary majority, ruling through a prime minister appointed by it,” MENA Research and Study Center sources added.

The interests that united those politicians can separate between them easily, especially with the ambitions of the Free Patriotic Movement’s leader, Gibran Bassil, who tries to empower his stream to parallel Amal movement and Hezbollah, which makes them upset and vigilant.

“The opposition bloc, made up of the Lebanese Forces and Future Movement and the Kataeb Party, to which the Social Democratic Party is added sometimes, seems more coherent and harmonious, which may complicate the government’s assessment in the near future,” the sources said, adding that the difference between the previous prime minister and the current one is obvious, as Saad al-Hariri, the former PM was supported by almost all the Lebanese Sunnis, whereas his successor is appointed by Hezbollah.

Furthermore, Lebanese newspapers indicated that the positions of the Central Bank of Lebanon played a great role in the allies’ conflict, as there were differences between the Free Patriotic Movement, headed by Basil on the one hand, and the Amal movement, headed by Nabih Berri and the Marada Movement headed by Suleiman Franjieh on the other hand. They dispute over appointing new deputies to the Governor of Bank of Lebanon and members in the Banking Supervision Committee, given that Basil calls for speeding up the process, insisting on specific names, while Berri and Franjieh refused Bassil’s calls.

As for the escalating dispute between the Free Patriotic Movement and the Marada Movement, it is attributed to Bassil’s desire of having all the Maronite positions in the government controlled by his party, which is unaccepted by Franjieh, especially that his movement is a main partner in the bloc supporting the prime minister.

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