08 January 2020

 

Predictions

  • Hizballah will prioritise preserving domestic political influence over efforts to avenge death of Iranian Quds Force leader
  • March 8 parties will continue efforts to secure Hariri’s backing for new government, delaying cabinet formation and prolonging protests
  • Hizballah will seek to instigate factional clashes amid protests in order to pressure Hariri to compromise and preserve wider stability

 

Analysis

Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah said in a statement on 3 January that it was the responsibility of mujahideen around the world to “take due revenge” on the US for the death of General Qassem Soleimani, the Iranian Quds Force leader killed in a US airstrike in Baghdad earlier that day. Separately, also on 3 January, President Aoun said he hoped to announce the formation of a new government later this week.

Widespread anti-government protests led to the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri on October 29, with demonstrators calling for the establishment of a new government of independent experts to navigate Lebanon through its current economic crisis. Two months of political stalemate followed until on 19 December President Aoun designated former Education Minister Hassan Diab as Prime Minister, a role that under Lebanon’s political system must be held by a Sunni. Although Diab has the support of the Hizballah-led March 8 alliance, he does not have the backing of Hariri’s Future Movement – Lebanon’s most influential Sunni party – nor of Hariri’s Christian allies, all of which have said they will not join the new government, and have echoed protesters’ calls for a fully technocratic administration.

Without the participation of Hariri and his allies whatever government emerges will be heavily influenced by Hizballah and will therefore

Lebanon: Hizbollah flags fly over sourthern Lebanon

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