The Lebanese Parliament session will be held on Wednesday, without the Americans appearing to be a party to this process. Rather, they have shown great care to stick to saying that electing a president for the republic in Lebanon and forming a new government that adopts economic reforms is an urgent matter.
The Noland-Barre connection
In an indication of the Americans’ pressure on the parties to complete the constitutional process, it was leaked in the American capital and Beirut that US Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland had contacted Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri. Official No. 3 in the US State Department invited him to lead the electoral process, stressing that the United States hopes that this will happen without hindrance.
Nabih Berri (Associated Press)
It was also leaked that Berri was optimistic that the electoral process would take place, and it was not clear if he was committed to following up the electoral sessions without losing the quorum, or if he was committed to holding the electoral sessions until they reach a result.
The contact remains an indication of the interest of the Americans at a high level, or at least higher than the ambassador delegated to Lebanon or the assistant foreign minister, Barbara Lev.
The past months have witnessed rounds of contacts between the Lebanese and the Americans regarding the presidential elections and the person of the future president, and what the Americans want and what they do not want, and it is clear that the American capital witnessed contacts on behalf of many personalities.
The interesting thing about this case is that the branches of the US administration and its employees dealt with the presidential nominations in Lebanon and the personalities put forward with a lot of hesitation, and sometimes personally.
The most controversial figure was the figure of former minister Suleiman Franjieh. American personalities who deal in Lebanese affairs did not express a clear objection to him, even though he is supported by Hezbollah and the Amal movement. The Americans told their contacts that if Franjieh was elected, the Americans would deal with him as the choice of the Lebanese, and that what was required was the implementation of the reform program in Lebanon, regardless of the candidate being the elected president.
The Americans, at least some Americans, returned to say the opposite later, and said that they would not help the French in their campaign in support of the former minister, and said that the name did not appear to be at the level of the required ambitions.
The Americans’ position on the candidacy of the former minister, Jihad Azour, is remarkable in its vagueness. The Americans want economic and financial reforms, and Jihad Azour works in the IMF and is responsible for the Middle East region, and knows what the Americans, the Arab world, and the international community want. Nevertheless, the Americans did not show any support for his specifications, and they did not They talk about their ties to him, and he has been in the American capital for years.
Likewise, the Americans did not say that it was up to the level of ambitions required when the Lebanese opposition blocs announced the withdrawal of MP Michel Moawad’s candidacy. Rather, the Americans contented themselves with saying that what is required is elections as soon as possible.
Among the oddities of the American administration is also the attitude of its employees towards the Lebanese Army Commander, Joseph Aoun. On one day, it seems that officials in the US Department of Defense receive him, and the State Department and the US Congress work to deliver aid to his members in order to continue their work, and to put confidence in him and his leadership, and on another day one of the American employees puts “Veto” on the man because “during the negotiations with Israel, he supported the claim to Line 29.”
This does not mean that the objection of one employee obligated the US administration to veto, but the US administration, during the past months, has shown swings that reach the point of saying that it has wings.
It remains that the administration, despite the tone and “positions” expressed by an ambassador or an employee in the National Security Council, remains governed by the official position and is based mainly on maintaining stability in Lebanon, and that this stability is accompanied by the election of a president and the formation of a new government that works on reform. Then comes the turn of the international community.
The current US administration has adopted this part that links aid to reforms from the previous Donald Trump administration, while the Biden administration has introduced the theory of stability and appeasement since 2021, and the Biden administration is also using the threat of sanctions against the Lebanese in an additional attempt to continue pushing those responsible for the election process to continue their work, but it does not seem Active enough to be a “power player”.
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