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The Continued Hezbollah Factor In Lebanon

Howard Gumnitzky

On Sunday, the U.S.-backed “March 14” coalition won a majority of seats in Lebanese parliamentary elections, edging out Hezbollah. The U.S. had aided the alliance with some $1 billion. A relieved President Barack Obama anticipated the new government would commit to “principles of peace and moderation,” and to “secure a sovereign and prosperous Lebanon.”

Hezbollah, however, is still a force to be reckoned with. Following the elections, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah insisted that his group will not disarm. Accordingly, as analyst Tony Badran notes, Hezbollah will continue to be a source of instability in Lebanon for the foreseeable future.

Naim Salem, a professor for Notre Dame University in Beirut, also observes that the March 14 alliance will need to include Hezbollah in its governing coalition, granting the terror group veto power. Syrian and Iranian influence over the Shi’ite militia could also complicate Middle East peace prospects.