Iranian elections are heating up, with Ahmadinejad coming at Mousavi using his wife just last week. I’ll be going to a forum today where pre-election polling out of Iran will be released. I’ll liveblog it if opportunity permits.
Meanwhile in Lebanon, huge voter turnout over the weekend handed a victory to Saad Hariri, the son of Lebanon’s slain leader, and his March 14th coaltion.
Preliminary results reported on Lebanese television showed the alliance, known as the March 14 coalition, had managed to preserve its majority in Parliament. If those results are confirmed, they would represent a significant and unexpected defeat for Hezbollah and its allies, Iran and Syria. Most polls had showed a tight race, but one in which the Hezbollah-led group would win.
… If Hezbollah’s alliance had emerged victorious, it would have represented another step in the evolution of a once parochial Shiite militia that started as a guerrilla force fighting Israeli occupation of the south into a national institution that slowly has defined the identity of the state.
Hezbollah has said that it would work to build what it called a “culture of resistance,” and define the enemy of Lebanon as Israel and the United States. It also said it would make it a high priority to build a strong national military. …
March 14 consists of a section of the Sunni Arabs, led by Saad Hariri, who is supported by Saudi Arabia and who has unsuccessfully attempted to develop his own militia with Saudi funds. Another component is Walid Jumblatt’s constituency among the Druze minority (an esoteric, folk offshoot of Shiite Islam). Jumblatt is notoriously mercurial and had been anti-American before 2005, and cannot be relied on to remain in the March 14 Movement. Then there is the Lebanese Forces, which is a revival of a rightwing Christian group that played a very sinister role in the Lebanese civil war and after, led by Samir Geagea,who was convicted of terrorism. (BTW, Geagea’s Wikipedia entry is pro-Geagea propaganda and an example of why wikipedia is worthless when it comes to controversial subjects).
Gen. Aoun would be preferable to Geagea politically on virtually any dimension a normal person could choose.
But anyway, March 14 is the majority and will form the government, though it may be a national unity government that includes Hezbollah and its allies.
Cole also slams the Obama administration’s “blatant interference in another country’s election.” Of course, Juan is referring to Vice President Joe Biden’s trip to Lebanon, as well as other comments made by Obama administration officials, including Sect. Clinton.
So, it’s good news from Lebanon. Now if Ahmadinejad could just lose.