With the Lebanese election just days away, the Hezbollah-led opposition is still seen likely to make major gains, potentially enough to seize power. Should that happen, a US government that has been pumping hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid into the Mediterranean nation will be facing an uncomfortable choice.
Experts say the US will definitely kill off the military aid program in the event of a Hezbollah victory, following through on its pledge that it will have no dealings with Hezbollah. Yet they say the US is unlikely to completely abandon relations with Lebanon in that event, fearing Iran may step in to fill any void left by the US.
Last month, Vice President Joe Biden visted Lebanon, and while he insisted that he “did not come here to back any institution or political party,” he made it very clear that US aid to the nation was contingent on the Lebanese voters not electing the opposition.
While Hezbollah is officially designated as a terrorist organization by the US, and has a reputation as a hawkish Islamist faction, its opposition bloc also includes a good percentage of the nation’s Christian voters, and its campaign has emphasized support for the nation’s religious diversity.