With every Lebanese election comes a US warning that voters had better not support Hezbollah. Despite this, the political party and its allies continue to fare well in elections, and in the last vote, Hezbollah’s bloc won over 70 of 128 seats.
Which made the US all the angrier, and now officials are complaining that Hezbollah has secured three government ministries in the process. US Ambassador Elizabeth Richard expressed opposition for this “growing role” in government.
The voter mandate is fairly clear, however, and with Hezbollah the leading party in the leading bloc, it’s actually surprising they didn’t demand more than 3 of the 30 ministries. The biggest ministry they got was Health, which is large, but not foreign policy-centric, so it is unclear why the US is objecting beyond not getting their way in the election.
It suggests the US refuses to recognize Hezbollah for what it is, a substantial political player within Lebanon. Instead, officials continue to present them as exclusively a terrorist organization and ignor the large political bloc and large humanitarian outreach which have also defined the group within the region. So long as this continues, the US will continue to appear tone deaf in its Lebanon policy, and appear to be trying to dictate the outcome of free elections which historically have not gone their way.
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