Israel, USA concerned over recent political developments in Lebanon
The Arab press reports about tense political scene, one day before the start of consultations on the establishment of new government. Meanwhile, a senior U.S. diplomat has warned that the formation of a government led by Hizbullah and its allies will create many obstacles in the relations with Washington.
Al-Quds al-Arabi reported Sunday that Lebanon is heading for a confrontation in the battle of choosing a new prime minister. The options are Caretaker PM Saad Hariri or another Sunni candidate supported by Hizbullah. Asharq al Awsat newspaper said that on the eve of the parliamentary consultations, Hizbullah and its allies have intensified their contacts to ensure a sufficient number of votes by MPs to nominate their candidate for prime minister. Omar Karami, a former Premier, is seen the preferred candidate for the job. Sources within Hizbullah's "March 8" bloc told the daily that "the opposition has become convinced that the outcome of the parliamentary consultations will end to their favor especially after the recent position taken by the (MP) Walid Jumblatt, to stand by Syria and the resistance."
The newspaper added that sources in Beirut dismissed the news about French efforts to reach a compromise candidate with the name of former PM Najib Mikati high on the list.
For his part, a senior U.S. diplomat warned that the formation of a government led by Hizbullah and its allies in Lebanon will create many obstacles to cooperation with the United States. The diplomat told Asharq al Awsat that the Congress would refuse to provide U.S. military and other assistance to the Lebanese army in the event it would receive instructions from Hizbullah.
Meanwhile, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to preside over security consultations to discuss the situation in Lebanon. An Israeli political source said the announcement of Druze leader Walid Jumblatt regarding his support for Hizbullah would lead to the establishment of an "Iranian extension" in Lebanon similar to the situation in the Gaza Strip.
On the other hand, the political source said that there are no signs regarding Hizbullah's intent to escalate the conditions on the border.