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Lebanon's Hezbollah-Led Government

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According to American University of Beirut Professor Hilal Khashan, however:

Lebanon's parliamentary arithmetic may be less important than securing sectarian consensus, saying:

"If most of the Sunni community doesn't accept Mikati's designation, we have a problem. If they are unhappy, that would violate the spirit of the constitution," arguing that he risked "political suicide" if he tries forming a government opposed by Hariri supporters who consider him a tool of a Hezbollah "coup."

On January 23, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah pledged to include political rivals in a coalition government, saying:

We seek a "national partnership in which all parties will participate. We respect everyone's right to representation."

Middle East analyst Franklin Lamb believes Mikati's appointment is a "done deal," substituting "sunni billionaire #2 (for) #1." Though street protests erupted, they "won't amount to all that much and the army will break up rowdy demos." Anger will subside. There's "not much the Obama administration can do. (S)treet pressure (might) close the US embassy, (but Washington) has almost no options since it will not squeeze Israel, so it gifts another Middle East country to the rising other empire," suggesting Iran, closely allied with Hezbollah.

Despite Hariri's March 14 coalition boycott threat, some members may break ranks, shifting loyalties to assure current benefits aren't lost, thus aiding a new government's formation.

On January 24, New York Times writer Isabel Kershner headlined, "A Hezbollah-Run Lebanon, but No Panic in Israel," saying:

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Some analysts "said it was not necessarily an immediate cause for alarm." According to Tel Aviv University's Professor Eyal Zisser, the change is largely "semantic," and for Bar-Ilan University's Professor Efraim Inbar:

Though "the Heabollization of Lebanon" is worrisome, it's "not like they will start shooting at us tomorrow. They are busy now with internal affairs."

According to vice prime minister Silvan Shalom, however, a Hezbollah-dominated Lebanon is "a very, very dangerous development," adding it's like having "an Iranian government on Israel's northern border."

An unnamed Israeli official said:

"We are concerned about Iranian domination of Lebanon through its proxy, Hezbollah. We are not going to give the other side any excuse whatsoever to initiate an escalation along the border," no matter that Hezbollah doesn't "initiate." It responds defensively as international law allows to repeated Israeli provocations.

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Retired General Giora Eiland perhaps suggested more coming, saying:

"If Hezbollah is behind the government, it will be much easier to explain to the international community why we must fight against the State of Lebanon."

In a January 25 editorial, headlined "Any misstep could imperil Lebanon," Beirut's The Daily Star called "none" of Lebanon's "handful of options" going forward "very promising," adding:

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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