October 7, The Iran Project – Michel Aoun, a former general, polarizing Christian politician and an ally of the Hezbollah resistance movement , was elected as Lebanon’s 13th president on October 31. His election as the country’s president put an end to a political stand-off caused by Saudi intervention that had left the post empty for more than two years.
For several years now, the Saudi regime has been interfering and spreading negative influence in Lebanon to the detriment of the country’s political stability.
Lebanon has been without a head of state since 2014, when the term of President Michel Suleiman expired.
The 81-year-old Christian leader has won the support of two of his greatest rivals: Samir Geagea, leader of the Christian Lebanese Forces, and ex-prime minister, Saad Hariri.
Aoun secured the presidency by winning the support of 83 MPs, well above the absolute majority of 65 needed to win.
In Lebanon’s power-sharing system, the post of prime minister is reserved for a Sunni Muslim, the president must be a Maronite Christian, and the parliament speaker must be a Shia Muslim.
The newly-elected Lebanese president received numerous phone calls from regional and international leaders who congratulated him on winning the presidential vote.
President Aoun received felicitations from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Hezbollah’s Nasrallah, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Egypt’s presidency, Qatar’s emir, French President Francois Hollande, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, German Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Special Envoy of the Russian President, Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia Mikhail Bogdanov, EU High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Spokesman for the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Iran’s President Rouhani congratulates Lebanese counterpart
In a telephone conversation with Aoun following his election , Iranian President Hassan Rouhani extended his felicitations to him over his landslide victory and said the election of Aoun as Lebanon’s new president was the manifestation of peace and the triumph of democracy and a victory for all the country’s political parties. He also noted that Tehran will keep its unwavering support for Lebanon’s government and nation as well as the Lebanese resistance movement, Hezbollah.
Aoun, for his part, described Iran’s support for Lebanon’s integrity as “very important” and said Beirut has always made efforts to reinforce national unity.
Syria to Aoun: Welcome to “Axis of Resistance”
President al-Assad made a telephone call with General Aoun, wishing him success in his new missions and that this step would form a new era in the Lebanese political life and contribute to boosting its stability and achieving a better future for the Lebanese people., state news agency SANA said.
Also, radio stations in Damascus broadcast the parliamentary session live on air, hailing Aoun as a welcomed newcomer to the “Axis of Resistance” that includes Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, Russian Preisdent Vladimir Putin, Hezbollah chief Hasan Nasrallah, and Iranian President Hasan Rouhani.
Nasrallah welcomes election of Michel Aoun as Lebanon president
Secretary General of Hezbollah resistance movement Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has welcomed the election of the new president of Lebanon, Michel Aoun, arguing that the movement had been unjustly accused of obstructing the election over the past two and a half years.
The Hezbollah secretary general then called upon all Lebanese political parties to cooperate with Aoun for the sake of Lebanon’s well-being at a time when conflicts and crises are plaguing in the Middle East region.
It is worth mentioning that some observers view Aoun’s rise to power as a political victory for the Lebanese resistance movement, Hezbollah, which will greatly diminish the Saudi influence in Lebanon’s political arena. The kingdom has been vigorously lobbying to prevent Lebanon’s presidency from being placed in the hands of Hezbollah’s allies.
Saudi Arabia loses ground to Iran
Some believe that Saudi Arabia is losing influence throughout the Fertile Crescent to its rival Iran. While Riyadh’s position versus Tehran has been in decline for some time, the trend is accelerating, since Iran is increasingly the most influential player in the Fertile Crescent at the expense of Saudi Arabia.
Now with the election of President Aoun, the Saudis have suffered another setback in Lebanon.
Aoun’s election after two years of political stalemate is another indication of which way the wind is blowing in the Levant. Saad Hariri will face a difficult challenge as prime minister in trying to form a government with opposition from Hezbollah.
Hezbollah has become a major source of difficulty for Riyadh. Its success in Syria and Lebanon have been at the cost of Saudi interests. The advice and expertise Hezbollah provides Houthis in Yemen is another irritation for the kingdom.
Moreover, the Saudis are also very critical of US President Barack Obama for lifting sanctions on Iran.
It can be said that with Lebanon’s reaching stability through Aoun’s election, Iran reached two goals: Positive change in Lebanon in favor of Hezbollah and paving the way for final victory in Syria