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July 5, 2022
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Post-Election Calm Prevails In Beirut’s Divided Neighbourhoods

It seems eerily calm in one of Beirut’s most contentious front-line neighbourhoods just days after Lebanon voted for a new parliament.

The white flags of the Christian Lebanese Forces party hang along streets throughout the Ain el-Remmaneh neighbourhood, which overlooks the Shia majority area of Chiyyah, where streets are decked out in the green and yellow flags of the Hezbollah and Amal parties.

During Lebanon’s civil war that ended in 1990, this area was a flashpoint of tension between the warring factions, and remains to this day a stark reminder of the worst of Lebanon’s sectarian divisions and strife.

In the days leading up to the election on Sunday and before the results were announced, Lebanese government troops and armoured vehicles were deployed at the Tayouneh roundabout that divides the two neighbourhoods. The army had orders to deter supporters from carrying out provocative actions.

Now the parties representing both communities here are the main players in the formation of a new parliament in Lebanon. How the leaders of the two parties choose to move forward will determine whether economic recovery is on the horizon for the country – or yet more political paralysis, sectarian tension, and possible panic.

Samir Geagea, the Lebanese Forces leader, seems to be in no mood to compromise.

He now has the largest Christian bloc in parliament and, according to him, the anti-Hezbollah camp was the winner in Sunday’s vote.

Geagea claims there is a “new majority” of anti-Hezbollah lawmakers, consisting of both anti-establishment newcomers and traditional parties who for decades have opposed the Iran-backed party.

“The majority is now in another place, not one party, not one grouping,” Geagea said in a speech Thursday.

“Yes there may be several camps, but they all agree that they are anti-Hezbollah.”The Lebanese Forces leader made it clear that his party will focus on agenda items that have irked the Iran-backed Hezbollah for years, including a national defence and foreign policy strategy for Lebanon that is exclusively under the control of the Lebanese state.


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