Key ministries are reportedly off limits to Hezbollah in new cabinet, report

A parade by the Iranian backed Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah militia.
A parade by the Iranian backed Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah militia.

After Hezbollah leader  Hasan Nasrallah voiced his ambition for the highly sought ministries, the United States and its Gulf allies were outraged , which some interpreted as an attempt to squeeze Hezbollah out of government.

But , according to Lebanese media this is not the case

“We don’t care who builds a water park or who brings in a power barge, but if they [Hezbollah] take the ministries of Interior, Finance or any [key  ministry]” this would be a cause for concern, a western  diplomat  was quoted as saying in reference to the formation of the new cabinet

The allocation of key ministerial portfolios – namely defense, interior, finance and foreign affairs – between rival parties has always been blamed for causing delays in Cabinet formation.

Nasrallah’s comments about taking hold of more service-related ministries raised eyebrows in the region and around the globe, according to media reports

Earlier this week, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee that Hezbollah is “not only a problem in Lebanon but also in Syria and we’re trying to reduce its capacity.”

Despite some concerns over the lack of action taken by the Lebanese government against Hezbollah’s activities , Pompeo has said he anticipated that U.S. aid to Lebanon wouldn’t be drastically impacted.

“Our assessment is that the overall balance of power will not be changed,” he said, noting, however, that the current status quo was not ideal.

Yet aid and support from major powers is not unconditional.

“People are [highly educated] and smart in Lebanon,” a western  diplomatic was quoted as saying , appearing to allude to the potential formation of a new government where Hezbollah is not in control of key  ministries. “We understand the status quo of Lebanon and never said that Hezbollah cannot be in the government … and never tell a country what they can or cannot do.”

Nevertheless, a number of countries around the world have indicated they will not sit by and watch Iran’s influence continue to grow. This view has been apparent since U.S. President Donald Trump’s election.

Hezbollah is designated a terrorist group by the United States, and Washington has singled out the group in its new policy against Iran since withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal this month.



Hariri PM designate

Saad al-Hariri was designated as Lebanon’s next prime minister on Thursday and said all parties agreed that a national unity government must be formed as quickly as possible due to economic risks at home and growing dangers in the region.

Hariri won the support of nearly all the MPs in the new parliament during consultations with President Michel Aoun on Thursday, reflecting his status as the top Sunni politician despite his steep losses in the election.

Hariri’s name was put forward by 111 out of 128 members of Lebanon’s new parliament during consultations with President Michel Aoun on Thursday. Aoun had to designate the candidate with the greatest backing.

While Hariri won wide backing, Hezbollah MPs, a few of its allies and one other lawmaker named nobody for the post.

Hezbollah said it would cooperate “positively” with whoever was designated, Mohammed Raad, head of Hezbollah’s parliamentary bloc, said after meeting Aoun.

Hezbollah intends to secure three cabinet seats in the next coalition government. This would be an increase from the two portfolios it held in the outgoing cabinet of 30 ministers, a senior official familiar with the group’s thinking told Reuters.