Did France become the “tender loving mother” of Hezbollah?

Hezbollah flag and Syria’s Bashar al Assad . Paris is still insisting on its initiative that calls for electing Suleiman Franjieh as president He is backed by Hezbollah and its allies and the Syrian dictator

When French forces landed in Beirut  in September 1920 to  put an end to the short-lived Arab government, Maronites and other Christians waving French flags cheered their arrival at the Beirut port. They hailed France as their “tender, loving mother” (Arabic, al-umm al-hanuni).  

Returning to the Pine Residence in Beirut, General Gouraud assembled with leaders of the Maronites, and the other religious sects of the newly forming country to announce the establishment of the new state: Greater Lebanon.

That was Sept. 1, 1920.

But 103 years later  France ceased   to be the “tender, loving mother” of the Christians  according to analysts 

For reasons none of the largest Christian parties and other opposition leaders can understand   why France is still trying to dictate to the Lebanese people its proposal that calls for the election of Suleiman Franjieh as president  despite the objections of the group of 5 countries involved in resolving the crisis .

“Despite the objections against the French proposal , Paris is still insisting on its initiative that calls  for electing    “the Hezbollah backed candidate   and has not accepted any alternative candidates , sources told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper in remarks published  last Sunday.

The Marada Movement chief  who is  backed by the Iranian backed Hezbollah militant group ,  its ally the Amal Movement  and  Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad, whom he calls “my friend is the weakest Christian leader in Lebanon 

The French proposal   calls for the election of   Franjieh as president and for appointing Nawaf Salam as the Prime Minister .

Salam is a highly regarded  Lebanese diplomat, jurist, and academic. He was elected on 9 November 2017 as judge on the International Court of Justice for the 2018–2027 term .He served as Lebanon’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York from 2007 to 2017, during which period he held the positions of President of the Security Council and Vice President of the General Assembly.

Hezbollah has always been against the appointment of Salam as PM , for this reason analysts are of the belief that Hezbollah will not honor the deal and soon after Franjieh is elected and Salam is appointed , Hezbollah will use its arms to force the collapse of his government as it did to former PM Saad Hariri .

The problem for Franjieh according to analysts is twofold: Until now Hezbollah  doesn’t have a majority in parliament that would allow him to win an election, and he is opposed by the three main Maronite Christian parties, which would deny him any communal legitimacy, since presidents come from the Maronite community. 

According to political observers, even in the unlikely event that he could be voted into office, his term would be highly contentious because of hostility from within his community.

The top Christian Lebanese  parties; The Lebanese Forces, The Free patriotic Movement  and the Phalange parties  are all opposed to the election of Franjieh  and are shocked at the French position. 

Franjieh was named after his  grandfather former president Suleiman  Franjieh  who invited the Syrian army to come to Lebanon during the civil war.

Te Syrian army ended up occupying Lebanon for nearly three decades , from 1976 to 2005. It withdrew  from Lebanon in April 2005  under pressure by the Cedar Revolution and the international community .   The Cedar Revolution erupted following the assassination of former  PM Rafic Hariri.

Three Hezbollah operatives were in indicted by an UN backed International court  in Hariri’s assassination but Hezbollah refused to hand them over.

In addition to the top Christian parties , Progressive Socialist leader Walid  Jumblatt  who was invited last month to meet the French officials also  complained about France’s  insistence on backing Hezbollah’s candidate.

Sam Haddad , a Lebanese political analyst told Ya Libnan. France is no more the “tender, loving mother” of The Christians , it is now the “tender, loving mother” of Hezbollah