Fears in Beirut of Hizballah coup after its election defeat

Early Monday, June 8, Saad Hariri announced his 14 March bloc had retained its parliamentary majority of 70 out of 128 seats in Sunday’s Lebanese election. A politician close to the Hizballah-led March 8 coalition, which is supported by Syria and Iran, admitted defeat. Both spoke as the votes were still being counted.
debkafile‘s Middle East sources report Hizballah, although tipped to win, prepared a backup plan ready to seize power in Beirut if it failed at the ballot. If confirmed, the results are a victory for US influence against an Iranian and Syrian takeover of Lebanon.
These elections bear heavily on Iran’s presidential vote Friday, June 12, since the incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threw all his personal weight and an estimated $100 million behind the pro-Iranian alliance’s bid to gain control of Lebanon through the ballot-box, our Middle East sources report. He badly needed a win to prove his rivals wrong, especially Mir Hossein Mousavi, in denouncing his external policies as wildly adventurous. Losing Lebanon to the pro-US bloc presents a major setback for Ahmadinejad’s chances of reelection. He may not take it lying down.
Sources in Beirut have spoken openly in the past of Hizballah’s Plan B to reverse its unexpected defeat by the bullet. Hassan Nasrallah is confident that his militia can swing a coup after working hard in recent weeks to persuade Shiite troops which form around half of the 75,000-strong national army to join forces with Hizballah in this event.
He believes the Iranian and Syrian military officers attached to his campaign headquarters will make sure the seizure of power is fast, smooth and virtually bloodless.
There is no organized military force in Beirut capable of resisting Hizballah, unless president Michel Suleiman orders the army to stand up to the pro-Iranian militia, which he refrained from doing against its assault on the government last year.
Alive to the real danger of their country being converted to a second Iran, Lebanese Christian and Sunni Muslim voters turned out in force – app. 54 percent, which is 20 percent more than in 2005. This may have tipped the scales and preserved the country’s multi-confessional Western character under the camp led by Saad Hariri and prime minister Fuad Siniora and backed by Washington.

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