Translated from Arabic - From: http://www.elnashra.com/news/show/844658/مصادر-الرابية-للاخبار-عون-اليوم-أقرب-الى-قصر-الشعب
Wednesday February 25, 2015
Sources close to Rabieh have shared with Al-Akhbar their belief that the March 14 camp and its regional allies remain unable to force any breach in the presidential election stalemate, break through the veto imposed by the other side, and dislodge General Michel Aoun from his present position. This was manifest in Future Movement leader Saad Hariri’s February 14 speech in which he admitted that “these people are not in a hurry as far as the presidency is concerned, and their posture effectively means a postponement of any discussion on the matter,” thus conceding to the impossibility of closing this file without Aoun’s consent.
The sources further note that the international priorities in the region have shifted from bringing down the Assad regime to combating terrorism which is knocking at the doorstep of the West and, as a result, there is a momentary intersection of interests between Hezbollah and the Americans who realize that any battle against terrorism cannot be waged on the Lebanese front without an essential role for Hezbollah now in control of most of the Syrian swath surrounding Lebanon. In this context, the sources note that over the past 6 months there has not been a single Western statement of import denouncing or condemning Hezbollah’s participation in the fighting in Syria.
The Rabieh sources also spoke of the American need to “involve” the moderate Sunni component represented by Saad Hariri in the battle against Takfiri terrorism, when it decides to effectively wage this battle. This requires Hariri’s return as prime minister in the Serail. Such a return would not be possible without a comprehensive agreement between Hezbollah and Aoun on all issues, including the presidency.
The sources further point to the absolute mandate given to Aoun by Hezbollah, and with it the entire Shiite bloc, in the matter of the presidency, a mandate that is not merely an expression of loyalty or a payback or even a tactical posture. Rather, it stems from a strategic vision articulated by Hezbollah’s Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah in his “commemoration of fallen leaders” speech, when he spoke of the maps that are being drawn at the “tables of the big guys.” For Hezbollah realizes, amidst the battle raging in the region, that any role that sects and nations might play will be in proportion to their presence and influence. As such, an office like the Presidency of the Republic may not be handled today as a minor tactical move or be given to someone like Michel Sleiman. In the sources’ opinion, the “Shiite community fought an existential battle on its soil during the July 2006 aggression, and in today’s ongoing battle it is fighting a strategic battle to cement a role for itself at the regional level. While the Christian wing in the Hezbollah coalition does give that role national and global dimensions, it in turn benefits from the surplus in Shiite power to preserve its own role. Therein lies Aoun’s importance to the presidential office.”
The Taif regime has reached a dead end in light of the continuous crises that have followed its inception. As roles are being “cooked up” in the region, and as the Christians have become more vocal in demanding change and the recovery of their rights, particularly in light of what the Christians of the region have endured as of late, “political Sunnism”, for whom Taif was a major gain, will have to relent and accept to mend the crookedness that accompanied the implementation of the Taif Agreement, indeed adopting for its own sake a policy of damage control to try and limit its losses, and averting the demands for a new constitutive assembly that will wipe out those gains.
As the region seethes under the current sectarian wars, the Christians have indeed become the most able to play the “buffer” between Sunnis and Shiites. Since the Shiite bloc is hermetically sealed against the second strongest Maronite presidential candidate, Samir Geagea, it appears that Aoun’s chances have skyrocketed to unprecedented levels given the absolute backing he gets from the Shiites and his openings vis-à-vis the Sunnis and the Druze.
The Rabieh sources also noted a conviction in the Aoun camp that the head of the Lebanese Forces, more than anyone else, stands to gain the most from Aoun’s moving into Baabda. Such a situation would grant Geagea: a reconciliation with a large segment of the Christian public; a thaw in the Shiite hardening against him; the establishment of the precedent of a strong Christian president, which opens the door for Geagea in the future to the expense of other Maronites who have marketed themselves as consensus candidates; not to mention that any agreement with Rabieh would shuffle the distribution of electoral and governmental shares in a way that gives Meraab a greater independence from the custody of the Future Movement. In the opinion of the sources, the LF leader knows all this, even before the start of the ongoing dialogue, to the same extent that he realizes that Aoun has no one but Aoun himself to field him as a candidate.
The Rabieh sources believe that Riyadh is not that oblivious of these circumstances, as evidenced by the warm reception given to Aoun during his condolences visit for King Abdallah’s death. Nor is Riyadh ignorant of the virtually uninterrupted one-year long Aoun-Hariri dialogue, despite the occasional coolness. Riyadh must have also given its blessing to the Aoun-LF dialogue that would not have occurred without it, just as is the case with the Future-Hezbollah dialogue.