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Saturday 19 Aug 2017 | 06:12 | SYDNEY
Saturday 19 Aug 2017 | 06:12 | SYDNEY

Hizbullah's strange bedfellows

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31 October 2008 10:58

Politics makes for strange bedfellows at the best of times, but in the Lebanese political system the manoeuvrings of Hizbullah in pursuit of its political aims make for weird viewing. Beginning in early 2006 they broadened their sectarian political base through the memorandum of understanding they signed with Michel Aoun’s Christian Free Patriotic Movement. 

That was strange enough, but next year’s parliamentary election has brought with it a greater Hizbullah urgency to create alliances that will strengthen its position in the non-Shi‘a community. Its abrupt and ruthless May takeover of West Beirut and subsequent Doha Accord dealt a blow to Saad Hariri’s Sunni Future Movement, and made the Shi‘a party attractive as a political ally. It is for this reason that a previously staunch anti-Hizbullah figure such as the Druze leader Walid Jumblatt has softened his stance towards the group.

But not all of Hizbullah’s efforts towards agreements with other Lebanese groups has been as successful. In August this year Hizbullah signed an MoU a collection of Salafist groups. The fluid nature of such groups and lack of internal discipline and agreement was on display when the same Salafist groups ‘froze’ the agreement the very next day. Even in Lebanon it appears that there are some limits to sectarian compatibility.

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