Where Do Christians In Lebanon Stand on Hezbollah?

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah shakes hands with Christian leader Michel Aoun during a news conference in a church in Beirut, Lebanon on February 6, 2006 [Mohamed Azakir/Reuters]

One of the remarkable aspects of the latest commotion in Lebanon – the now suspended “Riyad resignation” of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri – was the national unity displayed.

“Let no one think that we will be a vehicle for a civil war, and let no one think that we may even consider aligning ourselves with Israel against any internal party,” Future Movement’s Secretary General Ahmad Hariri emphatically said on November 24.

Lebanon’s Christian president, Michel Aoun, called the incident a Saudi act of aggression. “Nothing justifies Hariri’s lack of return for 12 days,” he said.

“You call it terrorist, we call it resistance,” TV host Marcel Ghanem responded on November 23 to his Saudi guest Saoud Al Eid’s description of Hezbollah.

But in these expressions of nation-wide solidarity, there is one question that has not really been discussed: Why didn’t Lebanese Christians join Saudi Arabia’s campaign against Hezbollah, since one would assume they consider the “Islamic resistance” (al-Moqawama al-Islamiyya) an existential threat?

To be sure, some Christian politicians were quick to show loyalty to Saudi Arabia, rather than to President Michel Aoun’s position in calling for Hariri’s release. But a recent Ipsos poll showed that 81 percent of Christians (and 79 percent of Lebanese people as a whole) considered Aoun to have done a good job handling the crisis. Surprisingly, this included 67 percent of Sunnis, who have generally been hostile to Aoun in the past.

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SOURCE: Al Jazeera

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