The five-nation group on Lebanon, which comprises the USA, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt, said on Monday they had discussed several measures against politicians and groups who were obstructing the election of a new president, Reuters reports.

Last month, Parliament failed – for the 12th time – to fill the post, reserved for a Maronite Christian in Lebanon’s sectarian system, and vacant since the term of the Hezbollah-allied Michel Aoun ended in October 2022.

The meeting in Doha, attended by Lebanon’s key Western and Arab donors and allies said it was imperative a president was elected and urged Lebanon’s leaders to overcome a deepening institutional paralysis in a country where one of the world’s worst economic crises has been festering for years.

We discussed several options, including taking measures against those who obstruct progress in this area, said the communique, without elaborating on the steps.

The stand-off has played out along sectarian lines, with Christian parties supporting Jihad Azour, the IMF’s Middle East Director and an ex-finance minister, and Shi’ite factions, Hezbollah and Amal, against him.

At loggerheads over who should fill a vacant presidency, Lebanon’s fractious politicians are waiting for foreign powers to resolve their crisis, leaving the country adrift as its failing state teeters on the brink of collapse.

The logjam comes as no surprise in a country with a sectarian political system that has lurched from crisis to crisis since independence, often prompting intervention by foreign powers with influence over rival groups.

It fell to foreign powers to end Lebanon’s 1975-90 civil war through the Taif peace agreement backed by Saudi Arabia and, again in 2008, when a deal mediated in Qatar halted a slide to conflict.

The stand-off has laid bare Lebanon’s deep splits, with the heavily armed Iran-backed Hezbollah deploying its political might against Azour’s bid to fill the vacant presidency, while continuing to campaign for its ally – Suleiman Frangieh.

Last week, the European Parliament also blamed Hezbollah and Amal and their allies for resorting to what it said were unconstitutional tactics to prevent the conclusion of the vote and deepening the political deadlock.

Lawmakers from Hezbollah and allies withdrew from the last session to obstruct a bid by the main Christian parties to elect Azour.

Hezbollah and its allies have close ties to Syria and Iran, while their opponents in the Christian and Sunni Muslim communities traditionally look to the West and Sunni-led Gulf Arab states.

Washington has also warned its administration was considering sanctions on Lebanese officials for their continued obstruction of the election of a new president and warned the paralysis could only worsen the country’s political crisis.

Middle East Monitor / ABC Flash Point News 2023.

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25-07-23 07:39

America and Israel should stay out of this ,it has always been a Zionist ambition to make Lebanon part of “Greater Israel ” since the days Hiram the King assisted the Hebrews in building their Temple.

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Voix de la Paix
Reply to  Donnchadh
25-07-23 12:57

Zionists are trying to save their collected realm?

Reply to  Voix de la Paix
25-07-23 15:52

They have always said their country is too small and taking in Lebanon has always been their long term aim — my aim is the same as yours -PEACE ! but I am down to earth as long as the USA runs the world there will never be peace –its the most violent country on earth with the largest illegal drug taking population .

That combines to produce a nation wide mental instability .

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Voix de la Paix
Reply to  Donnchadh
26-07-23 01:19

Most of the Americans rely on subscription drugs from the organized pharmaceutical drugs dealers.