Hezbollah Ally Elected Lebanon’s President, Threatens Israel in Inaugural Address

A Lebanese Hezbollah supporter holds a picture of the militant group's Christian ally

The Tower reports: Lebanon’s newest president, a retired general who is firmly allied with the Iran-backed terrorist organization Hezbollah, threatened Israel in his inaugural address in Beirut on Monday, The Times of Israel reported.

Michel Aoun secured 83 votes in parliament, comfortably exceeding the majority required to win the presidency in the 128-seat chamber. His election ended a two-year political standoff in the country, during which the presidency remained vacant. The turning point came when former Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri, leader of the mainly Sunni Future Movement, agreed to support Aoun, apparently in return for being re-appointed prime minister.

Hariri’s reversal is dramatic. In a New York Times op-ed published last month, the politician demanded that Iran stop meddling in the internal affairs of Arab countries and destabilizing the Middle East. He also accused Hezbollah of turning “its weapons against the Lebanese people.” Hariri father was assassinated in 2005, a crime widely thought to have been committed by Hezbollah. Four Hezbollah operatives have been charged in absentia for their role in the killing by a United Nations court in The Hague.

In his introductory speech to parliament, Aoun said that his government would “not spare any efforts to protect Lebanon from Israel and liberate the remainder of our lands; we will address terrorism in a preemptive manner.”

Israel completed its withdrawal from Lebanese territory, which it occupied after the 1982 Lebanon War, in May 2000. The total withdrawal was recognized by the United Nations Security Council, which affirmed in June of that year that “Israel had withdrawn its forces from Lebanon in accordance with Security Council resolution 425.”

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