Friday, 12 June 2009

Elections: What the US bosses think

The Wall Street Journal is over the moon over what it calls the "rebound of Saudi power." I won't mention the hypocrisy of the newspaper which a bastion of neo-conservative, pro-war, pro-Israel, and anti-Muslim, views... but not anti-Salafi (the conservative Saudi ideology).

Never mind. Here's it's take on the elections:

Saudi officials are savoring the weekend election victory in Lebanon of the so-called March 14 alliance.

The Western-leaning bloc held on to its parliamentary majority, despite some polls predicting gains by an opposition coalition headed by Iranian-backed Hezbollah.

"The vacuum of power among the Arabs has finally been filled. We can see that the balance is tipping in our favor," said one Saudi diplomat.

Saudi Arabia was a key player in ending the civil war in Lebanon in 1989, but its influence there waned after the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, a billionaire who made his fortune as a contractor for the Saudi royal family.

Since then, the Saudis have openly intervened on behalf of the government dominated by Mr. Hariri's party. It has pledged $1.5 billion to prop up the country's currency and to help rebuilding efforts after the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel.

Opposition politicians in Lebanon accused Saudi Arabia of funneling money into the campaigns of politicians running alongside Mr. Hariri's son, Saad, who is now in the running to become Lebanon's next prime minister. Saudi officials have denied interference.

Influential Saudi-owned regional media outlets, however, waged their own public-relations campaign, warning in Lebanon of a looming crisis should Hezbollah and its allies win.

After the elections, Saudi's King Abdullah sent congratulations to the Lebanese people for their "successful" elections.

Tariq Alhomayed, editor of Asharq al-Awsat newspaper, owned by a brother of the king, went further, declaring in an editorial that the results showed "the fall of the Iranian project" in Lebanon.

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