Lebanon’s presidential election has been the center of attention for six months now and the subject of conversations between Washington and Beirut.
The “Lebanese American Policy Institute, Political Action Committee (aka ALPI PAC)”; that aims to protect the national security interests of the United States in the Middle East, sees in Lebanon a dynamic partner in advancing both countries regional interests. The ALPI PAC, along with its partners at the LACC are actively engaging Senators and members of the United States House Representatives who support Lebanon and are working to strengthen the Lebanese-American relations.
During a recent brief visit to Lebanon, Mr. Paul Elhindi the ALPI-PAC President, and one of its founders visited members of the Lebanese parliament and was able to deliver a message about the consensus and the commitment of the US Congress to keep Lebanon democratic and sovereign, hence the PAC is determined to maintain the US support and aid to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). The LAF is one of the institutions that is still able to operate and function relatively free from political interventions.
Mr. Elhindi representing the PAC visited members of parliament (MPs) that represent the “opposition”, and who believe in the democratic and human rights values the United States stand for. Elhindi visits included MP Sami Gemayel, also head of the Kataeb party, MP Michel Moawad head of the “Independence movement”, MP Mark Daou independent and reformist, and MP Bilal AlHushaimi, Elhindi’s former classmate. The meetings addressed the US perspective toward current events mainly Lebanese Presidential Elections, the evolution of local political developments, and the collective work of the opposition related to the presidential elections.
Elhindi focused on the need to accelerate the pace of “unifying” all opposition factions behind one candidate to reach the necessary votes and achieve the election of a sovereign president. The Lebanese financial crisis and the means of support and aid, sponsored by the US Agency for International Development and non-governmental organizations are crucial for the reforms and reconstruction.
The subject of the Syrian refugees and how to secure their safe return to their homeland was also among the subjects tackled during Elhindi’s visit.
The first conclusion drawn from the ALPI PAC meetings during the visit to Lebanon was that opposition deputies read the broad context of the political game ramifications, and they are developing their strategies accordingly. They are committed to a steadfast resolve not to surrender to Hezbollah imposed candidate.
The second conclusion is realizing the importance of electing a president as the most important development for pulling the country out of its current miserable situation.
Elhindi answer to the US position regarding the presidential elections was the official position of the United States government which is “the election is a local matter” the US will work with a president that is not involved in corruption and a person who is committed to the sovereignty, rule of law and independence, away from any foreign intervention. Elhindi informed the MPs that he did not perceive any objections to the candidates’ names circulating among opposition MPs including the name of the LAF Commander Joseph Aoun pending the amendment of the constitution and stating publicly his political and national agenda. The main objective that is being worked on is, the alignment of opposition votes in the direction of one candidate that will defeat Hezbollah’s nominee.