"BEIRUT: Politicians and diplomats in Lebanon denied any deal had been reached to resolve the prevailing political crisis here on Tuesday, one day after reports flooded Lebanon that a three-month-old political deadlock would be resolved by the end of the week. Speaking to the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation on Tuesday, Amal MP Ali Bazzi said there was "neither cause for optimism nor pessimism."
Bazzi said "certain indications" showed that the shape of a national unity government had been agreed, adding that the opposition had consistently called for a 19+11 formula and rejected the idea of a "neutral minister" as unconstitutional.
Speaker Nabih Berri, the head of Amal, met Tuesday with US Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman and French Ambassador Bernard Emie, both of whom left without speaking to reporters.
But in separate comments to LBC, Lebanese Forces MP Georges Adwan denied that the ruling majority had agreed to the 19+11 formula, but said that the current atmosphere was conducive to a solution.
There was a deal struck in Riyadh over the rapidly deteriorating Sunni-Shia situation in the Middle East. The Iranian president came to Saudi Arabia to talk to King Abdullah. A deal was struck over Shia "cooperation" in Iraq. This would have the effect of making current US efforts seem productive in that there would be less apparent Shia/US conflict in the short term. Another deal was struck over Palestine, a deal that suited Arab and Muslim needs in avoiding a civil war among the Palestinians. A third deal was struck over Lebanon, one in which the Lebanese would accommodate each other in the matter of allocation of cabinet posts and in an acceptance by the "opposition" of the credentials of a UN tribunal to try the case of Rafik Hariri’s murder. This deal over Lebanon was clearly at the expense of Syria in that a conviction might occur that would require party or parties unknown to be sacrificed" in Damascus as well as Beirut. This worked for the negotiators. After all, it was a zero sum solution at the expense of the Syrians. This is comprehensible for them and for the Bush primitives. This should have "worked."
An American envoy waited "in the wings" while the talks were held. This envoy was briefed by the king when the deals were made and returned to the White House to explain.
The result? The Palestinian deal is unacceptable to the Bush Administration. The Lebanon deal is unacceptable to the Bush Administration. (It gives something to the "opposition." Evidently, anything would be too much.) That is Ambassador Feltman in the picture with Patriarch Sfeir. Yesterday the atmosphere was completely different. Everyone was happy, even giddy about the prospect of a typically muddled but non-violent solution to the impasse in Lebanon. Today the leaders say "not so fast." What happened overnight? Was it Feltman that happened? Was it Rice? Was it our unending malicious meddling in other people’s business? pl