"The victory by a pro-U.S. faction in last June's parliamentary election has given way to a situation in which Hezbollah will keep its large arms stockpile and a veto over major government decisions, while efforts are underway to repair relations with neighboring Syria.
The compromises made by new Prime Minister Saad Hariri as he assembled a governing coalition are seen by supporters as unavoidable in a country in which complex internal politics and the influence of outside powers can make governing difficult. But they also show the practical limits of the Obama administration's overture to the Islamic world.
The June election victory by Hariri's coalition came just after Obama delivered a major speech from Cairo and just before violent street demonstrations rattled the government in Iran, considered an important influence in Lebanon because of its support for Hezbollah. Some Obama advisers went so far as to attribute Hariri's success to the mood of reform the president had brought to the region.
But victory at the polls did not translate so smoothly on the ground. Hariri spent six months trying to form a government, and could do so only after accepting key Hezbollah demands and giving up on a main aim of his coalition: to curb the Islamist group's influence.
He also agreed to visit Damascus and meet with Syrian President Bashar Assad, a difficult symbolic step because of Syria's suspected involvement in the 2005 assassination of Hariri's father, former prime minister Rafiq Hariri. A United Nations tribunal is still investigating the killing. It is one of a number of political assassinations that led to a U.N. resolution and other outside pressure, prompting Syria to end its longstanding military presence in Lebanon. Washpost
What a shame! The Bush Administration had managed Lebanese politics into a completely frozen mass of parties and aspiring caudillos. All the while Israel looked on in satisfaction as any efforts to resolve its problems with either Lebanon or Syria were stalemated by the impasse in both Damascus and Beirut. It was a triumph.
But, alas, the wretched Lebanese got tired of the whole complex (but enjoyable) web of intrigue and whispers about who killed whom. They made a deal amongst themselves. How dare they!
Unreliably folk, these Lebanese. They do not seem to understand the proper behavior of pawns.
To be fair, Obama's policy gave them just enough wiggle room. Well, I hope they keep on wiggling. pl
Sir. While Im a cynical of the current administration as the next guy, you might find it in you to spare a hopeful thought to the ME people the administration has taken in from the cold, such as Lynch and the CNAS crew. I dont think that group of people, nor some of the military folks from what I read, are very unhappy with a strong, politicaly involved Hezbollah. Even Israel has toned down some of its rhetoric lately, preferring to whip the Gazans to keep their macho.
Erdogan was out today being strongly anti-Israeli policies, and that seems to me to be a new and major development. It is noticable that one of Obamas first stops were Turkey, putting down a wreath on Ataturks grave. (And bowing, lol). It may hopefully be that slowly, over the next two years, the stranglehold on US policy by Israel may be loosened as I see it. Nethanyahus gamble that a sufficient number of political actors would be able to continue to over-ride professional actors is a bold one, i must say?
Question to you US folks: How terrorized are folks really? Because the reaction to the testicle-bomber seems totaly out of proportion.
Hope Im not still banned here 😉
Now if the Lebanese can just keep the Israeli’s stealing mitts off their Lebanese water supplies.
Ah, still with the CNAS crowd…. pl
The reaction in the US media to the underwear bomber is totally out of proportion. US citizens aren’t terrified. If we were, we wouldn’t get on our own roads because driving is more dangerous than the occasional terrorist.
fnord, none of the Americans I know are in the least afraid. Of course I live in a blue state not a red one, and we are not as fearful.
My husband and I fly frequently, just came back from Central America and will be flying back in May, we have family there.
I feel Republican bank on keeping Americans fearful. During the election I wanted to get a bumper sticker that said No Fear, I’m a Democrat.
Having said that, I have many friends that are Republicans, here in Calif., and they are not fearful either.