"…humiliating blows made clearer than ever the power and determination of Hezbollah, a Shiite group backed by Iran and Syria, and its allies. By Friday afternoon, armed Shiite fighters were riding joyfully through west Beirut in a long column of trucks, cars and scooters, shouting and firing their weapons into the air in a raucous victory celebration.
The government majority issued an urgent appeal for help from other nations on Friday evening, calling Hezbollah’s actions an “armed coup” against Lebanon and its democratic system using “weapons sent by Tehran.” Some government lawmakers, including the Druse leader, Walid Jumblatt, and Saad Hariri, the son of the assassinated former prime minister Rafiq Hariri, spent the day holed up in their compounds, protected by Lebanese Army contingents and the police." NY Times
Is this the best we can do? What happened to the much feared covert interventions of the CIA, dreaded across the world by "liberation" movements for decades. Is this the best we can do?
Our toadies (the government of Lebanon) are "holed up" in government offices and private compounds behind the protection of an "army" that specializes in parades and refereeing Beiruti political squabbles?
The Iraqi Arabs I have been teaching lately make a specialty of mocking most Beirutis. They imitate their "cute" accent, lisp and swish away when laughing at them. They don’t feel that way about the Shia militiamen (Hizbullah and Amal). I have never asked them about the Aounis. I should do that.
If I were Saad Hariri, I would "get out of Dodge." That "army" is not going to protect him if its own safety is at stake. Siniora (Sonora)? Nice is nice this time of year. He probably has a place there.
We Americans (well, the Bushies) brought this on with our insistence that Shia numbers and electoral success would not be reflected in the division of power within the government of that sad little country.
Did we encourage the Sonorans to think that they could demand the self-disembowelment of Hizbullah? Did we really think the Government of Lebanon actually could do that. We may well have. It would be of a piece with the fantasy driven policy of the last eight years. Any gamble, no matter how absurd and improbable of success has fit the pattern of desperate longing that has driven American policy this last decade.
Would McCain’s policy in the region be any more grounded in real calculation of the odds? Doubtful. Would Obama’s be better? I wonder. Look at his advisers. pl