"Though most Lebanese have grown used to America’s pro-Israel policy, they are now watching with anxiety as the U.S. emphasizes Hezbollah’s role as a surrogate for Iran and Syria. Lebanese have little sympathy for Iran and even less for Syria, not just because of Syria’s three-decade occupation of Lebanon but also because of the recent assassinations widely attributed to Syria, notably of the popular Lebanese prime minister, Rafik Hariri. Still, the Lebanese are outraged at America’s use of their soil, in war and politics, as the playing field for its ongoing feuds with Iran and Syria.
On Nov. 8, Assistant Secretary of State David Welch made clear to Congress that the U.S. opposed the election of a president by any consensus that included Hezbollah. Under Lebanese law, a presidential candidate needs to win the support of two-thirds of the parliament to be elected on the first ballot, but after that, a simple majority suffices. Welch suggested that the U.S. would use its economic and political muscle to back a candidate that it considered favorable to U.S. interests. The U.S. strategy, as the Lebanese see it, is to promote a narrow, anti-Hezbollah majority on the second ballot.
Most Lebanese seem to be holding their breath, denying that civil war looms. The many private militias that were primed for battle in 1975 no longer exist, they point out. Even though Hezbollah has the strongest armed force in the country — stronger than the Lebanese army, which mirrors the society’s schisms — it shows no sign of preparing for a putsch. Most Lebanese tell themselves the factions will remain stubborn until the last minute, then make a deal. Viorst
Ah, yes, the magic of "the deal." This more or less sums up the Lebanese mind set with regard to politics, business, etc. That, and the lesser magic of conspicuous consumption.
I do not believe that there will be another Lebanese civil war. The Lebanese still remember the last one all too vividly for them to soon go collectively mad as they did the last time. The Israel-Hizbullah war of 2006 refreshed that memory for them to something sticky, brown and still drying. It will take a generation of quiet for the Lebanese to have a renewed taste for the mayhem that destroys friend and foe alike. Maybe that was the point of the Israeli campaign? Maybe not.
No. No civil war. Instead, look to see the further disintegration of civil society under the pressure of foreign political interventionism. The Lebanese like a good conspiracy so well that they are perpetually willing to divide themselves into factions and groupings of factions allied to foreign players. They really do not seem to know how to live without that kind of activity.
They will continue. pl