Friday, January 11, 2008

The Latest From Lebanon

As I've revealed before, one of the other victims of the new order in Washington aside from Israel is Lebanese democracy and the March 14 movement.

When we last left them, the Siniora government and the anti-Syrian March 17 majority had been whittled down by assassination by Syria and were trying to elect a President in Parliament who would cooperate with the UN tribunal on those assassinations, including the murder of Lebanese PM Rafiq Hariri that directly implicates the Assad regime, including members of Syrian leader Basher Assad's family.

The old president, pro-Syrian tool Emile Lahoud who was `elected' under the guns of the Syrians while their army still occupied Lebanon stonewalled the UN tribunal to perfection.The anti-Syrian majority wanted to elect a president who would stand against Syria's domination of Lebanon and cooperate with the tribunal.

However, after the anti-Syrian factions saw Syria given the red carpet treatment in Annapolis, they saw it as a clear sign that Washington was very likely going to cut a deal with Syria over Lebanon, so they made their own bargain with Hezbollah and Syria to protect themselves and agreed to accept General Michel Suleiman, Syria's top pick for Lebanon's presidency and a Hezbollah supporter. The Saudis support of Suleiman underlined the reality for the anti-Syrian faction that they had little choice.

As is common with deals made under the gun when one side has no leverage, merely accepting the pro-Syrian General Suleiman wasn't enough, and Syria and Hezbollah now wanted even more.

What they wanted next was a re-constituted cabinet that would give Hezbollah veto power to dismantle the tribunal and cease cooperation with the UN over the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minster Rafiq al-Hariri.

So at this point, Lebanon is in limbo. Either the anti-Syrian factions bend over for Hezbollah and Syria and do what they want, giving up even the semblance of liberty, or they somehow move along without electing a president and allow the tribunal to start implicatuing members of the Assad family...which would likely lead to a civil war. So the stalemate continues.

While the Syrians agreed to the Suleiman presidency which is backed by the Saudis and the Arab League, they are able to blame Hezbollah for the stalemate, which is ridiculous to anyone who knows how dependent and obediant Hezbollah is to Syria and Iran.

This sort of balancing act never lasts for long. Either the March 14 members and the Siniora government will cave in to Hezbollah and Syria, which would effectively end an independent democratic Lebanon for the foreseeable future, or Hezbollah and the Assad regime will take matters into their own hands by killing off some more Lebanese members of parliament.

If the Bush Administration hoped that by dealing with Syria on Lebanon they would somehow seperate Syria from Iran and preserve Lebanon's democracy , they were sadly mistaken.

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