Background on Lebanon

Juan Cole has an excellent summary of the background on Lebanon with this column. I sometimes take issue with his take in Iraq — more from his tone than anything else, really — but Juan knows his stuff on Lebanon having lived there through some of the 1975-1990 civil war(s).

NEW YORK — Juan Cole has an excellent summary of the background on Lebanon with “this column.”:http://www.juancole.com/2005/03/lebanon-realignment-and-syria-it-is.html I sometimes take issue with his take in Iraq — more from his tone than anything else, really — but Juan knows his stuff on Lebanon having lived there through some of the 1975-1990 civil war(s). He argues, convincingly, that Bush’s influence in Lebanon is marginal, at best, which jives with my sources who say Bush is not to be thanked for this. (I’m reminded of the credit his father received for ending the Cold War. History, it seems, can be made just by showing up on time.)
As to the question of who will take power, what happens next, that’s a good question and I wish I had the answer. Hezbollah might cause trouble, as then the group will be severely weakened with the departure of one of its main patrons. The pro-Syrian forces might be moved toward violence; this isn’t Ukraine, despite the similarities. It’s a brutal neighborhood and the Syrian regime might feel threatened enough to not go quietly. (It makes a great deal of money off of Beirut’s port business, for example.)
What happens in the coming days and weeks will be most interesting. Washington’s challenge is to ride the coming whirlwind effectively.

Lebanese Daydreams

NEW YORK—I can’t tell you how much it kills me to be on vacation right now, with Lebanon going the way it is, but it’s thrilling to watch. I don’t have anything constructive to add except mabrouk to the Lebanese people and please keep on doing what you’re doing.

NEW YORK—I can’t tell you how much it kills me to be on vacation right now, with Lebanon going the way it is, but it’s thrilling to watch. I don’t have anything constructive to add except mabrouk to the Lebanese people and please keep on doing what you’re doing. It’s high time you did this and the world is pulling for you. It’s a shame that Hariri had to die for it to come about, but my friends in Beirut are energized and ready to work for this. Go for it.