Sunday, December 02, 2007

March 14 Feels Betrayed By the US

Time magazine is increasing its stature as one of the more reliable US press sources in discussions about the Middle East. McClatchy is also good. But here Time magazine is discussing the feeling of betrayal that led the March 14 movement to accept Suleiman.

"The Syrians are very happy," says Sami Moubayed, a Syrian political analyst. "I think this is what the Syrians always wanted — Suleiman." Parliament is scheduled to reconvene on December 7 when Suleiman is expected to be elected president.

With the announcement of Suleiman's candidacy immediately following Annapolis, it was widely assumed that Syria and the U.S. had brokered a deal to fill the Lebanese presidency as a way to help ease months of tension between their respective allies in Lebanon. However, senior March 14 politicians tell TIME that the proposal to nominate Suleiman had arisen more than a week before Annapolis, several days before Syria even announced it would attend the peace conference. The anti-Syrian block had determined it was better to choose a president acceptable to the opposition than risk a prolonged constitutional vacuum and the threat of violence erupting in Lebanon between rival factions. "We're sure that Suleiman is better than the void," says an adviser to Saad Hariri, whose Future Movement is the largest component of March 14.

Just possibly, I haven't seen an announcement yet, but maybe the other issues such as disarmament of Hezbollah, electoral reform and Parliamentry elections will be resolved, essentially in Hezbollah's favor, as part of this deal.

It is unfortunate that this dispute got as far as it did. United States never was going to invade Lebanon. Short of that, even including that, there is nothing the US could have done to change the facts on the ground, which are that Hezbollah, since the 2006 war, is the most powerful political organization in Lebanon. There never was a purpose to this dispute. It was a victory of corruption over patriotism that this dispute ever occurred.

Hopefully the realization by the pro-Western camp that the United States is not a power in Lebanese politics will lead to a faster resolution of any remaining issues.

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