By Noah Pollak
Eli Khoury, in my opinion, is one of modern Lebanon’s great men. He is an ideologically tireless and physically brave advocate for Lebanese independence, a champion of Lebanon’s nascent civil society, a successful businessman, and a sophisticated analyst of local and regional politics. Michael “interviewed him for this blog”:http://www.michaeltotten.com/archives/001380.html in February, and Michael and I spent some time with him in Beirut last December.
I’m ashamed to say that I missed his “op-ed in the Boston Globe”:http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2007/07/12/in_a_region_of_turmoil_lebanon_at_a_crossroads/ last week, a piece that reminds us, amidst the swirl of events in Iraq, Iran, and Gaza, that the Cedar Revolution remains a fragile triumph, and that the new, post-Syrian Lebanon cannot flourish without steadfast international allies.
Today, Lebanon stands at a historic crossroads between being integrated into the international community or remaining under the heavy influences of external forces. Success requires that the government be willing — and empowered — to allow the people of Lebanon to freely put aside sectarianism and unite behind a common vision. It will mean securing borders from the trafficking of arms and terrorists from Syria and Iran. It will mean stopping the proliferation of Syrian-sponsored terrorist groups, particularly amongst Palestinian refugees. And it will mean confronting the rearmament of Hezbollah. …
The United States and the international community must help sustain Lebanon’s sovereignty and democratic progress. The United States must press the UN Security Council to follow through on its prior resolutions intended to prevent arms flows from Syria and Iran, push for disarmament of all militias, starting with those pertaining to Palestinians, and create the tribunal to investigate the Hariri and other assassinations in Lebanon. And it needs to support Lebanese democracy with resources to strengthen democractic institutions.
Most importantly, the United States and its European allies need to support the government in protecting the upcoming presidential elections from foreign intimidators, so that a free president can supervise the democratic progress, consolidate sovereignty, and neutralize Lebanon of regional conflicts.
Read the whole thing.