Michael Totten

Assad in the Driver’s Seat

I don’t know what is going to happen in Lebanon in the short or medium term, but whatever it is, it isn’t likely to be good. Michael Young’s latest column in Beirut’s Daily Star is a sobering read. It’s impossible to summarize, so you’ll have to read the whole thing, but “here’s his conclusion”:http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=5&article_id=92744:

Resolution 1701 has been in the crosshairs of Iran, Syria, and Hizbullah for some time. With the Bush administration on its way out, the Europeans ripe to end Syria’s isolation, Syria’s Arab foes anemic, Israel little interested in reinforcing the UN’s credibility in Lebanon, and the Hariri tribunal looking like an afterthought, now may be the ideal time to begin chopping down the edifice built up in Lebanon by the Security Council between 2004 and 2006. Assad is in the driver’s seat and no one seems willing to stop him.

UPDATE: Lebanon’s “elected” moderately pro-Syrian president Michel Suleiman had predictably “caved on the disarmament of Hezbollah”:http://www.beirutbeltway.com/beirutbeltway/2008/06/suleiman-to-pos.html, either because he sincerely supports Hezbollah’s “resistance” or because he knows the state is too weak to do anything anyway. Whatever. It makes little or no practical difference what his reasons are. There will be more war in Lebanon, and there will be a lot of it. I often miss the place, but I’m glad I don’t live there anymore.