Michael Totten

Lebanon Is Lost

“A Hezbollah-controlled government would clearly have an impact on our bilateral relationship,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said today. That would be true even if she and the president wished that it weren’t. The new prime minister, Najib Mikati, is far too cultured and polished to pump his fist in the air and yell “Death to America,” but he’ll have to answer to people who do.

“We hope to see a government emerge that will serve the interests of the people of Lebanon and sustain the independence and sovereignty of Lebanon,” she also said. This is the sort of thing diplomats are supposed to say, but there is no chance it will happen. Lebanon’s new post-Hariri government will follow Syrian and Iranian orders. Or else.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy tried to remind Syria that “Lebanon is an independent country,” but he’s too late. Lebanon isn’t Gaza and it never will be, but it is, like Gaza, a vassal state of Tehran and Damascus and will be treated accordingly—especially by the Israelis.

I was there when the Lebanese threw out the Syrians in 2005, and I’m sorry as hell that it has come to this. Dark days are ahead.

UPDATE: Representative Howard Berman (D-California), who serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, says this is a “sad day for Lebanon” which has been rendered “a satellite of Iran…I call on President Obama immediately to suspend all weapons transfers to Lebanon and to review carefully all economic assistance programs in order to ensure that they are not inadvertently strengthening Hezbollah.”