Wink, wink

Benny Avni, writing in the NY Post describes a disaster in the offing in Lebanon as the Obama administration sends the signal -- so decisive in Lebanese survival politics -- about which way the international winds are blowing. The Obama administration is undoing the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon and may get a Hezbollah dominated government north of Israel in its place. While this may help the administration pressure Israel to get their desired peace deal, it will probably culminate in a catastrophe.

So it was after Saddam's overthrow in Iraq, when major Lebanese political forces united around pro-Western ideals of freedom and democracy, propelling the "Cedar Revolution" of 2005. With support from America and France, they booted the once-formidable Syrian military out of the country. But this week -- as Obama is sending emissaries to Syria, flirting with Iran and expressing confidence in a feeble international court's ability to produce justice in the murder of a former Lebanese prime minister -- Lebanese politicians are quickly moving to switch sides again. ...

Most significantly for Lebanon, the United Nations international court in the Hague last week instructed Beirut to release four pro-Syrian generals suspected of involvement in the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri -- a decision that the Americans are hailing.... So how are Lebanese politicians reacting? The anti-Damascus coalition headed by the slain prime minister's son, Saad Hariri, is quickly disintegrating, while Hezbollah, which last year took over Beirut temporarily by military force, is now leading a coalition that is widely predicted to win the election impressively.

Only a few months ago, the anti-Syria coalition was expected to win the elections. Hope and change. Change in Lebanon, hope for Hezbollah.