Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Helena Cobban
Bushists Fund Lebanon Army; Lebanon Embraces Hizbullah
Sometimes the sheer depth of the ignorance of the people directing the Bush administration's foreign policy manages, yet again, to amaze me.

Evidently, the Bushists don't realize the gravity of the change that overcame Lebanese politics back in May, when the Emir of Qatar was finally able to conclude the Doha Agreement, a resolution to Lebanon's longstanding governance crisis that involved, essentially, caving to Hizbullah's core demands.

Evidently, the Bushists don't understand that-- as I noted here last week-- the main quality displayed by their man in Beirut, Fouad "Turn-on-a-dime" Siniora, is his ability to, um, turn on a dime... Or the fact that, since May, he has represented the pro-Hizbullah coalition's interests in Lebanon, more than Washington's.

Hence, the national holiday announced for Lebanon today, to celebrate Hizbullah's success in gaining the return of the five Lebanese detainees still held in Israel and the remains of a couple of hundred more.

And the Bushists' attitude to the Beirut government's new orientation? Why, just yesterday, the US Central Command's Director of Strategy, Plans, and Policy, who was visiting Lebanon, "announced that the US government has increased its support to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) by $32.5 million."

Don't get me wrong. I support the Doha Agreement, judging that it was a realistic step that reflects the political balance in the country far better than the previous, heavily polarized and pro-US order did and gives its people a chance to de-escalate their tensions and reconstruct their country. But no-one should misunderstand the true political impact of the agreement.
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