THE DIALECTICS OF DEFEAT: THE LEBANESE DEBACLE APPRAISED.
"Hezbollah continues to pose a challenge to the future of the Lebanese people in terms of realizing a broad-based, deep democracy that benefits all of the Lebanese people. You – we have seen over the past several days that Hezbollah is willing to kill Lebanese in the interest of their political agenda, which seems to have really no basis other than to try to expand their political power. It operates outside the political system in Lebanon.
And our view is, along with others, not only in the region, but around the world, is that we are going to continue to do what we can to strengthen this Lebanese Government that is democratically elected, that seeks only to govern on behalf of all the Lebanese people, to expand – extend its sovereignty over all of Lebanon, and to broaden and deepen Lebanese democracy, and to fiercely guard Lebanon’s sovereignty. It’s in – we believe in the Lebanese people’s interest, we believe it is in Lebanon’s interest. That is going to be a continuing challenge as long as you have groups like Hezbollah that are, at the very least, largely influenced, at the other end of the spectrum, controlled by parties outside of Lebanon: Iran and Syria.
So that is going to be a continuing – that is going to be a continuing challenge for the Lebanese people. It’s going to be a continuing challenge for those in the international system who have an interest in a more peaceful, prosperous, and democratic Lebanon. So it remains our view that we are going to stand with those democratically elected leaders who continue to fight on behalf of Lebanese democracy.
QUESTION: Why isn’t this appeasement?"
State Department, Spokesman, Thomas McCormack, 15 April 2008 in www.state.gov
Yes, indeed! Well if not necessarily appeasement, then something along the lines of a de facto acknowledgement by the State Department and official Washington in general, that American policy for the last few years, since in fact 2005 and the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri by Syrian agents, of seeking a pro-Western, 'Democratic', Lebanon, is in shambles if not in fact completely destroyed. The American and Saudi, Egyptian, French backed Sinioria government, chose one week ago to directly challenge the Persia and Syrian backed Hezbollah movement, in the latter's de facto control of Beirut's airport. Hezbollah responded to this action, immediately and dramatically occupying much of west Beirut as well as parts of the Shouf mountain, near the capital. And, just as quickly the Sinioria government used the fitful intervention of the army to back-down completely in a face saving compromise. However much the Bush regime may talk of upholding Lebanese sovereignty and integrity, as well as praise itself for its program of arming the Lebanese Army, the fact of the matter is that the Lebanese Army was again revealed this past week to be a completely worthless instrument of American or for that fact, any other power's, policy. As several postings this week on Joshua Landis's always excellent, online journal, Syria Comment (www.Syriacomment.com) note, the debacle this past week, is a mirror image of past attempts by the USA, to directly (1983-1984) or indirectly (1957-1958, et passim) change Lebanon's place in the regional constellation of powers, in a pro-Western / pro-American direction. In many such instances, the USA would talk of using the Lebanese Army as a means of such a policy. And, just as often, the Lebanese Army has showed itself to be completely useless. If not worse. The upshot of last week's events shows that unless there is a drastic change in the correlation of forces on the ground in Lebanon, the stalemate between the Siniora government and its pro-Persian / pro-Syrian opponents will continue. And, however unfortunate it may be, there is not much that the USA can do about it. Call it appeasement if you like but that is the reality of the situation.