THE DIALECTICS OF DEFEAT: THE LEBANESE DEBACLE APPRAISED, PART TWO
"The United States welcomes the agreement reached by Lebanese leaders in Doha, Qatar. We view this agreement as a positive step towards resolving the current crisis by electing a President, forming a new government, and addressing Lebanon’s electoral law, consistent with the Arab League initiative. The United States supports the government of Lebanon and its complete authority over the entire territory of the country.
The United States commends the efforts of the Arab League’s committee of Foreign Ministers, in particular the leadership of the Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al-Thani, and Secretary General Amr Moussa.
We call upon all Lebanese leaders to implement this agreement in its entirety, in accordance with the Arab League initiative and in conformity with UN Security Council resolutions".
American Secretary of State Rice, 21st of May, in www.state.gov
"You must either conquer and rule, or serve and lose. Suffer or triumph, be the anvil or the hammer".
Wolfgang von Goethe
The news from Doha indicates that the prediction made here one week ago, that the March 14 coalition would eventually capitulate to the Persian-backed opposition, has come to pass. As per the Financial Times, the two sides, have come to an agreement, in the talks sponsored by the Arab League in which Hezbollah will be given veto power over the decisions inside the Lebanese Cabinet, as well as allowed to retain its weapons arsenal(see: www.ft.com). The only saving grace for the 14th of March coalition, is that permission has finally been given for General Michel Suleiman, the Army Commander to be finally elected President. General Suleiman while in origins a compromise candidate, is on the whole likely to be friendly, if not in an overt fashion to the 14th of March coalition, and, not an adherent of either Syria, or Hezbollah and its Persian backers. Overall, it is true to say that given the realities on the ground in the Lebanon since the failed Israeli War of 2006, no effort to rule the country without taking into account the power and influence of Hezbollah and its allies could have persisted for very long or successfully. The fact that the Siniora Cabinet managed to remain in office for almost twenty months after the end of the 2006 conflict remains in retrospect something close to miraculous. The agreement arrived at Doha reflects those underlying realities. To pretend that Lebanon could have remained firmly in the Western Camp, after what occurred and did not occur in the summer of 2006, is (in the words of Neville Chamberlain) 'the very mid-summer of madness'.
Need I or anyone else for that matter add, that outcome in Doha, represents a defeat, an unmitigated and absolute defeat for the Bush regime's diplomacy in the Lebanon for the last three years? The fact that both Secretary Rice and Assistant Secretary Welch attempted to put a positive face on this defeat does not obviate the reality of what has now occurred. The only saving grace perhaps is the knowledge that given the debacle of the Lebanon War of 2006, in the short to medium term, no other outcome could be expected.