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May 14th, 2008, 22:52
Pladio, there's a very good reason not to say anything.

Right now the most important thing is to defuse the tension and get the parties talking again. Condemnations of Hezbollah will simply piss them off, bring up accusations of foreign interference, and make this more difficult, increasing the likelihood of further, and worse, flare-ups.

Don't forget that they said that they will abandon respect for any red lines they've respected thus far at the first sign of American interference. I take this to mean that they will simply seize power through a military coup and have the Lebanese government shot, imprisoned, or exiled. I'm inclined to take them at their word.

They have the capability to do this, and I believe they've just demonstrated that they're willing to do this too, if backed into a corner. That would plunge the country into civil war that would certainly last years, and given the amount of heavy weaponry currently there, wreak at least as much destruction as the previous 15 years of it.

Therefore, no high-minded condemnations of anyone just now. Pretty please?
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May 14th, 2008, 23:59
Originally Posted by magerette View Post
I don't know, I can't think of any post WWII successes, V7, using a "foreign army." Japan is always used as a positive example, but that is surely a very unique success due as much to the adaptability and cohesion of the Japanese people.I suppose you might point to the NATO Bosnia intervention, but I don't know how fully fledged a success that is considered; you probably have a better grasp than me.
Korea, Taiwan, Panama, 'we won the cold war' is a bunch of rubbish but the US deserves credit in Europe too. As a general rule I'm pretty sceptical about trying to shape other countries politics but its not unique to Bush and I don't believe its always the disaster being painted above. I'm not sure whether I'd score the results as a net positive or negative yes, as Mao said when asked about the impact of the French revolution its too early to tell.
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May 15th, 2008, 03:33
But they're not even high-minded … Everyone can see that Hezbollah killed Lebanese people and went close to a coup d'état. The reasons Hezbollah didn't are clear, but any other group acting this way would have been condemned by the whole western world.
The US already spoke their mind (well, they said something)… The rest of the world kept quiet…
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May 15th, 2008, 07:31
Yes, and they had the sense to keep quiet because they realize they have zero leverage with Hezbollah to back up their condemnations, and wagging fingers at them in public will simply serve to escalate rather than defuse tensions in Lebanon right now. And the last thing Lebanon needs is an escalation of tensions.

I doubt anyone outside the Middle East is scared of Hezbollah hurting *them* — however, they are scared of Hezbollah hurting Lebanon. That's a very, very good reason to keep a lid on it for the time being.
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May 15th, 2008, 07:34
Originally Posted by V7 View Post
Korea, Taiwan, Panama, 'we won the cold war' is a bunch of rubbish but the US deserves credit in Europe too. As a general rule I'm pretty sceptical about trying to shape other countries politics but its not unique to Bush and I don't believe its always the disaster being painted above. I'm not sure whether I'd score the results as a net positive or negative yes, as Mao said when asked about the impact of the French revolution its too early to tell.
I think the key phrase was "with foreign armies." The role of the US Army in Europe was rather different than in the M-E. For one thing, it wasn't attempting to impose its vision of society by force; it was attempting to prevent another army from imposing its vision of society by force. (Which, as we all know, ended up failing miserably — although it took a quite a long time to fail.)
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May 18th, 2008, 02:22
Any more information on what's happening ?
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May 18th, 2008, 09:43
Things have settled down for now. The airport reopened on Friday. Qatar is hosting talks at Doha, with representatives of the governing coalition and the opposition attending. The purpose of the talks is to (1) ensure the violence doesn't start all over again, and (2) resolve the political crisis that led to the mess. They hope to agree on the composition and power-sharing in the new government and elect a president on June 10 (which doesn't mean much; they've been wanting to do this since September of last year).

IOW, it's back to chess for the time being.
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May 21st, 2008, 07:25
Woo-hoo! We have a deal! As expected, the Hezb got most of what it wanted, but it wasn't a total loss for the government either:

* Parliament will elect a president tomorrow or Friday. It'll be Michel Sleimane.
* Hezb got 11 out of 30 ministries, which gives it veto power over gov't decisions.
* The electoral law was reformed along the lines proposed by the Hariri group (i.e. the government).

So, the Hezb is now officially in power in Lebanon. We'll see if it manages to behave more responsibly than it's behaved in the opposition.

Update: BBC now has the full story. [ http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7411835.stm ]
Last edited by Prime Junta; May 21st, 2008 at 12:37.
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May 22nd, 2008, 10:40
I still think this deal is as fragile as potato chips, and it will be broken on the first veto attempt of the opposition. The only one capable of holding things together is Sleimane, let's hope he's got the necessary leadership qualities.
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May 22nd, 2008, 18:09
Fragile it is, and the Hezb will have to grow up fast if it's to prove effective as a governing party.

Still, this is historical in that it rectifies the single biggest structural problem of the Lebanese state — the second-class status of the Shi'ites. I have no idea if this will work, but I am quite certain that without rectifying this problem, Lebanon will never be anything like a "normal country," whatever that may mean.

Now, that only leaves the Palestinians… which is, of course, a way bigger, regional issue.
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