Clancy Chassay: Bush Policy Pushes Lebanon to the Brink of Civil War
...Staggering under a national debt 180 times its gross domestic product, Lebanon remains one of the most corrupt countries in the world, In 2001 the United Nations estimated Lebanon loses over $1.5 billion a year in crooked practises--nearly 10 percent of the country's GDP. It's a mistake to attribute this entirely to the Syrian occupation. Syrian officials took their share but so did most of Lebanon's political elite, many of whom remain in power today...
...Growing Takfiri militancy among the country's Sunni Islamists, some of whom have received support from the government forces, has raised the danger of an operational Al Qaeda faction emerging in Lebanon. This grim prospect is matched by indications that government forces have been training militias under the guise of 'security companies,' ostensibly to counter Hizbullah's arms, suggesting Lebanon's security situation is now worse than at any point since the country's long civil war.
...The more the daily horror in Iraq worsens, the more the Bush administration clings to the purported success of Lebanon, once the poster boy for its now redundant "democratization" campaign. But, by allowing the build up of armed groups by its allies, and obstructing compromise in a vain effort to empower an unpopular government, the White House is pushing Lebanon down a dangerous path toward civil conflict, and ultimately disintegration.
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