Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Surrendering to Hizballah - TIME
...In doing so, Hizballah will have secured its existence as an armed state-within-a state, despite decades of American efforts to prevent Lebanon from being used as a staging ground for operations against Israel. But the U.S. appears unable to grasp that it no longer has any options or reliable partners left in Lebanon. American officials make statements about supporting the democratically-elected Lebanese government, but essentially no such government exists. The Lebanese army, many of whose soldiers are Shia Muslims and support the opposition, would split apart if pressed into service against Hizballah. The American-trained security services value their lives more than the $300 million in U.S. aid they've received and haven't fired a shot at Hizballah. And like Jumblatt, government ministers are marked men. Meanwhile, the American warship USS Cole is heading to the Mediterranean, but if the U.S. staged any military action against Hizballah, the group could take American hostages in Lebanon just as they did in the 1980's.

Sitting in his garden terrace in Beirut, with just a few family members and loyal retainers, Jumblatt is quickly coming to grips with the new political landscape. "The U.S. has failed in Lebanon and they have to admit it," he said. "We have to wait and see the new rules which Hizbollah, Syria, and Iran will set. They can do what they want."

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