|Lebanese Crisis Ends: Hizballah Victory or Temporary Truce?|
...Given the stakes, it is imperative that Washington move beyond rhetoric and develop effective measures to support its pro-Western allies. Particularly important will be ways to enhance the electoral prospects of Siniora and his political allies in advance of the 2009 parliamentary vote. In the meantime, Washington should continue to work with the Lebanese government, avoiding contact with Hizballah ministers -- but working with lower level ministry officials -- as it did in 2005-2006. In addition, the administration should find ways to highlight the emptiness of Hizballah's "resistance" rhetoric, focusing on the fact that the Iranian and Syrian-backed group used its weapons against other Lebanese. For now, civil war has been forestalled, not avoided. Washington needs to do what it can in the time before elections to see that democracy hoists Hizballah by its own petard.