Powered by WebAds

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lebanon: The more things change, the more they stay the same

If anyone thought that the results of Lebanon's elections would mean that the country would actually make peace with Israel, likely Prime Minister Saad Hariri poured cold water on the idea in an interview with CNN.
Saad Hariri said Sunday's vote "was about Lebanon" and not its precarious position between its alliances with Western countries and its Arab neighbors.

"The people who went on the 7th of June voted for Lebanon first," he said. "It's not about the West; it's not about Iran; it's not about Syria. It's about we as Lebanese, what we want from this new parliament and from this new government that's going to come."

Hariri ruled out an independent peace track with Israel, sticking by his previous assessment that Lebanon will be the last country to sign a peace deal with the Jewish state.

"We will follow after the Arab initiative," he said. "You see, the Arab initiative includes many countries for the peace process, and Lebanon will come as we see fit."

Israel fought a war against Hezbollah militants in Lebanon three years ago that is widely regarded as having empowered the Shiite militia, which claimed victory in the six-week conflict.

Some analysts had feared that a Hezbollah victory in this week's parliamentary elections would have heightened tensions in the Middle East, particularly because of the estimated 30,000 rockets pointed at Israel from southern Lebanon, all under the control of Hezbollah militants.
That's their loss. Lebanon - with which Israel has no territorial disputes other than those that have been invented by Hezbullah - should be the first country to make peace with Israel and not the last.

Meanwhile, Israel's defense minister, Ehud Barak, expressed displeasure with American arms transfers to Lebanon, out of fear that the weapons would end up with Hezbullah.
"All matters pertaining to Lebanon require a sense of responsibility and sound judgment," Barak told the Council for Peace and Security. "We really don't like the supply of American weapons to Lebanon in recent months. We are still concerned and think that some of these means may ultimately reach Hizbullah's hands."

The defense minister added that while Israel is pleased by the Lebanese election results and the moderate camp's victory, the Jewish state is not overly excited by Hizbullah's loss.

"All of us have extensive experience with Lebanon," he said. "It would be better not to delude ourselves."


While lauding the election results as a "positive direction," Barak made it clear that "Hizbullah is still active."

"I can't see the new government…restraining it as is necessary," he said, adding that the radical axis which he referred to as the "Shiite banana" is growing stronger and has not been fully curbed yet.
There isn't much hope and change in Lebanon, is there?


At 7:51 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Lebanon has a very weak government. And while its weakness precludes it from ever launching a war against Israel, that same weakness also precludes from making peace with Israel. With Hezbollah having a veto power over the Lebanese state, chances of the country being able to overcome its divisions to create a functioning state are quite remote.


Post a Comment

<< Home