American Samizdat

Friday, December 08, 2006. *
American political leaders watched with alarm during the past week as the Hezbollah militia laid siege to the U.S.-backed Lebanese government, but few would acknowledge publicly what most analysts and politicians here say is obvious: American policy may bear much of the blame.

Many in Beirut say that U.S. failure to stop Israel's onslaught against Hezbollah last summer crippled the Lebanese government - a U.S. ally - while strengthening Hezbollah - a U.S. enemy. That created an environment in which the Shiite Muslim militia could call for overthrowing Sunni Muslim Prime Minister Fuad Saniora and his Cabinet.
Fatfat and other Lebanese officials said that while there was a complex set of reasons for the crisis - Syria is trying to derail a tribunal from investigating Syrian participation in political assassinations, Shiites long have felt underrepresented by their government, Iran is pushing against U.S. interests across the region - the conditions largely were set by U.S. actions during the conflict last summer.
Saniora pleaded with American officials to intervene, but for weeks Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and others said there first must be a "durable solution," meaning primarily that Hezbollah had to be contained and then disarmed.

As the fighting stretched on for more than a month and the Bush administration didn't intervene, Saniora looked ineffectual, a nearly unforgivable sin in a region in which military force and political strength are often synonymous.
The push against Saniora was an easy sell to Hezbollah's rank and file.

"Saniora's government did not help us during the war," said Hussein Ali, who was sitting with a group of friends across from his shoe store in a southern suburb of Beirut.

Ahmed Musalmani, who sells ceramic tiles, added: "And Fuad Saniora was kissing Condoleezza Rice."

More real reporting like this, please...
posted by Uncle $cam at 9:44 PM
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