Monday, May 12, 2008

Washington's Role in Modern Lebanon

As'ad AbuKhalil, professor of political science at the California State University, Stansilaus and the creator of the Angry Arab News Service blog at, pointedly summarized on Democracy Now the role of Washington in Lebanon over the last generation as follows:

I think that people may remember, back in the 1980s, the United States government, for two years in the administration of Ronald Reagan, deployed troops from ’82 to ’84. And there was a civil war, and the United States was supporting the rightwing militias of Israel in Lebanon, and they used the discourse of supporting the central government of Lebanon.

Something similar is taking place right now in Lebanon, and this is very much similar to what’s happening in Sudan, in Palestine, in Iraq, in Afghanistan and Somalia. The United States is basically instigating, funding and arming civil wars in all those places. We hear a lot about this inability of the international community to tolerate armed militias. Of course, Hezbollah is an armed militia, but so are the pro-militias of the government. There’s a Los Angeles Times article today detailing the efforts by the United States and allies to create militias throughout the country. And the Washington Post indicated that this government of the United States spent $1.4 billion to prop up the administration of Siniora in Lebanon.

And basically, what happened in Lebanon in the last few days is a partial coup d’etat that was in response to a full coup d’etat that was engineered by the United States and Saudi Arabia and Israel from behind the scene back in 2005, capitalizing on the assassination of Rafik Hariri.

And things have gotten to this point because America basically is responsible, more than their clients in Lebanon. I mean, there were ideas of dialogue in Lebanon, and things were moving in that direction, and then, suddenly, lo and behold, the Assistant Secretary of State of the United States for the Near East, David Welch, shows up in Lebanon, and he basically wanted to stiffen the resolve of the clients and to basically prevent the possibility of dialogue. And then, Walid Jumblatt, one of the clients of the United States and Saudi Arabia and Lebanon today, escalated by deciding on taking the issue of disarming Hezbollah, which is supported at least by half of the Lebanese, and Lebanese parties, including clients of the United States, agreed that the issues of disarming Hezbollah should be left for internal dialogue of the Lebanese themselves.

But it seems the Bush administration, while it’s sailing into the sunset, wanted to achieve a victory that has long eluded it in Iraq and elsewhere. They were getting too excited about Lebanese affairs in the Washington Post, who were celebrating the so-called Cedar Revolution. Well, they tried to push them further, and look what happened. This is something that experts have warned the United Nations about. If you push things to that point, the other side is going to lash out, and they did lash out, even if one, like me, does not like the scenes of these militias and armed thugs running into the streets of Beirut and so on. But basically, we have to say that this is the doing of US foreign policy, and this is the true face of the Bush Doctrine in the Middle East.

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