November 19, 2007


A dilapidated taxi as metaphor: Lebanon appears to be coming apart at the seams as a standoff over naming a new president threatens political chaos (Borzou Daragahi, 11/19/07, Los Angeles Times)

Never a very solid proposition to begin with, the government is caught in a seemingly intractable deadlock, with two opposing camps so far unable to come up with a president and name a government as a Friday deadline looms.

On one side is the coalition of U.S.-backed parties and factions led by Saad Hariri, the son and political heir of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who was assassinated in a massive bomb explosion in February 2005. On the other side is the Syrian- and Iranian-backed alliance led by Hezbollah, a Shiite militia and political party.

France and Saudi Arabia, long major players here, have waded into Lebanon's political swamp in an attempt to mediate.

No one is quite sure what will happen if the deadline passes without a president being named. The pro-U.S. forces might form a government without the consent of their rivals, who might decide to name their own government.

Presumably, two vying governments would then be in charge of Lebanon, collecting taxes and maybe even enforcing traffic rules.

If it were a real country it wouldn't have seams.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 19, 2007 6:11 AM
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