May 15, 2008


Talks set on new government for Lebanon: The deal, brokered by Arab League diplomats, follows a burst of street battles. It appears to be a boost for Hezbollah. (Borzou Daragahi and Raed Rafei, May 16, 2008, LA Times)

The deal, brokered by a visiting delegation of Arab League diplomats, appeared to be a victory for the Shiite Muslim militia Hezbollah, which leads opposition to the U.S.-backed government and the so-called March 14 movement behind it. Hezbollah fighters occupied parts of Beirut last week, forcing concessions from the administration of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.

"Politically, it's obvious that the opposition won the first round," said Karim Makdisi, a professor of political science at the American University of Beirut. [...]

Top agenda items include a new election law and the composition of a new Cabinet. Both were issues that Hezbollah had demanded be resolved before it and its allies would agree on naming a new president and ending an 18-month civil disobedience campaign that has shut down the capital's glittery downtown and paralyzed the government. [...]

"There's one real issue, and that's the question of Hezbollah's arms," said Makdisi, the American University professor. "That's the only red line. As long as Hezbollah has guarantees that the next government will not tackle the issue of its armaments, all the rest is flexible."

Palestine too continues to fester because the sides engage in such niggling little steps rather than cutting to the chase.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 15, 2008 8:48 PM
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