Yes, we had presidents and governments for a while, but since 1990 at least, they were more mostly pawns, moving to Assad’s will. The situation did not improve much after 2005. Because of internal divisions and residual Syrian influence, local politicians upgraded themselves to benchwarmers, with little power to affect our destinies; they could only exert their nuisance and exercise their kleptocratic skills.
There is little need to demonstrate that the proximate cause for this failure is Syrian interference and French incompetence. For all his professed love of Lebanon, Kouchner did little but to stiffen the Assad clan’s resolve to face the “free world”. And only the prospect of a seat at the Annapolis conference may have stayed their hand.
For now… lest one think they can be parlayed into growing a decency organ, the fact remains that Assad can only afford a puppet in Lebanon, because of the bad example we give “his” people… But this is not the entire picture.
The fact also remains that the “free world” would be willing to give Syria what it wants, provided it takes care of a few loose ends for them, such as Hezb…
Why else would the French try so hard, and compromise the Tribunal?
Why else would the Italians have been so conciliatory?
Why else would the United States have tolerated Israeli aggression?
Why? Simple; because the underlying cause remains; it is not merely Lebanon which is on the table. It always was. This time around, the main target is Hezb and, through it, one of Iran’s pressure points on the West. For all their professed interest in our well being, Lebanon and its democracy are secondary to the Western powerbrokers.
Local politicos postponed taking a decision till after the Annapolis Conference, in the hope that the waiting game will benefit their side.
But they are not alone; the Syrians may be hoping that time is on their side, and have thus stayed the hand of their Pinocchio. They must have had a strong reason for doing so, and letting this card go.
Something more than a seat at Annapolis...
Let’s hope the Syrians do not get what they want. Or that they are too far gone in Iran’s orbit to reach escape velocity now.