Interestingly, it now appears that many others have now fallen into our past delusion, and most of them feel Obama is the stronger candidate.
Only the Iraqis appears to be playing their cards properly...
I am now certain that the past May events had a “French touch”. We Lebanese have many faults, but we're not suicidal. At least, our leaders are not. It now appears that the French arranged some of this past "almost war" in May; they pushed Joumblatt into confronting Hezb, and then knowingly abandoned the government to the Hezb'O'Rampage. This was too well-ordered a "retreat". A lame-duck US administration could then do little more than “drop” March 14th, and open the way for the
The way forward is unclear. The Israelis, understanding that Syria’s options are limited, are pushing for three key concessions from Bashar; to veer away from Iran, to cede their rights on the Golan’s water, and to push permanently settle Palestinians refugees in Lebanon.
None of those will have lasting power.
First, The Syrian economy is far too tied to
Will Bashar Be Back?
At first look, yes. The Israelis appear to push hard for such a deal at the expense of
Paradoxically, Lebanon has been paying for the Israeli defeat in 2006. In a sense, this weakening of
We have reached satisfactory borders [as a result of the June 1967 war], except with
When will the Israelis realize that Arab leaders cannot just sign things away? Even dictators have to contend with popular will. Arafat could not “deliver” the Palestinians without proper consideration for the right of return. In the post 9/11 context and in the face of strong Saudi objections to his return to
In his waning days, Bush appears to be betting on a diplomatic “Hail Mary” pass on Iran. But little tangible will come of it; the Iranians will fundamentally prefer to deal with the next administration; in the past, for all Carter’s efforts, it is Reagan who collected.
I feel the recent policies are simply mistaken of our neighbours are simply mistaken. To the
It is a price none of our powerful neighbours can afford.
So, considering the need to revive Zahrani and rebuild the TAPLINE, I doubt the West woudl allow Syria control over such a strategic lifeline.
In addition to undermining US interests, current Israeli policies are misguided; even if its existence is now an undeniable fact, Israel’s legitimacy still rests on a final and fair settlement with the Palestinians.
Netanyahu has it right;
In light of all this, the French role is limited. Even if they invited all the dictators to the Bastille “freedom” day parade, French desires can never trump Americans interests in the region. And Even as Ghawar dwindles,
So don't be too hard on Obama. Even if his convictions lie elsewhere, a president Obama will not approach the region with the same goals as a President McCain or Clinton (yeah, yeah, I know...), and will continue to follow the “Carter Doctrine”. Indeed, Obama already been “shifting” away from his “convictions”, as all"normal" politicians tend to do. Considering the misconceptions of his "entourage", and his past statements, this is change we can believe in, indeed:
However, even considering hard facts such as the allure of Iraq's oil, and the American need for a backup route out of the Gulf, minor powers will still be "Betting on Barak" and expecting a rapid withdrawal from the region...
Betting too Soon is a Mistake
It's a mistake because they're only betting on today's Barak, without accounting for changes he may need to make when faced with realities.
And there are two other reasons to consider. First, the untested candidacy of Obama may yet implode. Second, whoever the Americans elect as president, he/she (next time?) will continue grappling for oil, especially Iraq's, but neither Israel nor Syria will stop pursuing their little game in our small sandbox. And with Iran and Saudi Arabia vying for more regional power, this little lull will not last.
So, on the way to the Lebanese elections of June ’09 and the Iraqi elections of EOY '09, Expect a hot October ‘08 as the US election near, and a hotter January ‘09, when the US president is installed.
But expect an "interesting" ride in the meantime...