Friday, July 18, 2008

Why Lebanese Who Know Better Welcome Kuntar

Michael Totten writes about The Truth about March 14, "a political vehicle for Lebanon’s liberals, democrats, free-market capitalists, human rights activists, and those who want an exit from the seemingly endless war with the 'Zionist entity'.”
I don’t know if Seniora and Jumblatt sincerely believe Kuntar is a hero for those deeds. Frankly, I doubt it. He won’t be joining the March 14 movement. There is no question that he belongs to the “March 8” bloc led by Hezbollah, and that he will be perfectly willing to murder the children of the “wrong” kind of Lebanese when civil and sectarian violence explodes in his country again.

But Seniora and Jumblatt feel they have to triangulate, so to speak, and publicly throw their support behind a man who is their enemy because he is also Israel’s enemy. Anti-Zionism trumps everything, even in Lebanon where the violent Jew-hatred endemic to the modern Middle East is weaker than it is most other places.

I didn’t exactly see this coming, but I probably should have.
Totten concludes with what the Cedar Revolution and March 14 have come to:

What happened this week reveals the limits of that alliance. If internal war begins in earnest again--and it increasingly looks like it will--the alliance likely will rupture and the liberals will find themselves isolated in their own sectarian cantons again as they did during the last civil war.

Two and a half years ago I met the Egyptian blogger known as Big Pharaoh in Cairo. I told him I was disturbed by Egypt’s darkening politics, that his country felt to me like Iran in the 1970s must have felt before the revolution brought Khomeini to power. “You want to feel good?” he said. “You want to be optimistic? Go back to Beirut.”

I don’t think any sensible person would say that anymore.

Read the whole thing.

These days, there are a decreasing number of reasons to be optimistic about the Middle East in general.

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