Showdown between Hizbullah and Beirut

[Washington Institute for Near East Policy] David Schenker - Sadly, for Washington, there are few realistic policy options to reverse the Hizbullah coup. It is highly unlikely that the UN - which failed to even prevent the rearming of Hizbullah - would agree to more dangerous deployments in Lebanon. The U.S. may have some influence with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) since Washington has provided it nearly $250 million in assistance since 2006, including key logistical support. Last spring, Washington dispatched forty C130 aircraft loaded with military material to Lebanon that helped tip the balance in favor of the LAF in its battle against the al-Qaeda-affiliated Fatah al-Islam in the Nahr al-Bared camp. With so much at stake, now is the time for Washington to use whatever leverage it might have to encourage the LAF to fulfill its national responsibility to protect Lebanese institutions. If the LAF does not act soon, Lebanese sovereignty may become a thing of the past.

2008-05-12 01:00:00

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