At the International Herald Tribune, Michael Young discusses the latest drive to end the Syrian occupation of Lebanon, and what the U.S. could be doing toward that end.
This push is coming mainly from Walid Jumblatt, the Druze parliamentarian and political legacy who most recently made waves stateside by calling Paul Wolfowitz a "virus" and wishing the deputy secretary of defense had been killed in a Baghdad rocket attack. The U.S. revoked Jumblatt's visa over that comment, but as his current stance shows, he is a truly unpredictable character—nobody's flunky in a country where everybody's a flunky. Contrast his opposition to the Syrians with the dutiful comments of Hizbollah MP Mohammed Fneish, who (in an interview where he otherwise talked a good game about individual rights and limited government), says "At any rate, if you go today from North to South, you won't find any Syrian checkpoints in Lebanon." (In fairness, I should note that this is an accurate statement as far as it goes.) Other background: I wrote about the solidarity of French and American positions on the Syrian occoupation; Michael Young wrote about the fruitful divisions in Lebanon's media; and back before major combat operations in Iraq had been accomplished, I surveyed what the invasion of Iraq might do for self-determination in Lebanon.