The violence in Beirut dominated news over the weekend and commentators discussed the relationship between the recent clashes and Lebanese politics, something Philip Carl Salzman at the Middle East Strategy at Harvard considers to be “factional pattern of institutionalized fragmentation and oppositional conflict.”
David Schenker at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy states that the conflict “should be viewed in the context of the ongoing presidential crisis,” and the inability for the numerous political factions to agree on who they want to fill the position. He reports on statements by Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah, saying that “he hoped to resolve the current conflict through political means, whether through ‘dialogue, elections, or a referendum.’” Schenker calls on Washington to “use whatever leverage it might have to encourage the LAF [Lebanese Armed Forces] to fulfill its national responsibility to protect Lebanese institutions.”
The Heritage Foundation suggests actions by the US to strengthen the Lebanese government. The Council On Foreign Relations interviewed Mohamad Bazzi, Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow, on the political developments in Beirut. Click here for link to podcast.
The bloggers at Daily Kos have something to say as well, as one writer argues that Lebanon is “yet another foreign policy opportunity screwed up by the Bush Administration.”