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This section includes Opinion and editorial articles relating to Lebanon and the Middle East written by NALA and others.

    The Damascus Spring


    The Arab Spring has now reached the authoritarian and notoriously repressive Syria, long thought immune to such large scale protests and riots that have now shaken the hold of Bashar al Assad’s Baathist regime.

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    Russia + Syria + Hizballah = Hamas By Elliott Abrams


    Council on Foreign Relations: Pressure Points Blog

    Russia + Syria + Hizballah = Hamas
    By Elliott Abrams
    Monday, April 11, 2011


    On April 6, Hamas terrorists fired a Russian Kornet laser-guided missile at a school bus in southern Israel.  How did Hamas get such a missile?

    It turns out that Russia does not license others to produce this missile; every single Kornet is manufactured in Russia at the KBP factory. The KBP web site helpfully touts all the wonderful qualities of this weapon.

     

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    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is every bit as dangerous and thuggish


    Fashionable

    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is every bit as dangerous and thuggish as his autocratic counterparts across the Middle East, yet for some reason Washington continues to embrace him

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    Syria of a despot by Elliott Abrams


    WASHINGTON POST OPED
    Syria of a despot
    By Elliott Abrams, Friday, March 25
    While  the monarchies of the Middle East have a fighting chance to reform
    and survive,  the region’s fake republics have been falling like dominoes —
    and Syria is next.

     

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    Why Syria Is Unlikely to be Next . . . for Now


    Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

    Why Syria Is Unlikely to be Next . . . for Now
    By Bassam Haddad

    March 10, 2011

    As millions of Arabs stir their respective countries with demonstrations and slogans of change and transition, certain Arab states have been generally spared, including some oil rich countries and Syria. Syria stands out as a powerful regional player without the benefit of economic prosperity and with a domestic political climate that leaves a lot to be desired. Some say it combines the heavy-handedness of the Tunisian regime, the economic woes of Egypt, the hereditary rule aspects of Morocco and Jordan, and a narrower leadership base than any other country across the Arab world. Why, then, is all relatively quiet on the Syrian front? 

     

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    Lebanon's revolution waylaid by the old sectarian demons


    Lebanon's revolution waylaid by the old sectarian demons

    Last Updated: Mar 10, 2011

     

    analysis

    Michael Young

    Last weekend, thousands of people gathered in Beirut to demand an end to Lebanon's sectarian system. The groups backing the campaign are poorly organised, their agendas diverge, but the greatest difficulty they face is more fundamental: most Lebanese, for better or worst, are used to functioning within a sectarian framework, and have always bestowed legitimacy on their sectarian leaders.

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    Prospects for a New Lebanese Government


    Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

    Prospects for a New Lebanese Government
    By Majdoline Hatoum

    February 23, 2011

    Lebanon's Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati has a tough job ahead: forming a cabinet strong enough to endure the political storm expected to rise from the findings of the United Nations’ Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) on the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

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    From Tahrir Square to Shatila Camp: ‘Cry Hurriya!’ (Freedom!)


    by Franklin Lamb

    February 22, 2011

    The Tahrir Square “Hurriya!”  tremors spreading across the Middle East may or may not be impacting today’s events in the  historically liberal American state of Wisconsin and other areas of America,  yet most of us would agree that the Tunisian-Egyptian revolutions are being felt far and wide and appear to be dramatically gaining steam. Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps are no exception.

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    Beirut calling Lebanon, not Egypt, may determine the fate of democracy in the Middle East


    Despite the media's recent focus on Egypt, events in Lebanon may well tell us more about the troubled prospects for Middle Eastern democracy. The fall of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri's government, replaced by a Hezbollah-dominated coalition, dramatically imperils Beirut's democratic Cedar Revolution.

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    Troubled Engagement


    Foreign Policy
    Troubled Engagement
    The United States has an ambassador in Syria for the first time in nearly six years. Now what?
    BY ANDREW J. TABLER | JANUARY 25, 2011

    On Jan. 16, Amb. Robert Ford stepped off a plane in Damascus -- and right into a diplomatic crisis in Lebanon. The news that Hezbollah and its allies, which are supported by Syria and Iran, have secured the votes to elect a friendly Lebanese prime minister will no doubt be on the top of Ford's agenda as Washington struggles to rein in Hezbollah's growing influence.

     

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    Pressure Points The “Resistance” in Lebanon


    Council on Foreign Relations Blog: Pressure Points
    The “Resistance” in Lebanon
    Posted on Tuesday, January 25, 2011
    by Elliott Abrams

    The influence of the United States in the Middle East is declining while that of Iran is rising. That’s the meaning of events in Lebanon, where Hizballah has in essence thrown Prime Minister Saad Hariri from office and is about to choose his successor.

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    Lebanon Approaches Tipping Point


    Council on Foreign Relations
    Lebanon Approaches Tipping Point
    By Deborah Jerome, Deputy Editor
    January 24, 2011

    Lebanon's increasingly assertive Hezbollah faction has said it would nominate for prime minister a fifty-five-year-old billionaire businessman, Najib Mikati. The emergence of a Hezbollah government--backed by allies Iran and Syria--would almost certainly set Lebanon on a collision course with the United States and its allies about the fate of the UN tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of prime minister Rafik Hariri.

     

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    Desperately seeking Syria at Lebanon's expense


    It has been almost six years since a brutal bombing in Beirut killed Lebanon's Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and 22 others on Valentine's Day 2005. This week, the UN prosecutor overseeing the investigation finally submitted sealed indictments to the criminal court's pre-trial judge as to who was responsible for the bombing. UN investigators and foreign intelligence over the last several years, however, have consistently pointed to senior Syrian and Iranian officials' involvement. While the names of the indicted individuals are not expected to be known for eight weeks, the Obama administration has known for quite some time that senior Syrian and Iranian officials are to blame for the brutal killings.

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    What now for Lebanon


    South Beirut -- Informed Congressional sources in Washington DC today are confirming that the White House has informed Congressional Committee Chairpersons and American allies that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) will indict Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's Wali al Faqui (jurisconsult or Supreme Religious Leader) for issuing the order to assassinate Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

     

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    Hizballah Challenges Lebanon's Prime Minister Hariri -- and President Obama


    By David Schenker and Matthew Levitt
    PolicyWatch #1741
    January 13, 2011

    Yesterday, January 12, as Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri prepared to meet with President Obama in the Oval Office, the Hizballah-led opposition withdrew its support from the Beirut government, forcing its collapse.

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    Firestorm among Lebanon's Cedars


      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amb-marc-ginsberg/firestorm-among-lebanons_b_808295.html

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    Pressure Points: Can Lebanon Escape


    Council on Foreign Relations Blog: Pressure Points
    Can Lebanon Escape?
    By Elliott Abrams
    Wednesday, January 12, 2011

    Newspapers today are reporting that Hizbollah-backed members of parliament have withdrawn from the Lebanese government, effectively bringing down  the coalition led by Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

     

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    A White House Clueless on Syria by Michael Young


    http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=226551

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    President Obama's First Two Years in the Middle East



    President Obama's First Two Years in the Middle East
    By David Schenker
    al-Hayat
    December 27, 2010

    President Obama assumed office in 2009 with an ambitious Middle East policy agenda. Atop the list of his campaign pledges, then Senator Obama vowed to pursue Israeli-Palestinian peace and re-engage in diplomacy with Tehran and Damascus. Given these grand plans, perhaps not surprisingly the first two years of the Obama Administration Middle East policy have been distinguished more by frustration than accomplishment. This is particularly true in the Levant -- in Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Israel -- the focus of much of the Administration's regional efforts.

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    Ros-Lehtinen: My mission is to cut the State and foreign aid budgets


    Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), the incoming chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, isn't wasting any time in pressing for deep cuts to the State Department and U.S. foreign operations around the world.

     

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