Thursday, April 20, 2006

Fuad Siniora on Hezbollah

Just saw Lebanese PM Siniora on CSPAN. A lot of waffling. Obviously he couldn't really say anything substantive about questions like Iranian and Syrian influence. But one thing I found interesting. Someone asked a question about Hezbollah. At first, he gave the usual garbage about Hezbollah's important contributions to Lebanon, ending the occupation by the Izraeeli army. But then he said: Hezbollah is a Lebanese party, and all its objectives are to further the interests of Lebanon. Then, later, the Sheba farms issue came up, and he said that he'd talked to American officials and there had been progress. So: this stuff about Hezbollah could be interpreted as praise for the organization, but at the same time, it is also an effort to limit its activities. I interpret this as follows: as long as Hezbollah fights for the "liberation" of the farms, its operations will be deemed legitimate. But after that, it's raison d'etre is up. By focusing on LEBANESE interests, Siniora is denying Hezbollah the right to link their cause with the Palestinians. It might be worth it for Israel to show some openness toward a deal, a real settlement that would involve the farms. Of course, Lebanon and Syria have to make the first moves (according to int'l law, the farms are Syrian not Lebanese territory). This could be a very good opportunity to force Syria into doing something that it doesn't really want to do.

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