Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 10, 2005
By: Kevin Drum

HEZBOLLAH TURNAROUND....Is this hypocritical opportunism or mature flexibility? Hard to say:

After years of campaigning against Hezbollah, the radical Shiite Muslim party in Lebanon, as a terrorist pariah, the Bush administration is grudgingly going along with efforts by France and the United Nations to steer the party into the Lebanese political mainstream, administration officials say.

...."The main players are making Hezbollah a lower priority," said a diplomat who is closely tracking the negotiations. "There is a realization by France and the United States that if you tackle Hezbollah now, you array the Shiites against you. With elections coming in Lebanon, you don't want the entire Shiite community against you."

...."Hezbollah has American blood on its hands," an administration official said, referring to such events as the truck bombing that killed more than 200 American marines in Beirut in 1983. "They are in the same category as Al Qaeda. The administration has an absolute aversion to admitting that Hezbollah has a role to play in Lebanon, but that is the path we're going down."

Hezbollah is hardly a bunch of angels, but "in the same category as Al Qaeda" is ridiculous hyperbole and self-defeating as well. After all, would the Bush administration suggest that "Al Qaeda has a role to play in Iraq"?

Overall, this sounds like good news. Like it or not, nothing is going to happen in Lebanon unless Hezbollah is part of it. Better to have them in the tent pissing out than the other way around.

Kevin Drum 1:32 AM Permalink | Trackbacks

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