The Struggle over Lebanon

In the wake of the Paris III conference (due 1/25/07), which will help refinance the Lebanese debt, several questions arise: will Lebanon 'join' the Shiite Crescent or the Moderate Axis? Is there a future for a united Lebanese address? Is there a chance for an Israeli-Lebanese Partnership?

Prime Minister Fouad Siniora is presently touring the Middle East, seeking political and financial support from the Moderate Axis states, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Jordan.

Concurrently, in a recent interview, Hassan Nasrallah announced his plan to intensify the riots in Lebanon, challenged the legitimacy of Siniora's government and negated the possibility of a peace agreement between Syria and Israel.

The Reut Institute identifies a number of topics that are systemically connected to the struggle over Lebanon, which have strategic ramifications for Israel:

  • The emergence of a Moderate Axis in the Middle East? – The readiness of moderate Arab countries to support PM Siniora, politically and financially, reveals the growing consolidation of the Moderate Axis. The threats posed by the Resistance Network and the rising Iranian Hegemony are evoking a need for pan-Arab strategies.

  • Addresses in the Middle East – The Lebanon case serves as an example for the Resistance Network's strategy (initiated by Iran and supported by Syria) to undermine local moderate governments. As a consequence of this strategy (its success or its failure), the Lebanese address could be dismantled. Further regional moderate governments, such as the PA, Egypt and Jordan are threatened by the same risk; this will influence Israel's defense policy, as well as its border regime.

  • Prospects for Israeli - Lebanese Partnership – The current political struggle in Lebanon has a crucial effect on Israel's capacity to build a 'partnership' with Lebanon. An Israeli – Lebanese partnership is dependent on the Siniora's government future, the ability to maintain a united Lebanese address, Hizbullah's position, as well as the Syrian one, whether it will side with Iran or with the Moderate Axis.

Sources

YA Libnan, 1/15/07; full text.

YA Libnan, 1/15/07; full text.

Roee Nahmias, Ynet, 1/15/07; full text.