Like farm animals before an earthquake, the Lebanese daily newspapers are beginning to shift anxiously ahead of what they now believe to be, yes… I think we can confirm… yes, uh huh, there’s absolutely no question this time… it’s gonna… it’s, it’s… oh my God… it’s happening!
THE GOVERNMENT IS COMING, THE GOVERNMENT IS COMING!
Or so they say.
Al-Akhbar predictably claims that America’s evil Vice-Regent (Jeffrey Feltman) has given the green light, while Naharnet predictably claims that Syria’s evil Vice-Regent (Bashar al-Assad) has given the green light. Michel Aoun, in the meantime, is insisting that the light remains decidedly orange.
I remember speaking to Joshua Landis a few months ago about the cabinet crisis, and he suggested to me that while Bashar would love to see Saad Hariri come over the mountains and make the humiliating visit to Damascus, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. had made it clear that no such gesture was in the cards. Meanwhile, as much as America and Saudi would love to see Saad stick it to Aoun and Hizbullah (by assembling a majority cabinet), that is clearly a red line for Syria.
Moral of the story: I personally don’t think that Lebanon’s problem is one evil foreign Vice-Regent but several of them, not to mention all the little local wannabe evil Vice-Regents.
Update (comment from Joshua Landis):
“The word on the street about the Syrians and Saudis is that they have agreed to tell their friends in Lebanon to fix things as they see fit, but that Syria and Saudi Arabia are not going to let their relationship be held hostage by paralysis in Lebanon… Interpret that as you wish.”