Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Just a few weeks ago, George Bush was hailing Lebanon's new president, Michel Suleiman/Sleiman as the man who could bring all of the country together. Condi Rice followed up with more support for him and his government.

Today we have the sight of Suleiman, along with what seems like the entire Lebanese government, greeting Samir al-Kuntar on a reviewing stand in Beirut before everyone heads to the southern suburbs for a massive greeting rally for al-Kuntar and 4 other militants freed by Israel. al-Kuntar's "iconic" status flows from having smashed in the head of a 3.5 year old Israeli girl (along with the murder of 3 other Israelis). Hezbollah's initial welcome rally in southern Lebanon had their gloating signs in English, for the benefit of the cameras.

If you think the Northern Ireland peace process involved suppressing a lot of pain, this one takes it up a few notches. Or, as Condi said about the 2006 war, which essentially concludes with this swap, the birth pangs of a new Middle East.

UPDATE: Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah has just made his first appearance in nearly a year at the south Beirut welcome rally, standing right next to al-Kuntar. George Bush's dream of a unified Lebanon is realised!

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