LEBANON UPDATE….So how are things going to turn out in Lebanon? Our first data point arrived today, and it looks like Hezbollah is still able to turn out a crowd:
Hundreds of thousands pro-Syrian protesters waved flags and chanted anti-American slogans in a central Beirut square Tuesday, answering a nationwide call by the militant Shiite Muslim Hezbollah group for a demonstration to counter weeks of massive rallies demanding Syrian forces leave Lebanon.
….There were no independent estimates of Tuesday’s crowd, but at least 500,000 people crowded Riad Solh Square and nearby streets. The Lebanese army blocked the road between the two squares with an armored carrier.
That’s a far bigger protest than any of the anti-Syrian rallies so far, which indicates that Lebanon is hardly of one mind about how to respond to the Hariri assassination. What’s more, as the Zogby poll below shows, this isn’t really a surprise since there’s no consensus on who was responsible for the assassination. In fact, most Lebanese are still more likely to blame it on the U.S. or Israel than they are on Syria. In light of this, it’s hardly surprising that another question in the poll got three very distinct answers about what was the best solution to Lebanon’s security situation. Maronites want the Syrians to pull out, Sunnis and Shiites want a stronger Lebanese army, and the Druze want everyone to disarm. The only answer that was universally repudiated was the deployment of international peacekeepers.
Lebanon is surely a country that deserves some peace, and I hope for the best. But it ain’t over yet.