If President Bush’s record in the Middle East was compiled in the manner of batting averages, the president would be headed back to the bush leagues for some more seasoning before being allowed to play in the big leagues. Hizbullah gunmen have taken over large parts of Beirut as the US backed government backs away from any confrontation with masked gunmen who roam the streets chanting victory and waving flags. The Iranian supported Hizbullah has firm command of major sectors of the capital while the government bunkers down behind the army. Key leaders such as Walid Jumblatt and Saad Hariri, son of the murdered Lebanese leader, are trapped in west Beirut and unable to move without permission of Hizbullah.
Part of the difficulty in figuring out what is going on in Beirut is that Hizbullah is not overthrowing the government, it is not a coup d’etat, it is something, but, as of this point no one knows exactly what. The army exists and it is not controlled by Hizbullah, the government is trapped within its offices, the streets are being controlled by Hizbullah gunmen, and there is stability amidst a loss of power on the part of the government.
The only certainty is that Bush policies of trying to keep Iran out of Lebanon have failed. The Iranians are in Lebanon, they are in Iraq, and they certainly are refusing to back down to UN demands for nuclear reduction.