The democratic wind is still swirling around the Middle East and now a breeze has reached the people of Lebanon. This nation has been divided between Christians and Muslims and within each of these entities are other divisions. Several months ago a coalition of dissident Christians and Hezbollah gained control over the government of Lebanon. Yesterday, thousands of people who want a viable democracy in their nation rallied against the new government. They insisted the first step toward democracy is for Hezbollah to place its thousands of missiles under government control and cease using this cache of weapons in order to intimidate any government which seeks to introduce democracy to the country. Former prime minister Saad Al-Hariri told the crowd: “we want to put (weapons) under the control and authority of the state because it’s the army which protects us all.” Hezbollah fears allowing a UN panel which has been investigating the murder of his father, Rafik Al-Hariri to reveal what happened in this crime.
At this point, Hezbollah is supported by Iran and Syria while opponents rely on the support of Saudi Arabia and the United States. An important first step would be for Syria to cease interfering in the internal affairs of Lebanon. We doubt that will occur in the forseeable future.