The Bush administration has been strangely mute on the recent fighting in Lebanon between the Sunni militant group and the Lebanese army. You would expect Bush to be on the bully pulpit, giving the government of Lebanon his full backing. After all, this is a fragile democratically-elected government that Bush and Rice have gone out of their way to praise since 'the cedar revolution' in Lebanon, in early 2005.
In February, 2007 Secretary of State Rice reaffirmed her praise and support for the Siniora government. Rice said, "they have been peaceful, they have been constitutional and they have been within the legal framework, as is befitting a democracy."
Now the government is facing the worst internal fighting since the civil war ended 17 years ago. The militant Sunni group which is entrenched in a Palestinian refugee camp, Nahr al-Bared, in Northern Lebanon, set off the army siege when they they staged a bank robbery in Tripoli, then later attacked army posts at the entrance to the camp.
According to Wikipedia, "the group (Fatah al-Islam) has been described as a terrorist movement that draws inspiration from al-Qaeda. Its stated goal is to reform the Palestinian refugee camps under Islamic 'sharia law,' and its primary targets are Israel and the United States." Just the sort of militant group you would think Bush would like to rid the Middle East of?
Which side would you expect the administration to be taking; the Lebanese army of one of the few democratic governments in the Middle East or a militant Sunni Islamic group seeking to destablize or overturn that same moderate government of Prime Minister Siniora by violent means? A 'no brainer' you might say ...In that sense you would be correct. But for the surprising answer, see Bush administration arranged support for militants attacking Lebanon, by veteran journalist Seymour Hersh.
A key element of this policy shift, (from this 'redirection' to focusing on countering Iran instead of Sunni extremists) was an agreement among Vice President Dick Cheney, Deputy National Security Advisor Elliot Abrams, and Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi national security adviser, whereby the Saudis would covertly fund the Sunni Fatah al-Islam in Lebanon as a counterweight to the Shia Hezbollah.
In the war on evil, we must sometimes use evil to fight evil. In this case, use a group linked to Al-queda as a fulcrum against Iranian influence on the Hezbollah and a democratically elected government we publicly support. Bush's foreign policy in the Middle-East, the parts he doesn't like to share with us, have all the fingerprints of Eliott Abrams of Iran-Contra fame yet again?
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