Thursday, January 17, 2008

Saudi - Syria public spat over Lebanon

Tension between Saudi Arabia and Syria doesn't seem to be abating, with the fallout over Lebanon again reaching public light.

Saudi Arabia, in conjunction with Bush's tour, criticised Syria for not pushing its allies in Lebanon to accept the Arab plan.

Syria hit back saying that its allies were not "tools" and that Saudi Arabia and Egypt should convince their own allies, who "boast of their allegiance to Saudi Arabia", to accept a solution.

Egypt resumed its threat that obstacles in Lebanon might jeapordise the Damascus Arab summit scheduled for March. Syria asserted that the summit will go ahead, regardless of the threats.

The pro-American Arab states threatened Syria in negotiations in Cairo last week that they will not attend the Arab summit in Damascus if the Syrians didn't accept their plan. The Syrians obliged, signed onto the plan, or at least publicly, but has refused to use its influence to pressure its Lebanese allies to co-operate. Syria's inaction has infuriated Saudi Arabia and Egypt, who were counting on Syria's support of the Arab plan to get the situation in Lebanon resolved.

Syria has given her Arab rivals the cheek once again.

Franjieh: Patriarch Sfeir is an "American employee"

Divisions also surfaced again within the Maronite community, with Sleiman Franjiyeh labelling the spiritual head of the Maronites, Patriarch Sfeir, as an "American and French employee".

The Opposition leader brushed off French threats that the matter will be taken to the UN Security Council, and rightly so. Lebanon has visited the UNSC's table on a number of occasions in the past 24 months, with the resolutions amounting to very little.

But all in all, Lebanese stubborness is beginning to take hold. Neither side is caving in, and foreign players continue to accuse each other of not finding a solution. This is the Middle East's version of Hollywood gossip.

At the end of the day, the only people we can blame for Lebanon's failure are the Lebanese leaders.

Quit the bitching, quit the threats, and quit messing with the lives of millions of Lebanese.

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