May 21, 2008
A Deal In Lebanon
A friend based in Lebanon emailed me this morning. He said the atmosphere is electric in downtown Beirut today, as journalists and ordinary residents alike watch Hezbollah take down the tents erected 18 months ago as part of a civil disobedience campaign.
The large-scale sit-in paralyzed a main Beirut square, Riad Al-Solh, opposite the residence of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.
The Hezbollah-led opposition occupied the area for a year and half, staring across barbed wire at Lebanese Army soldiers protecting the Serail, where members of the Western-backed government sometimes hunkered down and spent the night when the situation was particularly tense.
A few weeks ago, when I traveled to Beirut, the talk - and the real fear - was of another civil war.
"It's over. The government will collapse. Just a question of time," a journalist in Lebanon told me.
Today, a deal is struck. An Arab League summit in Qatar has essentially given Hezbollah and its allies what it has asked for a year and a half: more political power in the government and veto power to stop any decisions it does not like.
As is often the case in Lebanon, just when you think you know where things are going, the whole country does a 180.
What do you think of the Qatar deal? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or add a comment below.
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