Inside the Middle East - Blog
May 21, 2008
A Deal In Lebanon
(Photo AP)

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 or add a comment below.
this is one win no one lose. I dont believe that Hizbollah won or Harriri lost.Lebanon is the big winner .
I’m a 30 year old Lebanese woman living in the US.

I disagree with the deal struck in Qatar. I just don’t get it anymore!!!! Hezbollah is a terrorist organization and they are trying to control my country; how can the Arab leaders agree on giving them more power???? Where is the International support for Lebanon now???

Since I ever remember, I lived in war and fear… when is that going to end? Now: NEVER. The more power Hezbollah has, the more wars and problems Lebanon will continue to face.

This is not fair!!!! We want Hezbollah and the Palestinian OUT OF LEBANON and gone FOREVER!!!!

mideast@cnn 30y old woman:

"We want Hezbollah and the Palestinian OUT OF LEBANON and gone FOREVER!"

The "We" you speak of has changed.
It is truly an extraordinary event. A western backed, democratic government (depleted by univestigated assassinations)cedes control to a terrorist group backed by Iran, and the "deal" is hailed in the Arab world and the western media as great advance for Lebanon and a step away from the precipice of war?

Congratulations to the Bush administration. I am sure that America's allies are breathing easier knowing that they can always rely on the USA to assist in their time of need.

I wonder if the upcoming elections in Lebanon will yield similar results to the elections in Gaza.
Congratulations to Lebanon. As an American, I am supposed to hate Hezbollah and wish that fiery death be rained down upon them; but I am very happy to see the Lebanese parties work out their differences through negotiations (or as G.W. Bush calls it, "appeasement") rather than through bloodshed. Kudos.
Well, it is a great day for lebanese as they go on with their lives and most importantly rebuild their state.
As for those who repeat the foreign policies rhetoric " hizballa, palestinian and hamas are in the same folder" are only bigots that dont understand that 30% of the population support the Hizballa party and including them in the policy making will only take them peacefully to the center. As for the palestinian refugees in Lebanon, they remain the last piece that should be dealt with: where/when/who would offer them a decent second chance. Not in Lebanon for sure.
George Haddad
I would only like to quote Gibran Khalil Gibran as a comment on the whole situation in Lebanon. I think it fulfills all I have to say.

"You have your Lebanon and its dilemma. I have my Lebanon and its beauty.
Your Lebanon is an arena for men from the West and men from the East.

My Lebanon is a flock of birds fluttering in the early morning as shepherds lead their sheep into the meadow and rising in the evening as farmers return from their fields and vineyards.

You have your Lebanon and its people. I have my Lebanon and its people.

Yours are those whose souls were born in the hospitals of the West; they are as ship without rudder or sail upon a raging sea.... They are strong and eloquent among themselves but weak and dumb among Europeans.They are brave, the liberators and the reformers, but only in their own area. But they are cowards, always led backwards by the Europeans. They are those who croak like frogs boasting that they have rid themselves of their ancient, tyrannical enemy, but the truth of the matter is that this tyrannical enemy still hides within their own souls. They are the slaves for whom time had exchanged rusty chains for shiny ones so that they thought themselves free. These are the children of your Lebanon. Is there anyone among them who represents the strength of the towering rocks of Lebanon, the purity of its water or the fragrance of its air? Who among them vouchsafes to say, "When I die I leave my country little better than when I was born"?Who among them dare to say, "My life was a drop of blood in the veins of Lebanon, a tear in her eyes or a smile upon her lips"?

Those are the children of your Lebanon. They are, in your estimation, great; but insignificant in my estimation.

Let me tell you who are the children of my Lebanon.

They are farmers who would turn the fallow field into garden and grove.

They are the shepherds who lead their flocks through the valleys to be fattened for your table meat and your woolens.

They are the vine-pressers who press the grape to wine and boil it to syrup.

They are the parents who tend the nurseries, the mothers who spin the silken yarn.

They are the husbands who harvest the wheat and the wives who gather the sheaves.

They are the builders, the potters, the weavers and the bell-casters.

They are the poets who pour their souls in new cups.

They are those who migrate with nothing but courage in their hearts and strength in their arms but who return with wealth in their hands and a wreath of glory upon their heads.

They are the victorious wherever they go and loved and respected wherever they settle.

They are the ones born in huts but who died in palaces of learning.

These are the children of Lebanon; they are the lamps that cannot be snuffed by the wind and the salt which remains unspoiled through the ages.

They are the ones who are steadily moving toward perfection, beauty, and truth.

What will remain of your Lebanon after a century? Tell me! Except bragging, lying and stupidity? Do you expect the ages to keep in its memory the traces of deceit and cheating and hypocrisy? Do you think the atmosphere will preserve in its pockets the shadows of death and the stench of graves?

Do you believe life will accept a patched garment for a dress? Verily, I say to you that an olive plant in the hills of Lebanon will outlast all of your deeds and your works; that the wooden plow pulled by the oxen in the crannies of Lebanon is nobler than your dreams and aspirations.

I say to you, while the conscience of time listened to me, that the songs of a maiden collecting herbs in the valleys of Lebanon will outlast all the uttering of the most exalted prattler among you. I say to you that you are achieving nothing. If you knew that you are accomplishing nothing, I would feel sorry for you, but you know it not.

You have your Lebanon and I have my Lebanon."
this is a great day for Lebanon.Lebanese once more showed that they deserve the beautiful country of Lebanon.I think it is time to think Lebanese and think that you are part of this area which is called the Arab world. Bush abandoned his friends, and Iran is a trouble maker in Lebanon.we only have each other Muslims and Christian Lebanese so we should build on that.
Gibran grapples with problems similar to those Lebanon faces today and this says a lot about the deep-seated identity crisis this country has yet to overcome. Gibran also said:

"Pity the nation divided into fragments, each fragment deeming itself a nation"

The Lebanese need to spend less time vilifying one another and more time learning where the other is coming from.
The question remains, is peace coming back to Lebanon, so they can rebuild their country and become Democratic.... If the new government is as corrupt as the present one i fear the worst... how is it that millions of dollars paid to rebuild this once so rich and beautiful country just disappeared and no-one knows where... when is it possible to have 24 hours of electricity without the black out periods... isn't it time to let the lebanese rebuild their country? I have learned to love that country although it is not my origin and i can only hope that this is a small step into a future where this country can be great again.... and please mister bush, do not send " help" only to dishuise your attempts on dumping the people from palestine in Lebanon, tell the israeli where they went wrong and still do!!!!
I'm a 24 year old lebanese journalist who feels sadened and feels a little pitty as well towards the poor lebanese public who actually feels happy for the deal in Qatar. I for one am not; Not because of a political reason and I would simply disagree to the naive comments which I read about HIzballa and hariri and how hizballa is a terrorist group (according to USA) and hariri is raping the rule (just silly)... It's not as black and white, it's not as simple, wake up.
what i am sad about is that we had a golden opportunity to change the lebanese electoral law in Qatar for a better and much more fair one which is the fouad boutros law, but instead they chose the 1960 law which is tailor made for all the political team on the scene right now, all (oppositiona and government), that serves their re-election and doesn't really pave the way for change in the political team and scene.
I'm saddened and deeply troubled by the ignorance of the lebanese people and political leaders.
This country is for the youth and for our children and children's children, it can't continue like that. Wake up. Elie K
This is a great day for Lebanon. We need to understand each other, have a national unity government and figure out solutions together. A significant portion of the population supports Hezbollah, we need to recognize that and give them more say in how the country is run. Once we bring prosperity back to the country, many of the armed men will see that there is a better future that does not involve arms.
As a Lebanese I salute Dutch Navy Guy (8:57) for his stand and love for my country, which is not his country of origin.

Your concern is highly appreciated. We as Lebanese share those same concern. We have full confidence in the future, and know very well that as long as Bush's plans are away from Lebanon, as much as in peace and happily Lebanese will live ever after. I'm with you regarding Hizbollah. They are a terrorist group with an agenda to spread Shiism from Iran all the way to Lebanon and perhaps beyond. As for the Palestinians, trust me, if they had the choice, they would not stay in Lebanon one day - but rather go back to their homeland. As Lebanese and Arabs, we must stand with the Palestinians to regain their right to return. As for Hizbollah, there must me a way to disarm them, because they will most definitely return and cause more problems down the road.
7:30 Hizbullah are part of the Lebanese factions. Anyone has the right to defend his country, and that's what Hizbullah are doing. Especially in the case where the US and France are forbidding any strong weapons to reach the Lebanese Army.
1259 Hezbollah were at one point considered heros of lebanon for defending the country from israel's southern occupation. Since then and after their summer war with israel, Hassan Nisrallah and hezbollah have become cocky and power hungry and want to divide Lebanon. They only continue to give lebanon problems. I agree with 730 on palestinians who have no where to go. The Palestinians in the refugee camps must stop helping hezbollah also. They either stay in the refugee camps or they return to the West Bank where they face Israeli occupation and oppression.
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