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U.S. Looking ahead after the Lebanese Elections

Published on: June 20th 2009 16:36:18
Washington received the Western-backed Lebanese “March 14” bloc victory with a mixture of delight and relief. Although the real test will be the smooth formation of a new coalition government, the outcome of the Lebanese elections is good news for Washington, largely because it sets the stage for what the Administration sees as a more promising landscape for policy changes in the Middle East. If there is a current concern it is over the possibility that the Israelis may see Hezbollah as weakened and thus a potential target to provoke. A source closer to Senator Mitchell told us: “Whether or not he sees some change in Bashar during this visit is not important, Bashar knows the political landscape for Hezbollah and Iran has been rearranged. If we obtain an additional boost from the Iranian elections, so much the better.” T he Administration’s policy regarding Hezbollah remains unchanged, however, we expect the diplomatic pace to increase over the course of the summer as a new dialogue emerges. 

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