Chris Floyd, Here
What's going on in Lebanon? Nothing you haven't seen before -- in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Palestine and other places where "the United States is basically instigating and funding civil wars." So says Professor As’ad AbuKhalil.
In fact, "our friends" in Lebanon are actually in league with our allegedly erstwhile friends Al Qaeda. The Hariri faction backed by the Bush Administration is drawing upon the most extremist Sunni armed factions in an attempt to counteract the power of Shiite Hezbollah. This is of course just a continuation of current American strategy in the region, as Sy Hersh outlined last year: giving arms and money to extremist Sunni groups allied with al Qaeda in order to ward off Shiite factions making trouble in our client regimes.
This in turn is part of a broader, more long-standing strategy, going back to 2004, as we noted in a recent report: a global program of arming and funding militias and other violent "non-state actors" to foment trouble where Washington wants trouble, and pressure recalcitrant regimes to bend to the imperial will.
And no, Washington is not "behind" every twist and turn in Middle East politics. But American interventions, direct and covert, are responsible for exacerbating and intensifying conflicts, enflaming sectarian and ethnic divides (or literally building giant concrete walls between them, as in Baghdad today), bolstering tyrannical and/or ineffectual, illegitimate leaders whose misrule provoke more strife, suffering and conflict.
UPDATE: And now Bush is proposing an even more direct U.S. military intervention in Lebanon. Speaking in Cairo -- on yet another one of his pointless trots* around the cauldron (maybe he wants another fancy sword -- or just some more good smoochin' -- from the Saudi king) -- Bush offered to help the Lebanese army "respond more effectively" to Hezbollah. He also took the opportunity to -- what else? -- blame Iran for everything happening in Lebanon, claiming that without the backing of the devilish Persians, Hezbollah -- which, as AbuKhalil noted, is supported by almost half of the Lebanese population -- would be "powerless."