The agreement between the Hizbollah-led opposition and the Lebanese government and
the start of indirect negotiations between Syria and Israel run counter to the policies of
the Bush administration, which has been pushing the Lebanese government not to
compromise with Hizbollah and opposes Syrian–Israeli talks. The agreement in Lebanon
was the direct result of negotiations with an organization considered terrorist by the
United States, and came in the wake of Hizbollah-led violence. Talks with Syria, a rogue
country allied with Iran, also fall in the category of “appeasement” according to the
stance taken by President Bush in his May 15 speech to the Knesset. Yet, both
developments carry the promise of progress, decreasing the chances of further conflict
from which nobody would benefit.
The United States should support the new Lebanese president and the government of
national unity. It should encourage the Syrian–Israeli talks—but it should stay out of the
process, allowing Syria, Israel, and Turkey to get on with efforts that have come a
considerable way so far.
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