Not too many months ago, the U.S., Britain, and the international community celebrated the withdrawal of Syrian military forces from Lebanon. The Lebanese people appeared ecstatic over the removal of those forces, apparently feeling freed from domination from the power of their Arab neighbor.
How do the majority of Lebanese citizens feels now?
If the Syrian military had remained in Lebanon, would things be different today? Would the Israelis have bombed Beirut over the heads of the Syrian occupying forces?
Which neighbor’s dominance has proved more destructive to the prospects of Lebanon as a City of the World in commerce, culture, etc. — Syria or Israel?
Can the military occupation of any foreign force in Lebanon cause Hezbollah to stand down? So far, missiles from Hezbollah keep finding their targets in Haifa and northern Israel despite the might of the Israeli military.
At the same time, Syria has said that significant incursion by Israeli land forces into Lebanon will put Damascus at risk and draw Syria’s military into the war regardless. Will Israel yet provoke Syria into the conflict?
The Lebanese people cannot win in their current set of circumstances. They can only suffer. They cannot stop Israel, Hezbollah, or Syria. So, in the future they will have to calculate which forms of pain are more bearable — this is the calculation of the weak and vulnerable. Who is my worse enemy? That is the question that Lebanese people will have to answer and whose ramifications they will have to live with. Right now, many Lebanese may be wishing that the Syrian army had never left.