A headline in the Israeli daily Ha’aretz on the first anniversary of the blast declared bluntly that “Lebanon was beyond saving.” No: Lebanon and the Lebanese can and must be saved. It is the political class that must be removed from power and set adrift in the toxic sea of sin and sorrow they have created. An international investigation is crucial if Lebanon is ever to recover from this heinous crime.
Whether Iran attains enhanced nuclear capability or not, the Islamic Republic already has a prominent and growing role in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Lebanon. And it is in Lebanon that a variety of troubling regional fault lines now intersect just as the fractured Lebanese political system is on the brink of total collapse.
The attrition of the United States’ global hegemony is well underway, and with numerous and serious challenges at home—not least of which is a deeply divided populace roiling with White supremacist ideologies and domestic terrorists in the midst of a brutal pandemic—Biden cannot afford to take his eye off the domestic policy front, even as he and his administration struggle to cobble together a coherent foreign policy agenda.
I asked my brother-in-law “What does ‘Beirut’ mean?” He had just finished telling me about Beirut’s repeated phoenix-like rise from fires, calamities, and even an earthquake that had destroyed a Roman law school here in the year 551. He smiled and said “Beirut means ‘takes a licking but keeps on ticking’!”