The Region: Hello, America, are you there?

If you’ve lost faith in the abilities of the current US administration and mass media to respond to Middle East developments, here’s more evidence. Consider how hidden, obscure stories are being dug out by policymakers and top media. The New York Times recently reported that the US government is “increasingly alarmed by unrest in Lebanon, whose own fragile peace is being threatened by militant opponents of a politically charged investigation into the killing in 2005 of a former Lebanese leader.”

Ya think? Lebanon has been taken over (or recaptured, if you wish) by the Iran-Syria anti-American, revolutionary Islamist, terrorist-sponsoring axis, operating largely – though by no means completely – through its client, Hizbullah. Might this be of some concern for US policy-makers?

Four years ago, Lebanon was run by an independent-minded, pro-Western government that would have preferred peace with Israel (though it knew domestic pressures made any such action impossible), opposed Iran and saw radical Islamism as an antagonist.

Today, Lebanon has been “lost” in large part due to Western weakness and inaction.

Even on this latest point the administration is wrong. There isn’t going to be any big conflict over any report that the Syrians murdered former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. Everybody in Lebanon knows that Syria did it, possibly (though this is far less certain) with Hizbullah’s help.

But there won’t be any problem if the UN-backed investigation publicly states this because everyone in Lebanon has also been intimidated into silence. Even Hariri’s son, the most important Sunni leader and head of the Sunni-Christian-Druse (well, no longer Druse since they have joined the pro-Syrian side for all practical purposes) has surrendered to Damascus.

And of course there remains the question of what, if anything, this administration will do about Lebanon. Answer: nothing, except continue to aid the army which, at best, is neutral and, at worst, is a Hizbullah ally .

SPEAKING OF Syria and great discoveries, The Washington Post reported that Syria just doesn’t seem to be responding to administration efforts to engage, moderate and pull that country out of Iran’s orbit.

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