November 27, 2007

Feltman on Lebanon

Yes, we define Hizbullah as a terror organization. At the same time, I work in Lebanon. I cannot deny Hizbullah's effectiveness as a social organization. It has a well-oiled social and political machine. It has genuine support from a Shia population that felt marginalized and victimized for years. Hizbullah's popular support is real. We need to take this into our calculations....

If you're interested in what's going on in Lebanon, be sure to read Amb. Feltman's revealing interview with Newsweek. It's already making headlines in the Beirut newspapers. Feltman is in many ways a bogeyman for Lebanese opposed to the March 14th ruling coalition, but he is much-admired in Washington. Love him or hate him, he has served as an effective ambassador, representing American interests well. Abu Muqawama has only met him once, but he went away from the 30-minute meeting highly impressed.

It was understood, though, that Feltman was supposed to have left Lebanon last summer. Perhaps Foggy Bottom left him in Beirut because he's the only guy who knows the political situation so well.