The idea that the U.S. would want permanent or semi-permanent bases in Lebanon is silly -- for all the reasons mentioned previously by this blogger. And while Abu Muqawama doesn't want to be a water-carrier for Jeff Feltman, there is no reason to believe any of the following isn't true:
Suleiman told the Naharnet Web site Thursday that the purported request for basing rights "has not been discussed with the Lebanese Army."
US Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman described the As-Safir article as a fabrication and an insult to the Lebanese Army.
"The purpose of the visit was very clear ... What he discussed was our commitment to help Lebanon to build a strong state and a strong army, especially after the great sacrifices this army has made in Nahr al-Bared," Feltman told reporters after visiting Beirut Maronite Bishop Boulos Matar Thursday.
"We are working hand in hand with the army commander and the minister of defense to strengthen Lebanon's defensive capabilities," Feltman said. "The Lebanese people, at all levels, expressed a desire to establish a strong state and a strong army capable of defending Lebanon as happened in Nahr al-Bared." (more)
Eric Edelman is, as diplomats go, tits on a bull (useless) and should have known that his visit would arouse all kinds of suspicion and rumors. But that doesn't change Abu Muqawama's belief that the U.S. is more worried about the spread of Islamist radicals out of Iraq and into the camps in Lebanon -- and that the summer fight at Nahr al-Bared was just the first of many clashes we can expect -- than they are about the bleeping Russians in Syria. (Do the Cold Warriors as-Safir think this is 1985?) It makes all the sense in the world, then, to aid and help reform the Lebanese Army as soon as possible.