Syria And Lebanon

The car bomb attack which killed the Lebanese security chief and the subsequent violent demonstration in Beirut underscores what has been said by experienced correspondents in the area for some time; the civil war in Syria is spilling over the borders into its close neighbour. Such is the ethnic and religious mix in Lebanon, interwoven with armed factions and fighters, little is required to destabilise the country to a descent into violence.

The potential for all this was plain at the start of the Syria crisis, which is why it required a subtle and nuanced approach to gain a more open system of government for the Syrian people without consigning them to months or even years of bloodshed and suffering, on a scale likely to spread. Unfortunately the West, with its highest concentration of inexperienced politicians for a generation, failed dismally to measure up, and now faces yet another complete failure of policy in international affairs. In a futile confrontation with Russia and China, who in a far from perfect situation, appear to have been more right than wrong, the West now finds itself backing an extraordinary conglomeration of jihadists and terrorists, whom they oppose elsewhere. Of course there are some good people in the mix, but they are nowhere near in control nor can any agree among themselves where they are headed or how to get there.

Coming on top of Iraq and Afghanistan, this further failure should force some serious re-thinking of a flawed process of analysis post cold war. Even Libya, which at first appeared a success, now looks less certain. It is very bad news indeed that its newly elected representatives are still unable to agree a government.

It really is time for a re-think.

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