Latest from Frederic C. Hof
President Biden communicated to Israelis the warmth most Americans, including this writer, feel toward the Jewish State. Now his task is to convince the government of Israel to behave in a manner that upholds Israel’s security interests and reflects respect for human life. He would likely pay a high political price for doing the right thing. But it must be done. American interests are at stake. And American values — the values of all democracies — are on the line.
When the peaceful national uprising against the Assad regime began almost exactly 12 years ago, Kodmani set aside a distinguished academic career to become a leading figure in the expatriate opposition to the regime, and a respected one by American officials. We were blessed to have known her.
When our car was reassembled, we were ordered (at gunpoint) back into the front seats and directed by two Syrian soldiers — seated behind us — to drive to the unit’s headquarters. As Tony drove, I ingested, as inconspicuously as possible, notes I had written on rice paper.
Given past U.S. failures to take on the Assad regime, Moscow’s and Beijing’s plans may well hinge on how Biden next acts in the Levant.
If the evacuation of Afghanistan tested U.S. partnerships in ways that revealed something short of solidarity, building and sustaining an allied strategy for political transition in Syria can provide the corrective.
The obstacles are daunting, but no law of nature dictates that Lebanon must remain last in line to make an honorable and complete peace with its neighbor to the south, one that secures the interests of the “Precarious Republic” and its citizens.
What shocked me as I listened to al-Assad was his lack of hesitation in telling an American diplomat point-blank that the Shebaa Farms — the entire basis for Hezbollah’s claimed status as the “Lebanese Resistance” — was not Lebanese; it was Syrian.
A Middle East ruled illegitimately by the criminally violent will always produce security threats to Americans, especially if the U.S. government is seen in the region as consorting with the enemy.
With Lebanon’s political class promising that untold riches were right around the corner, Hezbollah, apparently, did not wish to be the proverbial skunk at the garden party.
Chehab’s central idea – replace the missing sultanate with a modern nation-state and a government guided by the consent of the governed – remained fixed in the minds of his most fervent supporters. Yet even they found themselves either exiled or politically marginalized within Lebanon.
A century after the end of the Ottoman Empire, no successor to Istanbul’s sultan-caliph has emerged