Frederic C. Hof
Ambassador Frederic C. Hof is Diplomat in Residence at Bard College. He served as ambassador and special adviser for transition in Syria under President Barack Obama, with a distinguished career at the United States Army and the Department of State. His book on attempting to mediate Syria-Israel peace is forthcoming.
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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