A dark specter looms over Lebanon as the democratic momentum grows to oust Syrian forces: the risk of civil war. From 1975 to 1990, a bloody civil conflict claimed about 150,000 Lebanese lives. Many of the problems that plagued Lebanon in the past may recur in different forms or, worse yet, new forms should Syrian troops withdraw. This fear should not stop the international community from pressing Damascus to end its brutal occupation, but steps must be taken to ensure that freedom and peace remain long after Syria is gone.
Lebanon was an island of democracy in the Middle East until its civil war began in 1975. The war had many causes, including political meddling by Iraq, Syria, and other neighbors; the Israeli-Palestinian border war; a frozen political system that gave disproportionate power to the country’s Christian minority; and a weak government that could not prevent minor spats from escalating into violence. The war ended only when Syria forcibly intervened, crushing dissent and imposing a brutal peace by deploying tens of thousands of troops and intelligence agents. Many Lebanese accepted Syria’s presence as the price of stability. But today, their patience is at an end.
The good news is that most Lebanese recognize that a return to civil war would be disastrous. The bad news is…
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[Trump has] given Iran the moral high ground and that is an exceptionally difficult thing to do given the history and reality of Iran's misdeeds at home and in the region. It's just malpractice on the part of an American president.
The way the Trump administration is moving forward [with its Iran policy] is just so hostile to all aspects of Iran that it’s unlikely to produce any traction with the Iranian people or to encourage divisions within the system.
The intent of [any U.S. action] to do with the IRGC is basically to cast a very broad shadow over sectors of the Iranian economy and exacerbate the compliance nightmare for foreign businesses that may be considering trade and investment with Iran.