Thursday, 7 August 2008

More guns or disengagement?

General David Petraeus made an unannounced visit to Lebanon yesterday to discuss American support for the country's national army, writes the New York Sun:

"The presence in Beirut of General Petraeus, confirmed recently as head of US Central Command, which is responsible for the Middle East, is an indication of the growing strategic prominence of Lebanon in the complex regional map.

"The general's discussions about increased military aid to the government of Prime Minister Siniora, however, come amid growing Israeli alarm at that government's deference to Hezbollah."


The visit was to discuss "key developments in the region", according to the Lebanese presidential office. This is diplo-babble for "something is going on, and we're not telling you".

The International Herald Tribune notes only that "Petraeus, who was accompanied by a US military delegation, also held a meeting at the Defence Ministry with acting army commander Major General Shawki al-Masri. The general later met with Saniora for more than an hour."


By process of elimination Sursock has narrowed down the content of the talks:
1) Petraeus tells Siniora government to attack Hizbollah.
2) He tells him not to attack Hizbollah.
3) He tells Siniora the US still wants military bases in the north.
4) He tells him the US no longer needs military bases in the north.
5) He tells Siniora that Syria is still the enemy.
6) He tells him that Syria not the enemy... at least for now.
7) He enjoys hummus and wants Mrs Siniora's recipe, or it's hashish time in the Bekaa and he wants to increase supplies to his troops in Iraq.
8) Israel are gong to surrender at there will be a golden future for the region.
9) He is visiting Lebanon because US policy is in disarray and he has to put up a pretence that the Americans are still key players in the region.
10) None of the above, and its not our business to know.

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