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The Cairo Speech And The Lebanese Elections

For all of my misgivings about President Obama's Thursday speech in Cairo, I have to admit that the first mass response from an Arab body politic was more than I had hoped for...and more than I expected.

The Lebanese elections, which many savvy commentators expected to fall to Hezbollah, turned out with a (relatively) happy ending. The Ayatollah Nasrallah's fanatic Shi'a movement, this time aligned with schismatic Christians led by General Aoun, was defeated big-time. Michael Slackman's Times article tells you the mathematics of the defeat.  And of the victory for Saad Hariri's movement, pro-American and democratically inclined.  This demonstrated the vigor of a  coalition among Maronites, Sunni and Druze. It was also a defeat for Syria and Iran.

It is incumbent on the United States not to sell out the moderate Lebanese majority to the daydreams of enticing Syria away from Iran. Damascus has a permanent desire for suborning Beirut and making it its own.

Had Hezbollah won the balloting, the results it would have heaped scorn on the president's address. It the court of measurable Arab public opinion the tally is 1-0, our side wins.