|Prime Minister Saad Hariri [right] with his murdered father Rafik Hariri [left] during better times|
Lacking Leverage, U.S. Grasps for a Solution in Lebanon -Mark Landler & Robert Worth
As Lebanon's government collapsed after a walkout by Hizbullah ministers, President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton both threw their support behind Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, as well as reaffirming the work of the international tribunal that is investigating the assassination of his father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
But critics say the [US] administration's engagement in Lebanon has been episodic...
(New York Times)
Hizbullah's Latest Suicide Mission -Thanassis Cambanis
Hizbullah cannot afford the blow to its popular legitimacy that would occur if it is pinned with the Hariri killing. The group's power depends on the unconditional backing of its roughly 1 million supporters. Its constituents are the only audience that matters to Hizbullah, which styles itself as sole protector of Arab dignity...
These supporters will be hard-pressed to understand, much less forgive, their party if it is proved to have killed former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, a leader who was loved by the nation's Sunni Muslims and also respected by Christians, Druze and even many Shiites, who form Hizbullah's core support. That is why Hizbullah denies any role in the assassination.
Leaked evidence based on cellphone records has placed a Hizbullah team at the scene of the assassination. If it is proved to have taken part in the Hariri hit and assassination campaigns against other moderate Lebanese figures, Hizbullah will look to many like just another power-drunk militant movement.
(New York Times)
Lebanon Turmoil Unlikely to Descend into Clash -Yaakov Lappin
"More and more, Hizbullah is the owner and real ruler of Lebanon," Ilan Mizrahi former deputy head of the Mossad, and former head of Israel's National Security Council, said.
Iran Retains the Initiative in the Mideast -Jackson Diehl
Hizbullah's move vividly demonstrated that the Iranian side retains the initiative. Because Hamas and Hizbullah are the two strongest military forces in the Levant other than Israel, they have the capacity to provoke, to disrupt and to start an armed conflict at any time of their - or Tehran's - choosing.