Regional and international developments suggest that the challenges facing Hezbollah are mounting, but Hezbollah is not likely to relinquish its power without a fight.
Lebanon might have escaped another war, but tensions in the country and the region are high and getting higher, and any one of several issues could trigger local or regional conflagrations.
The private sector has become the main driver of growth in the Middle East and North Africa, but more consistent and equitable regulations are needed to transform the region into a diversified, high-performance economy.
The bulk of development security sector aid in Palestine, Lebanon, and Yemen has consisted of military training and equipment. The West should adopt a comprehensive approach to aid where security reform is only one part of a broader reform strategy.
The possibility of peace between Syria and Israel in 2009 is a serious one. Both countries have a strategic interest in peace, and have been pursuing indirect negotiations under Turkish auspices for a year.
Confrontational U.S. policy that tried to create a “New Middle East,” but ignored the realities of the region has instead exacerbated existing conflicts and created new problems. To restore its credibility and promote positive transformation, the United States needs to abandon the illusion that it can reshape the region to suit its interests.
After the war of last summer, Lebanon had settled back into a pretense of normality, shattered periodically by massive demonstrations in the streets of the capital, as Hizbollah mustered its supporters in an attempt to force the government to call for early elections. The government refused to give in. Hizbollah is now trying to break the impasse.