BD says the deal offers the country a much needed break from tensions: there's relief from the political class and the government and the population. (Hezbollah represents for the most part the Shia minority and it's getting more power. Government forces are mostly Shia and Druids Muslims there. I'm wondering if you've met any Lebanese who stories or attitudes who crystallize the Sunni-Shia split in Lebanon today?) I think there is a lot of Sunni-Shiite tension. There's supicion of outsiders in neighborhoods where there wasn't before. The problem in Lebanon is primarily political, those who are tied politically and economically to Syria versus those who are tied to the international community and the Gulf and so on. It's not like Iraq or other places where there's a hard and fast divide though, it's more strictly political. (Where does this power divide leave Washington?) I think it is a setback for Washington, it's another example of collapse of US interests in the Middle East caused by the overstretch of US diplomatic and military capacity in the Iraq War. (What are civilian Lebanese thinking?) I was in the gym the other day and a personal trainer was watching the TV and staring in disgust, he said these guys prepare to be enemies and they're friends, it's like a game to them. I think there is a sense of disgust towards the political class.
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