The assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minsiter Rafik Hariri in 2005 set off huge demonstrations in Lebanon against the influence of Syria. The US backed those protests. The protests helped bring an end to Syria's 30-year occupation in Lebanon and it was an encouraging moment for President Bush's stated goal of spreading democracy in the Middle East. Now the Bush administration sees the renewed fighting as a threat to Lebanese democracy. The US has accused Hezbollah and its backers in Syria and Iran of starting the violence but says the US is not planning to intervene. What people in Lebanon and the region are talking about is how the fighting is tantamount to a regional proxy war. this journalist says the proxy war is a larger stand off between the US and Iran with the US in alliance with Saudi Arabia and Egypt and in support of the pro-government forces. The Iranian-backed Hezbollah has proven itself to be a formidable military force. This analyst says disarming Hezbollah is going to be very difficult. The question is how far will Hezbollah go? The first analysis says Hezbollah may already be overplaying its hand and he says Hezbollah is already isolated. In that sense it's neither in Iran's interest or the US's interest to see the situation in Lebanon spin out of control.

Related Stories