Socialist Worker

Lebanon deal is a blow to US power

Issue No. 2103

The lebanese peace deal, negotiated in Doha, Qatar, last week, has cleared the way for Michel Suleiman, the head of the army, to become president of Lebanon.

Suleiman used his troops to help disarm government supporters in several days of fighting that began on 7 May.

Under the terms of the agreement, the opposition – an alliance that includes Hizbollah and the mainly Christian Free Patriotic Movement – will gain seats in the new cabinet and have an effective veto over government decisions.

However key ministries, including defence, will remain under the control of the president, while the next prime minister will be drawn from the US-backed March 14 alliance.

The deal is a setback for US plans for the country, but falls short of solving the underlying causes of instability.

Control

The opposition has accepted a deal that gives US-backed parties control over parliament and confirms the rule of a small clique of families who owe their power to the sectarian division of the country.

The Lebanese Communist Party – which was a key part of the resistance to the Israeli assault on the country in 2006 – has opposed the deal, as have other left wing organisations.

Removed from discussion at the Doha negotiations were the neoliberal policies – known as the Paris agreements – imposed on the country by Western powers over the last five years. The opposition dropped its objections to the agreements, despite a growing rebellion among workers.

This workers’ movement exploded in a national strike earlier this month. The growing demand for a rise in the minimum wage was lost in the din of gunfire, but it remains a pressing issue among workers.

As it joins the new government, the opposition is in danger of becoming closely associated with these unpopular economic policies, and losing the widespread sympathy it has among ordinary people.


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International
Tue 27 May 2008, 18:52 BST
Issue No. 2103
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