Lebanon: Condoleezza Rice's Surprise Visit

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made an unannounced, five-hour visit to Lebanon on Monday, June 16. She declared her government’s support for the newly elected Lebanese president, as well as for the Lebanese government, the parliament’s speaker and the democratic system in the country. Rice last visited Lebanon during the devastating 2006 Israel-Lebanon war that left more than 1,300 people dead, most of them Lebanese civilians. Here are some of the responses to this visit in the Lebanese blogosphere:

Sursock observed that death always follows Rice on her visits. He was also sarcastic about her brushing aside of any suggestions referring to the US interference in Lebanese politics, even after what she had to say upon visiting some of the Lebanese leaders:

Authorities in Lebanon say at least three people have died in clashes between pro- and anti-government groups in the eastern [Bekaa Valley] villages of Saadnayel and Taalbaya….
The clashes took place as Condi “birth pang” Rice paid a surprise visit to Lebanon. Death always seems to follow her. According to the AFP:
Rice said she made the trip to “express the United States’ support for Lebanese democracy, for Lebanese sovereignty.”

Tantalus criticized Rice’s incomprehensible support for some of the Lebanese leaders and questioned the actions of some of those leaders for whom she declared the backing of the US government:

Rice, talking to reporters at Ain al-Tineh said Speaker Nabih Berri realizes that he enjoys the backing of the United States.
That's quite confusing for all those who recall that Berri's thugs are the ones who spread the chaos during the fateful days of May 7-21. The Berri-backed Amal sons-of-b*****s threw stones, fired guns, burned tires, talked shit all over the city of Beirut. Was that US-backed too?
How does the US function?

Tears for Lebanon mentioned some of the criticism directed to Rice by some politicians for her treatment of the “March 14 Alliance” as school children:

Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun
on Tuesday criticized U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for
meeting leaders of the March 14 alliance like “students gathered in a
class room.”
However, he emphasized that “one issue remains vague, that is the issue of naturalizing Palestinians in Lebanon.”

Jnoubiyeh posted an article by Franklin Lamb in which he analyzes Rice's visit and in which he states that:

It is likely Ms. Rice's last visit to Lebanon, but not her finale to the region which have averaged roughly one appearance every 9 weeks since assuming her current post. Rice, as with the Bush administration generally, remains hugely unpopular here in Lebanon based partly on her callous remarks: ” it ( the wanton Israeli killing and bombing) are birth pangs of the new Middle East” , “it's too early for a sustainable ceasefire”, “Israel is just exercising its right to self-defense and the United States supports that right”, etc . during the 33 day July 2006 War and her work to delay a ceasefire during the fighting which directly contributed to the more than 1,400 Lebanese killed, 4,500 wounded and massive destruction of Lebanon's infrastructure as well as its economy and environment.

* This article also appears in Global Voices Online.

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