Saturday, September 09, 2006
Shiite Muslim villagers welcome Lebanese army troops by throwing rice and rose petals on them as they deploy in the southern Lebanese port of Bayadah, near the border with Israel.
Shiite villagers are cheering on an army that did not have the institutional stones to move into southern Lebanon until Israel did a lot of damage, both to Hezbollah and the region's capital stock. It seems to me that this is awfully generous and forgiving of the Shiites who should wonder why the army did not even try to protect them from either Israel or Hezbollah. Perhaps the Shiites' joy is more a reflection of resentment or fear of Hezbollah than a new affection for the national army. It certainly is nice to think so.
I'll second that emotion, Grump. We're not adept at reading the Arab Street. I recall a small window of time when US troops in Iraq were greeted favorably. It looked promising but quickly faded. Pessimism is always a healthy starting point in evaluting ME developments.