The success of Prime Minister Najib Mikati in forming a government, where his predecessor-designate Saad Hariri had failed after trying for months to craft a political deal with Hezbollah, marks a clear tilt toward Damascus.
A healthy majority of people in Lebanon continue to reject the sectarian, clannish, and quasi-tribal order of Lebanese politics, and the US should use Global Magnitsky sanctions against the country’s corrupt rulers.
While a transition to a democratic federal government would not serve as a remedy for all of Lebanon’s woes, by using Nigeria as a template, policymakers may find that the federal model presents the best possible solution to limit Hezbollah’s influence and ease ethnic and religious divides.
If the West remains interested in promoting pluralism in the Middle East and preserving one of the oldest Christian communities in the world, it must turn its eyes to Lebanon and provide suitable alternatives to Chinese intervention. Failure to do so could be a crucial and catastrophic mistake.