By Viktor Kotsev, Asia Times Online, May 24, 2012
The Syrian infection is spreading. Whether Lebanon will be fully set aflame by the violence in its northern neighbor is as difficult to answer as who precisely started the clashes which engulfed at least two Lebanese cities over the past week.
Regardless, the chaos in both countries is growing, and the United Nations peace plan for Syria (dubbed the "Kofi Annan plan" after the former UN secretary general who spearheads the initiative) has practically collapsed [....]
Iran Is Seeking Lebanon Stake as Syria Totters
By Neil MacFarquhar, New York Times, May 24/25, 2012
[....] “By the same means that we got weapons and other stuff, money came as well,” the Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, exclaimed to roars of approval from the crowd. “All of this has been achieved through Iranian money!”
Iran’s eagerness to shower money on Lebanon when its own finances are being squeezed by sanctions is the latest indication of just how worried Tehran is at the prospect that Syria’s leader, Bashar al-Assad, could fall. Iran relies on Syria as its bridge to the Arab world, and as a crucial strategic partner in confronting Israel. But the Arab revolts have shaken Tehran’s calculations, with Mr. Assad unable to vanquish an uprising that is in its 15th month [....]
Syria’s neighbors are growing restless
By David Ignatius, Washington Post, May 23, 2012
The Middle East sometimes resembles a string of detonators wired to explode together — and this seems especially true now of Syria and its neighbors.
There is political instability nearby in Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon, as the Arab uprising moves through its second year. In each of these countries, the leadership maintains power in a balancing act. Only Turkey, with its triad of a strong economy, army and political leadership, seems genuinely stable.
Fear of blowing up the region — and spawning even more Sunni-Shiite sectarian war — is one reason the Obama administration has refused to arm the Syrian opposition [....]