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June 5th, 2009
05:18 PM ET

Lebanon voting at a crossroads

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/06/02/lebanon.pre.vote/art.flags.afp.gi.jpg caption="A rally for Hezbollah supporters with yellow flags and their allies, the Free Patriotic Movement in Beirut."]

Octavia Nasr
CNN Senior Editor, Middle East Affairs

Lebanon's parliamentary elections will determine which path the country will take in the next four years - the direction of Islamic militancy and closer ties to countries such as Iran and Syria, or a route to more westernization and openness.

A rally for Hezbollah supporters with yellow flags and their allies, the Free Patriotic Movement in Beirut.

The results will undoubtedly dictate the course for the entire Middle East. Will the region remain steadfast in the face of an Iranian growing influence and stature or will the threat of a Shiite spread create new hostilities, conflicts and even redraw some maps?

Whatever the election results in Lebanon, they will set the stage and tone for the new U.S. administration in its attempt to change its image in a troubled ever-changing Middle East.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Global 360° • Middle East • Octavia Nasr
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. J.V.Hodgson

    Sorry to be boring, but an interesting article I read today said that the cause of the Islamic distrust of America lies basically in
    1) The freemarket economy overriding individual interests or those individual interests being subservient to the market economy.
    2) Whereas, Islamic faith through the Qu'ran places primacy on the collective individuals right to peace and harmony and Market economics must ensure they meet the criteria of achieving that before being acceptable.
    I see a lot of truth in this, and it certainly explains why the two top guys at Al Qaeda say Obama's speech meant nothing to them.
    Bottom line trying to enforce western culture and values ( morals even) law style and governance style, and western style freemarket economics is anathema to most Muslims and exacerbates or increases the numbers of " extremist Islamic views".
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    June 8, 2009 at 12:57 am |
  2. Mike in NYC

    The welcome rolling-up of Israeli collaborators in Lebanon is a sign of political change to come, the outcome of the elections notwithstanding.

    Also, much of what is touted as "westernization" is seen by many in the Moslem world, and elsewhere, as moral rot, and rightly so. Culturally speaking, the West is sinking; hence the reluctance of many to tether themselves to that ship.

    June 5, 2009 at 7:38 pm |