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The Intuition of the Lebanese

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In London's clubs and at private dinners, parties local and transient visiting participants of the three important, elite gatherings (the World Economic Forum Davos, Munich Security Conference, and Herzliya Conference) compared notes. Some of them had all three meetings behind them. Almost all of them returned more worried than they had been.

The Greek crisis is an historical event that clouds the future of the Eurozone. Iran and its cynical game with the West confuses the discordant Europeans more than ever and thus the cunning re-armer in Tehran gains time for rearmament. After all, there is nothing new in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. America's policy of mediation has made less progress than even skeptics considered possible. For England's Euro-skeptics, the "Greek tragedy" proves the case for its refusal to join the Eurozone.

There is disagreement and confusion over the Iran question amongst the Europeans and the great powers. Until recently, it was still possible to comfort oneself that the uranium enrichment process could both be delayed and more controlled, as Russia and France would monitor the process on their own territory. Suddenly, Ahmadinejad has decided to carry it out in Iran and to increase the percentage from 3.5 to 20. The Israelis are unshakable in their opinion that Tehran strives for the immediate production of nuclear bombs and rockets by any means possible. They see in Iran's tactics definite proof that Iran hopes to mislead the West and to distract from the Iran question by igniting further trouble spots in the Middle East.

Adding to the various rumors that there could be new openings in the labyrinth of relationships between Lebanon, Syria and the Hezbollah movement on the one hand, and Israel on the other, emissaries from third-party countries conducted important background talks and the White House has put out feelers in various directions; there is counter-information that the alliance between Tehran, Damascus and the terror groups of Hamas and Hezbollah is stronger than ever.

The Lebanese have a finely-tuned instinct for political intrigue of this kind and it is a fact that Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, even though his father was murdered by secret agents on Syria's orders, is making advances towards Damascus. Turkey's rapprochement with Syria and Iran, aloofness towards the US and the clear change of course in the previously tight military and political relationship with Israel points toward a massive weakening of America's role as a super power and protector in the Middle East. Therefore, new alliances are being forged and old conflicts are being overcome.