Michael J. Totten has an excellent piece up on his new blog over at World Affairs. Here’s a snippet:

Lebanon broke my heart.

I witnessed the country’s rebirth during the Beirut Spring in 2005, when citizens mounted a peaceful revolution against Syria’s suffocating military occupation, and I witnessed its whimpering end when Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah struck back.

While the Arab Spring of 2011 toppled tyrants in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, and we have seen brave souls continue protesting against the brutal Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria, Lebanon’s Cedar Revolution was really the first, and it came six years earlier. It took place in the one Arab country that already had a history of free and fair elections and representative government, but the revolution was still too weak to stick. By early 2011, Syria and Iran were back in the saddle. They don’t govern the country directly, but they control all of Lebanon’s foreign and internal security policies through their local proxies, the most powerful and notorious of which is Hezbollah.

That the radical Islamists of the Party of God—what Hizb Allah means in Arabic—can subvert a popular, nonviolent, people-powered movement in a relatively liberal country like Lebanon demonstrates that even the most tolerant and progressive parts of the Arab world are still places where the ruthless prevail. Read the rest