Lebanon Pays High Price to Avert Civil War
Deal achieves short-term peace, but strengthens Hezbollah
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted May 22, 2008 9:15 AM CDT
A picture of Syrian president Bashar Assad hangs on a building as a Lebanese man hangs a picture of army chief, Gen. Michel Suleiman in Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, May 22, 2008.    (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
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(Newser) – The agreement that ended Lebanon's 18-month political crisis is nothing less than a sea change for the country, writes the Washington Post, strengthening Hezbollah and dealing a blow to America and its Middle East allies. The US-backed government in Beirut said that the last-minute deal averted a civil war, but gives Hezbollah many of its demands—including a veto over any cabinet decision.

Since the 2005 assassination of PM Rafiq al-Hariri, Lebanon has been beset by troubles, from war with Israel to Hezbollah sacking West Beirut. Yesterday's deal was greeted enthusiastically by Iran and Syria and cautiously by the US. "We may have made compromises and we may have lost something, but it's better than losing everything and Lebanon losing everything." said one Beirut resident.