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Biden's Advice

11:52 AM, Jul 28, 2006 • By DANIEL MCKIVERGAN
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Today's Wall Street Journal has an interesting piece, "Split Among Arab-Americans Curbs Political Clout." It notes.:

Many Lebanese exiles and their families complain that Arab-American advocacy groups focus disproportionately on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to the exclusion of all other concerns…. Many Lebanese-Americans were infuriated when an Arab-American delegation led by a senior official [from the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee, one of the largest such groups in the U.S.] visited Damascus in late February, just as the United Nations had begun considering measures demanding that Mr. Assad end Syria's occupation of Lebanon.

‘The Syrians killed more Lebanese in one month in 1978 that Israeli has done in 30 years of war, but these big groups appear to believe that it's OK for one Arab country to invade another Arab country and abuse people there,' says Joseph Hage, a wine merchant in Miami whose American Lebanese Coordination Council is an organizer of today's event [on Capitol Hill].

All this brings me to Sen. Joe Biden's Boston Globe piece today on what to do in Lebanon. He makes some good tactical suggestions but has little to say on the real problem in the region. He notes:

A remarkable confluence of views -- and interests -- can be the foundation for this effort. Not just the United States and Israel, but the European powers, Russia, and the Sunni Arabs all hold Hezbollah and its patrons in Syria and Iran responsible for the breach of the peace….

So what does the senator suggest to deal with those "responsible for the breach of the peace"? Call for Security Council-imposed sanctions on Damascus for its role in undermining Resolution 1559 and for obstructing the investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri? Ask that the Council hold Tehran accountable for undermining 1559 and for continuing its uranium enrichment efforts? Spotlight the unhelpful role Russia and China have played on the Security Council in holding Tehran and Damascus (and Khartoum for that matter) accountable for their actions? Not a chance.

As to Syria, Biden writes, "Egypt and Saudi Arabia can bring pressure to bear on Damascus." On Iran, Biden says, "We lack a comprehensive dialogue with Iran," which I presume means the U.S. should hold direct talks with the regime. That's it. If this is Sen. Biden's plan to hold Syria and Iran "responsible" for promoting "proxy wars," I suspect officials in Damascus and Tehran would welcome a Biden presidency.