Worried About A Damascus Washington Rapprochement? You Needn’t Be

By The Beirut Spring

Hillary Clinton is getting out of her way to allay Lebanese fears over an American Syrian dialogue.

Look carefully: Thats two fingers

Bummer. It turns out Hillary Clinton is just Like George W. Bush after all. Or so it must be what’s going through the heads of the Iranians and the Syrians right now. The “axis of evil” states are suddenly coming to the realization that President Obama won’t be so cuddly after all.

How could the Iranians not be concerned, as they watch America’s top diplomat all but ignore their darling Hamas while showering cash and praise on their nemesis Mahmood Abbas, the President of the Palestinian authority? How could they not be queasy as they watch Hillary’s chumminess with the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a man they worked so hard with their proxies to discredit..

Not that things are better for the Syrians. Bashar El Assad thought that he was hearing great news: Two top washington officials are to be dispatched for talks. Finally, they’re talking to us! He must have thought. But then came the shocker: One of the two is Jeffrey Feltman. Yes, that Jeffrey Feltman, the same “Godfather” of the Lebanese Cedar Revolution, the man who worked hard to kick them out of their cherished Lebanon. How could anything good come out of that man?

You see, this is the American way of telling the Lebanese: Don’t worry, we got your back. And just in case you still don’t get the message, or are still in anyway concerned about a deal that will sell you out, Feltman and Shapiro will visit Beirut twice: Once before heading to Syria and once after coming back. They will also have dinner with M.P. Saad Hariri, a man whose movement attacks Syria anytime it gets the chance to.

Add to that a sprinkle of symbolism for the most die-hard of conspiracists: American officials made it clear that the visit “Will not take place on March 8″, the date in which hundreds of thousands of Pro-Syrians marched in Beirut in 2005. Ahh, the Fletman effect has begun…

In other words, while many Arab and Iranian commentators will fret about how America “still doesn’t get it”, the Lebanese should try -for a change- to shelve their paranoia.

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Tarek is the founder and chief researcher at Youngberry, a youth research and marketing firm dedicated to the region. Tarek founded interactiveME.com and previously worked as Manager at Flip Media (Interactive Agency), Bayt.com (Job Site) and Consulting House Qatar (Consulting firm). He is researcher and writer on internet & disruptive innovation, entrepreneurship, and youth culture.