In his State of the Union Address last night President Obama said:
Recent events have shown us that what sets us apart must not just be our power – it must be the purpose behind it. In South Sudan – with our assistance – the people were finally able to vote for independence after years of war. Thousands lined up before dawn. People danced in the streets. One man who lost four of his brothers at war summed up the scene around him: “This was a battlefield for most of my life. Now we want to be free.”
We saw that same desire to be free in Tunisia, where the will of the people proved more powerful than the writ of a dictator. And tonight, let us be clear: the United States of America stands with the people of Tunisia, and supports the democratic aspirations of all people.
We must never forget that the things we’ve struggled for, and fought for, live in the hearts of people everywhere.
What about Lebanon, Mister President?
Iranian-backed Hezbollah has been busy re-arming its military and thinning the ranks of its heavily Christian, democratically inclined opposition through murder and coercion. Now they have precipitated the collapse of the Lebanese government over the international investigation of the 2005 murder of former prime minister Rafik Hariri, an investigation which they believe (rightly, it seems) will implicate Hezbollah, and perhaps their Syrian and Iranian enablers.
Obama’s non-comment on the Lebanese situation comes after his failure to make any noise of support for the brave souls crushed in Tehran in 2009 after the disputed re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
(You know Iran: that’s the country that just oulawed Valentine’s Day gift giving because the practice is too Western.)
Now Iran, through its Hezbollah minions, is poised to take control of a pro-Western nation, a largely Christian nation, a nation on Israel’s northern border, where in 2006 nearly 38 percent of the population converged on the capital to demonstrate peacefully for freedom from Syrian control of their country. But Obama did not see fit to include it in his discussion of places where the people are fighting for freedom.
Obama mentioned Sudan, Tunisia, and even Iraq as places where freedom from oppression and tyranny has made strides and “we stand with them.” But considering the threat Iran poses to significant allies in the region (and beyond, as they develop their nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities) a few words of rebuke to their puppet-state ambitions would have been significant.
Not sure if he fears provoking Iran or if there are other reasons [*cough* anti-Israel *cough*] but the failure to mention Lebanon and stand with them was an unfortunate lacuna.