Lebanon Rejects McCain's Scheme For Safe Zones for Syrian Rebels
July 8, 2012 • 11:57AM

Apparently Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), a rabid supporter of military intervention in Syria to overthrow the Bashar al-Assad regime, went to Lebanon July 5-6 to try once more to convince the Lebanese to sponsor safe zones for Syrian rebels inside their country. It's clear that he got a resounding "no." After meeting with Fouad Siniora, the leader of the Mustaqbal bloc in the Lebanese parliament, McCain was forced to "clarify" that he did not mean Lebanon, when he said on July 5 that a safe zone for Syrian rebels had to be created. Indeed.

"McCain's call from Maarab to create a buffer zone in northern Lebanon ... represents a blatant violation of Lebanese sovereignty and a brazen interference in Lebanon's domestic affairs," said Hezbollah in a statement issued yesterday. "This interference totally contradicts with the self-distancing policy declared by the government, which is in the interest of Lebanon and the Lebanese." Hezbollah called on the government "to make Washington understand that Lebanon is neither an American protectorate nor one of the banana republics on which the U.S. administration can dictate its foreign policy."

That McCain was in Lebanon to "dictate" U.S. foreign policy seems likely. Naharnet, quoting several sources, reports that McCain's visit was aimed at holding talks with Lebanese officials on the crisis in Syria. It further reports was last in Lebanon in May when he toured the Lebanese-Syrian border. At roughly the time of that visit, Washington's ambassador to Lebanon was forced to issue similar "clarifications" after Lebanese leaders denounced hers and McCain's proposals to create such a safe-haven in northern Lebanon.