So does she think Hizballah is no longer a terrorist organization, or never was? Does she think Hassan Nasrallah’s shouts of “Death to America” serve the interests of the United States?
“Rice Visit Signals Support for Power Deal in Lebanon,” by Robert F. Worth for the New York Times, June 17 (thanks to Ruth King):
BEIRUT, Lebanon “” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made a surprise visit to Lebanon on Monday, the first by a senior American official since an agreement last month that handed decisive new powers to Hezbollah, the militant Shiite group that the United States considers a terrorist organization.
Ms. Rice met with government leaders from both the government majority and the Hezbollah-led opposition, signaling her support for a compromise that appears to have stabilized the country “” at least for the short term “” even as it delivered another setback to American allies in the region.
“Congratulations,” Ms. Rice said as she shook hands with President Michel Suleiman, the former army chief who took office last month, filling a post that had been vacant for six months. “We are all just very supportive of your presidency and your government.”
Mr. Suleiman became president as part of a power-sharing agreement reached with the help of Arab mediators in Doha, Qatar, that many saw as a triumph for Hezbollah. The militant group gained veto power over cabinet decisions as part of the deal, something it had sought during 18 months of political deadlock. That breakthrough came after a week of bloody street battles in May, during which Hezbollah briefly seized control of the capital and humiliated its American-backed political rivals in the government majority.
Asked by reporters if the Doha agreement had been a defeat for the United States, Ms. Rice gave a diplomatic answer. Before the Doha agreement, American officials had urged the government majority not to make concessions to Hezbollah and its allies in the opposition.
“Obviously, in any compromise, there are compromises,” she said. “But this was an agreement that I think served the interests of the Lebanese people. And since it serves the interests of the Lebanese people, it serves the interests of the United States.”