Lebanon 'Obama Effect' Overrated

A heavy Christian turnout at the polls in Lebanon brought the country’s Western-backed coalition back to power in parliament on Sunday, thwarting the country’s Islamist party. Though news that Iran and Syria-backed group Hezbollah, which the U.S. considers a terrorist organization, lost the elections is heartening for the West, Newsweek’s Christopher Dickey argues that the loss had more to do with complex Lebanese politics than U.S. influence. Obama’s Mideast speech might have had some impact, but Lebanese Christians ultimately ousted Hezbollah because an Iranian or Syrian endorsement doesn’t look attractive to a country that often serves as a battleground for the bigger nations. Syria is also widely blamed for the death of the father of a Sunni Muslim politician who leads one of Lebanon’s political coalitions. Hezbollah lost a big portion of both the Sunni and Christian vote, leaving just the Shiites as supporters.