Report, Electronic Lebanon, 29 March 2008
"BEIRUT, 28 March 2008 (IRIN) - A boycott by Lebanon and major Arab powers of the Arab summit in Damascus (29-30 March) has dashed hopes for a last-ditch settlement of the Lebanese presidential crisis, raising fears of a descent into violence after it passes.
Political turmoil in Lebanon has often been the precursor to regional conflict and serious humanitarian problems in the past......
Ahmad Moussalli, a political science professor at the American University of Beirut, said the fractured summit marked the death of an Arab League initiative aimed at electing a president, redistributing cabinet seats and paving the way for parliamentary elections next year.....
"Somewhere it's going to explode"
Lurking behind the Arab isolation of Syria are US-Iran tensions, the analysts said, with Syria paying the price for being the only major Arab player allied to Teheran, which Washington accuses of sponsoring terrorism and attempting to acquire nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
"I think this could be the beginning of the death of the Arab League. Now we will see more the crystallization of alliances with the two major players in the region, the United States and Iran," said Moussalli.
Moussalli said the regional rift so graphically illustrated by the split over the Arab summit could blow up in Iraq, the Palestinian territories or Lebanon.
"Somewhere it's going to explode -- Lebanon seems a very likely place -- and push the players either to go to war or reach a settlement. As things seem now, there is likely to be no settlement.""