I realized during my recent trip to the United States how many American sisters and brothers are sincerely concerned for Lebanon and particularly for the situation of Lebanese Christians. At the same time, I also noticed the confusion over the complexities of the current situation.

Since December 1, 2006, the Lebanese opposition movement has been campaigning and camping in downtown Beirut, next to the office of the Prime Minister, calling for an expansion of the Lebanese cabinet to include more Christian representation and for early parliamentary elections. The opposition movement could represent more than half of the Lebanese population. Two major Lebanese groups lead it: Hezbollah, which is Shiite, and the Free Patriotic Movement, which is Christian. Other groups in the opposition include the Islamic Call Front, the Maradat (A Christian Maronite party of northern Lebanon), and a faction of Druze.

Prime Minister Fouad Siniora has insisted that the street is not the place to make cabinet changes and, with local and international backing, remains with his cabinet in office even after the resignation of several Shiite ministers and a Christian minister.

It seems to me that the real issue is lack of trust on both sides. The opposition believes that the present government did not handle the summer 2006 war or its consequences well, so it cannot be trusted to handle the future of Lebanon. Also, Lebanese citizens are facing many hardships, which the opposition feels are mainly due to corruption and mismanagement in the present government. The loyalists (the present cabinet and its supporters) feel that the opposition is carrying an Iranian-Syrian agenda, while the opposition feels that the loyalists are carrying an American-French ...

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