The Agony of Victory

By reuniting Beirut, Syria's Hafez Assad is the first clear-cut winner of the gulf crisis. The Lebanese may not fare as well.

On the road leading up to the presidential palace, former headquarters of renegade General Michel Aoun, Lebanese army soldiers sat proudly last week atop hundreds of Soviet-made T-54 tanks, savoring the defeat of the mutinous general. Their presence testified to the Lebanese government's new hold on Beirut, but the symbolism was illusory. Beneath the Lebanese paper flags that the troops plastered on the tanks' turrets were Syrian army markings. The Lebanese soldiers were only window dressing, for the T-54s had been manned by Syrian troops in the offensive that dislodged Aoun two weeks ago.

The Persian Gulf crisis remains unresolved, but...

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