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The Clock Ticks for Lebanon

The battle lines are drawn and the clock ticks in the crisis in Lebanon, where a bitterly and evenly split parliament cannot agree on a compromise president.

The impasse has created a tense standoff between the US-supported March 14 block, which forms the backbone of the Government, and the pro-Syrian opposition, each waiting for the other to make the first move.

The March 14 block, which holds a wafer-thin majority in parliament, has threatened to elect a president drawn from its own ranks if no consensus candidate was found. The move could spur the Opposition to form a rival government and take public action such as seizing government buildings.

Wiam Wahhab, a senior member of the Opposition, told The Times that the election of a March 14 president would be “answered on the ground”.

“Which ever side is the strongest will win,” he said.

The "Opposition" is, of course, Hizballah, backed monetarily and militarily by Iran and Syria. The March 14 Cedar Revolution has no such military backers in any tangible sense.

And as the clock ticks toward midnight, tension is high.

With Hizballah and their Syrian and Iranian life lines anxious to decide things according to their strength (armed conflict in the streets), the situation could be grim in relatively short order.

The next 48 hours will be crucial.

Also see from the Washington Post: From Hopeful To Helpless At a Protest In Lebanon.