His First Clue

Reuters says that the United States and France are of one mind on Lebanon:

France and the United States worked together to oust Syria from Lebanon and, despite tactical differences due to divergent agendas in the region, they agree who is to blame for the current crisis — Hizbollah.

The born-again allies, their rift over Iraq a thing of the past, want to isolate and disarm the Shi’ite Muslim group, whose backers Iran and Syria underscore the wider strategic issues at play in the latest round of Middle East conflict.

That overstates the case, I think; Jacques Chirac has denounced Israel’s effort to clear Hezbollah from southern Iran as “aberrant” and called for an immediate cease fire. But this is what I really want to comment on:

Commentators agree the assassination of President Jacques Chirac’s friend Rafik al-Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister killed by a car bomb in February 2005 blamed on pro-Syrian agents, abruptly changed the French leader’s view of Hizbollah.

So let’s see: since they killed his friend Hariri, Chirac views Hezbollah as a pack of murdering, terrorist thugs. Whereas before, he thought they were…what, exactly?

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