The assassination Dec. 27 of a technocrat and former finance minister by a car bomb in a swanky part of the city called into question the rules of the sordid political game that has come to dominate Lebanon's life.
For Fouad Ajami's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
With its guns and money, the U.S. has suspended the feuds of Afghanistan. When the Americans truly pack up their gear, the hard truth of that country will win out.
The Sunni jihad in Syria has come to Beirut, and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and his Iranian masters have to accept that this is the war they made.
The Kurds can't erase all the hurts of their modern history and those who choose to stay in Syria remain embattled, yet the isolation that had been their lot is now fading fast.
A Lebanese scholar admits being taken by surprise at the tide of Egyptian "liberalism" now calling for the excision of the Muslim Brotherhood as if it were a cancer.
Now into their third year of grief, with 2 million people in refugee camps, the Syrians know better than to expect deliverance from the pre-eminent Western power.
The winds should have been favorable for new President Mohamed Morsi after the "last pharaoh" was deposed a year ago. Instead, Egypt is socially divided.
The car bombs that killed more than 40 people on May 11 in a town in southern Turkey are a reckoning for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Civilizational battles were once waged by warriors who donned garments of different lands. Today it is boys with baseball caps who carry death in their backpacks.
The men who fought in Vietnam, a war that symbolizes America's overreach and failures abroad, haven't ascended to the presidency in the way that the World War II generation did. But now, under President Barack Obama, Vietnam veterans Chuck Hagel and John Kerry could ...