Edelman, a former defense undersecretary, said U.S. efforts to help the
Lebanese military did not prevent Beirut's domination by Iran and Syria. He
said Washington used the same methods to influence Lebanon in 2005 as it did
in its first failed effort in 1982.
"While the Syrian and Iranian governments quickly provided the terrorist
group Hizbullah with sophisticated weaponry, the U.S. commitment to devote
more than half a billion dollars to rapidly train and equip the Lebanese
Armed Forces languished in the ponderous machinery of statecraft," the
report said. "Despite the clear urgency in Lebanon, it took until the fall
of 2006 for the first materiel to arrive in Beirut."
Still, U.S. support was said to have saved the Lebanese government
during the Al Qaida takeover of a Palestinian refugee camp in 2007. The
report said Washington sent more than 40 C-130s to delivery military
equipment within a few weeks, which turned the tide against the Islamist
The report said the administration of then-President George Bush missed
its chance to help Lebanon when it decided against undermining Syria.
Instead, Washington began to engage Iran and Syria in an effort to stabilize
neighboring Iraq and Damascus reasserted its role in Lebanon.
"During this period, Washington, torn by internal dissension over Syrian
policy and undermined by unhelpful interventions by Turkey and Israel, was
never able to bring sufficient pressure to bear on Damascus," the report
said. "Syria's few allies during this period included the Iranians and North
Koreans, neither of whom had international credibility."
By 2008, the pro-Western ruling coalition in Lebanon, called March 14,
began to crumble in face of Hizbullah pressure. But the United States
refused to intervene militarily and save the Beirut government from Iran and
Under President Barack Obama, the report said, Washington has replaced
confrontation with reconciliation toward Damascus and Teheran. Despite
continued U.S. military aid, Washington's interest in Lebanon appeared to
fade as Syria became the focus of the administration.
"Although the Obama administration remains committed to a policy of
outreach and engagement with Damascus, it has little to show for its efforts
in the region," the report said. "At some point, the pressure track will
once again appear to offer the only real hope of altering Syria's mischief