Did a US-Syrian deal make Suleiman the candidate of choice? Did March 14 capitulate? Wrong questions and conclusions for two reasons:
First, this isn't about the United States, and what it can do for Lebanon. This has always been about what the Lebanese can do for themselves. Sadly, after two years of patchwork politics, it turned out the Lebanese, March 14 included, are not capable of much. Last month, those in March 14 banking or counting on American and European support in their defensive fight against Syrian aggression, realized that at the end of the day, as Kouchner repeatedly reminded them, they were on their own. The best they could get was a president elected through a majority vote, enjoying international support but ruling over something that resembles Somalia. It was Jumblatt, now grudgingly promoting the "Better Suleiman than Chaos" solution, who said Lebanese democracy cannot survive with a regime like Assad's acting with impunity. We, Lebanese, who placed hope in March 14 leaders, even as we berated them every time we felt they strayed from the right path, knew all along that the battle against the Assad regime was not a battle between equals. The coalition that was born after the Hariri assassination had the odds stacked against it from the start. This isn't Middle Earth. This is the Middle East.
Second, the real battle was never about the presidency. Note that even after March 14 accepted Suleiman as a lone candidate, the other camp is still demanding "guarantees". The real issues have always been Hizbullah's weapons, the Hariri tribunal and the latter's implications on the Assad regime. A Suleiman presidency may comfort the Assad regime, but it will not change the parliament's majority. If anything, it might reinvigorate parliament, unless March 14 is stupid enough to offer more concessions. In other words, the Assad regime has not won. Not yet.
March 14's greatest mistake was to let its opponents neutralize their weapons: the parliament's majority, and the cabinet. Both institutions were made ineffective, thanks to Nabih Berri and March 14's own mistakes. The climax was made to be the presidential election, but March 14 found itself close to a rushed and costly resolution.
It is not over yet. We have not reached the end, and the battle has not been lost. You and I may not have faith in those leading the fight. But this is Lebanon, folks. And as someone once said, your glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time you fall.
That said, it is time for some of us to stop equating "March 14" with our vision for Lebanon. Our country never had the revolution that Bush said we had, and that we believed we had. If it did happen, it only lasted a day. Suleiman cannot end what has not started. The onus is on those who on March 14th, 2005 believed they walked for independence, to generate a true revolution.