Obama's Challenge

He wasn't the decisive factor by any means in the Lebanon election and is only peripheral in Iran's. But he is already capitalizing on the former, as Fred Kaplan notes:

Since Hezbollah's defeat in Lebanon, U.S. diplomats have been pouring into Syria. Middle East envoy George Mitchell, the officers of Central Command, a congressional delegationall are in, or on their way to, Damascus, not in a supine position (as might have been the case had Hezbollah won) but simply ready to commence businesslike relationsto do, in short, what many had urged Bush to do for years: lure Syria away from its ties with Iran, a step that could tilt the balance of power in the region.