Incompetence Squared

From Holden:

What do you get when you combine an incompetent President with an incompetent Secretary of State?

Super Iran dominating Iraq and Lebanon.

Nearly a year ago, not long after the assassination of Rafik Hariri, who was twice prime minister of Lebanon, Syrian troops withdrew from Lebanon, unleashing a wave of patriotism here that prompted many to say that the Lebanese might finally be able to take control of their destiny.

But the intensity of the moment and the rush of emotions eclipsed at least one important and largely unanswerable question: With Syria gone, or at least its troops gone, who would fill the power vacuum?

At the time, Iran did not appear to be the answer. But that is what is happening, according to government officials, political leaders and political analysts here.

Iran, long a powerful player in Lebanon, has been able to increase its influence, partly through its ties to the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah. That has given Tehran a stronger hand to play in its confrontation with the United States and Europe over its nuclear program.