Jeff Feltman Delivers his Annual Yuletide Gifts to Lebanon
Over the past few years, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman has sledded into Lebanon bearing gifts during the Yuletide season more regularly than Santa Clause. Yet, as happened yesterday, he somehow manages to finish his gift giving and lift off to continue his rounds as The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.
I began thinking that one useful gift he could deliver to me personally would be to sign off on plans for this year's US Embassy Christmas Party and invite, well, moi. The US Embassy Christmas Party is a fun and festive event from which Jeffrey banned this observer during part of his 2004-8 tenure as US Ambassador. Telling his then vice-consul in 2007, "Lamb can celebrate Christmas with those elements he associates with, plus he can't carry a tune and he messes up, my favorite (Christmas) Carol, (ed: which just like mine happens to be: "Oh Little Town of Bethlehem!"). So now each year I must sing along with Bing Crosby via a real spotty Internet connection, since Lebanon ranks 183rd out of 203 countries, just behind Afghanistan and Sudan, in the worlds ranking as slowest internet.
Someone who knows Jeff fairly well, told this observer that ever since the former Saad Hariri March 14th government, still commonly referred to as "Feltmans Government," in some Lebanese neighborhoods including mine, was ousted and forced into opposition last year, Feltman has been in a bit of a snit regarding Lebanon.
His mood was not helped much the other day when, as his bad luck would have it, the day before he arrived from Jordan, his arch nemesis, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah shocked Washington and Tel Aviv, while thrilling Resistance supporters in Lebanon and around the region, by appearing in person at this year's Rayah Field Ashoura gathering, near my apartment and commemorating the 7th Century martyrdom at Karbala of Ibn Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).