Producer Susan Lund informs me that we've spoken with Rami Khouri twenty-one times over the past four years, but usually on a phone line from his office in Beirut. He is the Editor-at-Large of The Daily Star - which is published throughout the Middle East - and is the Director of the Islam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut. In the spirit of full disclosure, I have a family connection there. My father once ran the Medical School at AUB, and I was born in the AUB hospital. My family also has connections to Syracuse University, which Rami attended, and it turns out that we're both devoted fans of the New York Yankees.
He's just finishing a stint as a visiting scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Institute here in DC, and we're taking the opportunity to invite him into the studio for a longer conversation about Lebanon in particular and the Middle East in general; the challenge that Hezbollah represents to the Lebanese state and to American policy, and the ways that the obvious demographic, ethnic and religious divisions in Lebanon mirror less obvious divides in other Arab states.
And, of course, the dismal view from third place.