Wednesday, February 16, 2005

America's Road to Damascus Might Pass Via Beirut

More on the Hariri assassination from Lee Smith in Slate. Again, the expanded US presence in the region is a powerful catalyst for change. What was that you were saying about the Arab street?
"The Lebanese opposition has materialized now largely in response to American and European pressure. It's an index of how bad Syria really is that President Bashar Assad's regime got the United States and France to agree on policy, as they did with 2004's U.N. Security Resolution 1559, demanding that Syria withdraw its troops from Lebanon immediately. And yet, arguably, what has most emboldened Lebanese opposition figures is the presence of U.S. forces on the Syrian border in Iraq.

Opposition leaders grabbed at the main chance when they saw how furious Washington was with Assad's continued support of the insurgency in Iraq. The White House has been threatening Syria for some time now and upped the ante by making the regime's occupation of Lebanon a high and very public priority in its Middle East policy."