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Friday, March 18, 2005

The Syrians Slip Away

This David Ignatius column in the Washington Post about the Syrians, especially the moukhabarat, leaving Beirut along with a brief history of political assassinations in Lebanon is for the most part very good. I did notice a couple of unusual things though.:

The Syrians officially have left Beirut, retreating over the mountains toward the Syrian border. But a few secret operatives undoubtedly are still in the city. And, according to the Reuters news agency, 8,000 to 10,000 Syrian troops remain in the Bekaa Valley in eastern Lebanon. They won't leave without continued, unyielding international pressure. Lebanon has been too rich a prize. And if Syria can't fight its political battles in Lebanon any longer, those feuds may come home -- and tear apart Syria's own fragile stability.
He says that like it's a bad thing. That's a feature not a bug in my opinion. While my ideal solution is a peaceful transition for the entire region (and everyone gets a pony too!) I would prefer some serious chaos followed by a democracy to 'stability.' This bit here seems to leave something out as well:
The brazen murder of Hariri finally broke the curtain of fear and silence. Lebanese braved Syrian troops and marched in the streets by the thousands, in effect reclaiming their capital. Their message was simple: We aren't afraid of you anymore. We would rather die than keep living like this.
While this is very true, as an isolated incident I don't the 'brazen murder of Hariri' alone explains why the curtain of fear and silence has been broken. There is the unavoidable fact that they have witnessed the bravery displayed in Iraq and the Ukraine as well. The idea that yes, the people can resist those who would use violence to control them. And I think the rhetoric of the U.S. President, and the knowledge that if Syria goes to far America might intervene plays a big part as well.


Blogger Greg said...

How exciting: the prospect of chaos in Syria! I'm with you on this one!

3/22/2005 09:21:00 AM  

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