Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The Cedar Revolution has arrived!

Lebanon's pro-Syrian PM resigns
Monday, February 28, 2005

BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNN) -- The Lebanese government abruptly resigned Monday during a stormy parliamentary debate, prompting a tremendous roar from tens of thousands of anti-government protesters in central Beirut.

The demonstrators, awash in a sea of red, white and green Lebanese flags, had demanded the pro-Syrian government's resignation -- and the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon -- since this month's assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Demonstrators in Beirut's Martyrs Square chanted, "Syria out! Syria out!" after Prime Minister Omar Karami announced his resignation in a speech aired by the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation.

..."The battle is long, and this is the first step, this is the battle for freedom, sovereignty and independence," Ghattas Khouri told a cheering protest in central Beirut, according to Reuters.

For coverage of the current revolution, see Publius Pundit, LebanonWire, & AccrossTheBay. For an historical overview of Syria's occupation of Lebanon, see LGIC. The page comparing Assad's regime to Saddam Hussain's is particularly interesting.

There are some very positive signd that Syria is buckling under pressure and there have even been some indications from Syrian quarters that a withdrawal will take place in the latter part of this year (this is probably too late for the Lebanese on the street). Other than that, Syria has been accused by Israel of harbouring the terrorist organisation who carried out the Tel Aviv homocide attack over the weekend in an effort to destablise the fledgling PA-Israel ties, and Israeli foreign minister had strong words to say about their unfriendly neighbour.

Syria has also made two drastic steps today which seem to indicate that the regime is struggling to stay afloat. Firstly, "Syria has handed over Saddam Hussein’s half-brother. Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hassan al-Tikriti who is one of the most wanted leaders in Iraq’s Sunni-based Iraqi insurgency" (CBS) [neo: It seems that Syrian Kurds handed him over to their Iraqi brethren - the suggestion is that Syria turned a blind eye or even facilitated it to reduce the pressure it is under]. Secondly, "Syria agreed today to hand back to Jordan a huge tract of land along their border, heralding a new era in ties with Amman after disagreements over the Middle East peace process and US policy in Iraq" (News.com.au). Pretty desperate moves for a hetherto intransigent regime.

We don't think Syria should remain in Lebanon. Their occupation should come to an end...
We should isolate the extremists and empower the moderates... We should isolate the extremists -- that means Syria, Iran, the Hizbollah, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad and at the same try to work together with Egypt, Jordan, Abu Mazen (Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas) the north African countries and the Gulf states.
Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom - LebanonWire

The United States and France also reiterate our call for the full and immediate implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1559. That means that full and immediate withdrawal of all Syrian military and intelligence forces from Lebanon. And it means the consolidation of security responsibilities under the authority of a Lebanese government free from foreign domination.

We strongly believe that the people of Lebanon must have the opportunity to make their own political choices, without threats of violence and intimidation. They must have the opportunity to chart their own course through free and fair parliamentary elections this spring, bolstered by an international observer presence prior to and during the elections.

Joint Statement by The United States and France on Lebanon, Department of State - Office of the Spokesman, March 01 2005 - AccrossTheBay

The Cedar Revolution

The Cedar Revolution

The Cedar Revolution


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