The Harriri effect
As i wrote here before, it seemed like Syria bit more then it could chew when it assassinated Rafiq Harriri, in an attempt to call the US on its bluff regarding Bush's support for democracy. I also said that the one thing they didn't count on is the effect Harriti's death had on the lebanese people and that it might be their own undoing. Some people got skeptical about what i said and didn't think anything would really change in lebanon. A lot of people cynically seemd to agree with that point of view, and i almost joined them, until i saw this article in the Middle East Times: Taboos were broken and fears abandoned in Lebanon on February 28. Two weeks after the assassination of Lebanon's former prime minister Rafiq Al Hariri in a powerful bomb explosion in Beirut, the Lebanese opposition scored a major victory when Prime Minister Omar Karami, in a surprise move, announced the resignation of his pro-Syrian 30-member cabinet. "Out of eagerness that the government will not be an obstacle in front of those who want the good for this country, I declare the resignation of the government that I had the honor to head. May God preserve Lebanon," Karami said during an extraordinary session of parliament, which convened under pressures from the opposition to discuss Hariri's assassination. You wanna know what effect this resignation had on the lebanese people? Opposition parliamentarians and thousands of demonstrators gathering near the parliament building in Beirut's downtown area greeted the news with cheers and applause. The grim mood that had permeated the country since Hariri's brutal killing on February 14 turned into joy. More than 20,000 protestors who defied a government ban against demonstrations and flocked to Martyr Square in downtown Beirut since Monday night, waved red and white Lebanese flags as they hugged and kissed. "Your turn will come Lahoud," shouted some protestors, referring to Lebanese President Emile Lahoud, whose mandate was extended an additional three years last September under pressure from Syria. Others turned against Syria and screamed: "Syria, get out." A pretty typical and expected response from an occupied group of people, don't you think? Feeling the pressure and fearing an uprising from the lebanese people, Syria started to kiss some International community ass. First it arrested Sadam's half brother and now they are talking about a timetable to move out of lebanon. Syria expects to withdraw its troops from Lebanon in a few months, President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview published on Tuesday. "It (withdrawal) should be very soon and maybe in the next few months. Not after that. I can't give you a technical answer. The point is the next few months," he told Time magazine. Why is that again Bashar? In the interview posted on Time's Web site, Assad would not give a definite timetable for pulling out his army, saying it depended on technical, rather than political, considerations. Hmm, like what? "You need to prepare when you bring your army back to your country. You need to prepare where you will put the troops," Assad said. He said security in Lebanon and the protection of Syria's own borders needed to be taken into consideration. "There are two factors. The first is security in Lebanon ... The second thing, which is related to Syria, is that after withdrawing we have to protect our border." So, this has nothing to do with the 2 million syrians working in lebanon for cheap, mooching of the lebanese economy and causing the massive unemployment among the lebanese people now does it? Hmm, riiight! Anyway, this is good news, and the lebanese people working in the US whom i have met all seem to agree that it is. It seems that i was right. who knew?