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Rantings of a Sandmonkey

Be forewarned: The writer of this blog is an extremely cynical, snarky, pro-US, secular, libertarian, disgruntled sandmonkey. If this is your cup of tea, please enjoy your stay here. If not, please sod off

Sunday, March 13, 2005

The more things change...

So lately i have been feeling kind of down by the news from Lebanon. First Hezbollah shows it's true allegiance by organizing a huge rally that supports the syrian presence in Lebanon- with a big chunck of the protesters being Syrian by the way- which people interpert as a sign that the majority in Lebanon don't want Syria out, something i proved to be false and misleading here. But here they were, another arab demonatsration where they were burning another american flag. It might have been why i liked the Anti-syrian demonstrations; they were setting flags on fire that were not the USA kind. I didn't even know that other flags burned! Then, based on the public perception of support, the Pro-syria puppets in the Parliment with the urging of Lahoud reappointed Omar Karami back as Prime Minister. It seemd like the song stayed the same and that until the next elections in May, there might be a stalemate when it comes to Syria withdrawing from Lebanon and the bringing to Justice whomever killed Rafiq El Harriri. Then i read this Article by Thomas L. Friedman and i kinda regained my positive outlook on things. You know, just a little. So i figured i might as well share with y'all. Here is the money shot: The fact that Hezbollah had to resort to a mass rally, just like the Lebanese democracy movement's, is itself a victory for the democrats. Hezbollah clearly felt that it must prove it is as popular a force as the democratic opposition. But something tells me that those Hezbollah demonstrators who were waving the picture of Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad, were uncomfortable. And this is Hezbollah's weak spot: deep down, it and its supporters know that when they raise the pictures of Syria's president, they are raising the question of whose interests they have at heart. If democracy in Lebanon is going to re-emerge in a reasonably stable way, Lebanese democratic forces have to constantly be inviting Hezbollah to join them. After all, Hezbollah represents an important and powerful trend among Lebanon's Shiites, most of whom are patriots eager to see Lebanon independent and united. At the same time, though, the Lebanese democrats need to constantly and loudly ask Hezbollah - and get the U.N. and the European Union to constantly and loudly ask Hezbollah - "Why are you waving the picture of the Syrian president? Whose side are you on?" President Bush should stay in the background and keep focused on defusing the Arab-Israeli conflict, which will deprive Hezbollah of all its excuses to remain armed. The impact on Hezbollah will be much more powerful if it's the Lebanese democrats and the Saudis and the Europeans who ask Hezbollah over and over, "Do you have a real vision for a modern, progressive and pluralistic Lebanon? If so, why are you waving the picture of the Syrian president?" If Hezbollah puts down Assad's picture and comes up with an answer to that question, that would be a big deal. But they didn't. Oh well. At least its getting some dialogue started. Guess we will have to wait till the next elections so we can get some reults there. 2 Months away people. Something tells me that things may change there very soon. Call me naive, but i am kinda hopefull that Lbeanon becomes the first real democracy in the Middle-east without any kind of foreign intervention.


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