Still Pissed Off About the Hawley-Smoot Tariff

Monday, February 21, 2005

Lebanon; or Much Ado About ...

From, yesterday:

Syrian Cabinet minister Boutheina Shaaban told CNN from Damascus the assassination was "deeply against the interests of Syria." And she appeared to suggest the United States had some involvement.
"I don't like to point the finger at anyone," she said, " ... but we see it as part of destabilizing the entire region in the name of bringing democracy and freedom."
"There are some people who are trying to hijack this terrible act of terrorism ... for their own political purposes," she said. "Even when they said Syria is morally responsible ... it's equivalent to saying the United States is morally responsible for 9/11. This is terrorism ... and nobody is immune to terrorism anymore."
Shaaban said the assassination was an act "targeting the unity of Lebanon, the stability of Syria and the relations of Syria and Lebanon and the entire world."
"We see who has an interest in destabilizing the region, and it is not Syria," she said.

She then went into a fifteen-minute rant about the Joooooooos.

I made an optimistic comment here, and Hans Bricks also has an interestingly-titled post here. Arthur Chrenkoff has a run-down that you've probably already seen, since Instapundit linked it yesterday, and it, too, has some conspiracy theories about Americans and Joooooooos. His sources say the assassination of Rafiq Hariri was probably not a suicide bombing, but more likely involved a bomb buried under the pavement. The Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star has a column titled "Syria has a unique opportunity to fulfill the course of history," namely by getting out of Lebanon as quickly as possible.

So, are the times a'changin'? Maybe, but I think probably not. At least, not without some further stimulus than the death of Rafiq Hariri. Lebanese opposition groups have long been opposed to the Syrian occupation, but the occupation is and will be governed by Syria, not Lebanon. Nothing important to that calculus has changed over the past week. It is true that the opposition is vocal, is motivated, is multi-cultural, -ethnic and -religious, but that has always been true, and the opposition is a very minor segment of the population.

I'm not trying to crap all over hopes for an independent (and therefore, I would hope, more Westernized) Lebanon. I'm just saying there must be some other ingredient added to the mix of the links I've provided. A U.S.-led invasion of Syria would likely do the trick. Solid evidence of Syrian involvement in Hariri's death might do the trick. But until we get that new ingredient, I don't see the current "peaceful intifada" going anywhere.