February 18, 2005


Lebanon, through the past darkly (K Gajendra Singh, 2/19/05, Asia Times)

The situation following the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri in Beirut on February 14, almost spontaneous demonstrations and outcries, followed by quick US actions, such as the recall of its ambassador from Syria, which has been blamed for the killing by innuendo, implication and even directly by some US lawmakers, looks too familiar, coming as it does when Russia is readying to transfer low-range missiles to Damascus.

The "organized" spontaneity and the cacophony of opposition noises in Lebanon remind one of other recent "franchised" revolutions, the Rose Revolution in Georgia and the Orange Revolution in Ukraine - which saw pro-US candidates take power... [...]

The US, with the backing of France, pushed through United Nations Security Council resolution 1559 in September, calling on Syria to withdraw its troops. Jacques Chirac, the French president, a personal friend of Hariri, flew to Beirut to offer his condolences. He praised Hariri for his fight for democracy and independence. The Lebanon government has resisted pressure for an international investigation into the murder, but has invited Swiss explosives experts to help.

Resolution 1559 has been strenuously resisted, not only by Syria, but also by pro-Damascus Lebanese authorities, particularly President Emile Lahoud. White House spokesman Scott McClellan said that Hariri's murder was "an attempt to stifle these efforts to build an independent, sovereign Lebanon, free of foreign domination". Eyes are now turned to the UN Security Council to see if a new resolution is passed, perhaps imposing more sanctions on Syria. Russia is angry with the US and will not cooperate, nor most likely would China.

Hmmmm, America and an oppressed Muslim majority vs a Ba'athist dictatorship, Russia and China.... The only difference is Iran siding against a Shi'a population and the French on the side of the angels, for once.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 18, 2005 7:13 AM

Every so often when one almost becomes convinced that India has changed for the better, up comes some leftover Fabian like K Gajendra Singh to remind us that the ghost of Nehru still hangs over that unfortunate land like the black soot over Dickens' Coketown. 'Franchised revolutions?' Was that directly from Pravda or did he go to Antiwar.com or Lew Rockwell or Stormfront for that one?

There are 5 nations on the Security Council with veto power. The US, France, Britain, Russia and the PRC. The resolution is backed openly by the US, France and Britain.

There is no way the PRC will oppose this. They need the money they get from foreign trade, not just with the US but with all the nations that are friendly with the US, like Japan and Australia. What is Syria compared with that?

The wild card is Russia. The shenanigans that Putin tried to pull off in the Ukraine reminded everyone, and I mean everyone, of the bad old days of the Soviet Union. If there is one thing that will unite all of Europe with the US, and shock Old Europe out of its self-indulgent torpor, it is the fear of a resurgent Soviet Union. If Russia decides to back Syria in its attempt to conquer Lebanon officially, then it will face the wrath of the rest of the Western world. And when it was twice as big and the West was much smaller, it got rolled like a drunk in an alleyway. What would happen to them if they try to jump ugly with us again?

Chirac is so lucky right now he really should consider going to Monaco for a weekend. The only people madder about Putin's behavior than the Lebanese are Sarkozy and the French Socialists who see another 5 years for Chirac in the Elysee Palace.

Posted by: Bart at February 18, 2005 9:03 AM