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The Lebanese remain Syria's captives
By Alan Caruba
On September 3, members of the Lebanese parliament who are the toadies of Syria voted to amend that nation's constitution to allow its pro-Damascus president to remain in office for another three years. The Christian and Druze members voted against it. So the Lebanese remain Syria's captives and, for Israel, it only reinforces the obvious fact that Syria has no intention of seeking peace in the region.
The US press took little note of this event. For most Americans who pay any attention to Lebanon, the fact that this once democratic nation has been struggling for its independence since the 1980s has not mattered much. Freedom was destroyed there by the same Islamo-Fascist forces fighting (1) the existence of Israel and (2) fighting the current effort to liberate both Afghanistan and Iraq.
Little noted as well was a very unusual United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559 passed just prior to the vote to amend the Lebanese constitution. It called for "a free and fair presidential election and called on Syria to remove its troops from Lebanon. It passed by a vote of nine in favor with six abstentions. Those in favor included the United States, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Romania. Those abstaining included Algeria, Brazil, China, Pakistan, the Philippines, and the Russian Federation.
Chalk up yet another United Nations diplomatic failure in the Middle East. It failed in Iraq. It is failing with Iran. And now you can add Lebanon and Syria to the list.
Syria's subjugation of Lebanon has become such a regional problem that, in a highly unusual move, Gulf Arab ministers urged Syria to withdraw its troops at a meeting of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia on September 13. Arab nations have traditionally been reluctant to interfere in the affairs of other Arab nations. Lebanon's Syrian-backed president responded saying, of course, that Syria's troops would remain until Israel returns to its 1967 pre-war borders and allowed the return of Palestinian refugees. This is not going to happen.
Syria has openly supported Hezbollah, the Palestinian terrorist organization that, in addition to Hamas, has been waging war on Israel despite the famed and utterly duplicitous Oslo Accords which Arafat's Palestinian Liberation Organization signed in what now seems a distant past. Syria worked closely with Saddam's regime to hide his weapons of mass destruction and there is little doubt they were not found in Iraq because they now are warehoused in Syria and probably in Lebanon as well.
If Americans remember anything about Lebanon, it is the 1983 terrorist attack on our embassy in Beirut that killed 263 people. It followed a devastating car bomb attack on a US Marine barracks that led then President Reagan to pull our troops out of the nation that was locked in battle with the same Palestinians who had been driven out of Jordan after they attempted to overthrow its king and take over that nation.
All this may seem like ancient history, but it directly reflects what had been happening before and since as Islamo-Fascists and Arab Ba'athists conduct their war to insure that the entire Middle East would remain the same sorry place it has been since World War I put an end to the Ottoman (Muslim) empire and saw the creation of new nations by the victors, France and Great Britain. Their colonization of the Middle East with the tacit approval of the United States is the background to all that has occurred since.
My friend, Ziad K. Abdelnour, president of the United States Committee for a Free Lebanon, says that "If Lebanese parliament members were able to vote freely, a constitutional amendment would not even be under discussion." But they are not free and the stooge of Damascus, president Emile Lahoud, remains in power. In a rare moment of agreement, both France and the United States wanted him out. It was Lahoud who sabotaged Prime Minister Rafik Hariri's efforts to get the international community to bail out the debt-ridden Lebanese government back in November 2000.
Thus, Syria's president, Bashar Assad, the son of the former dictator, has clearly signaled his alliance with the forces of Islamo-Fascism in their war on the existence of Israel and has sided with those seeking to destabilize the establishment of a democratic government in its neighbor nation, Iraq.
While Americans remain fixated on the fate of Iraq and, to a lesser extent, Afghanistan, the next nations on the list that need intervention remain Syria and Iran. As Abdelnour points out to anyone who will listen, "Lebanon is again turning into a main battlefield in the Global East-West confrontation, a development that could prove devastating to Lebanon, the nascent democracies of the Middle East, and the Western free world at large.
"It must be clear by now to all that the events of 9-11 and ensuing actions by the global fundamentalist movements were designed to lure the US into the region, where they believed they can humiliate it and ultimately defeat it."
Lebanon is critical to the Islamo-Fascist war because it has become, thanks to the Syrian overlords, a major center for the training, funding, and support of its battles in Israel, Iraq, the Arabian Peninsula and elsewhere. Moreover, it is the only country in the region that is not run by Islam. It is, at least on paper, the only democracy in the region. And perhaps most importantly, the Lebanese people are the closest to the West in their outlook, their ties, and their history.
As if Lebanon wasn't a complex enough problem for the US and the West to confront, Israel has begun to very publicly make clear that it will not sit by idly while its people continue to be attacked. It has, of course, been criticized for this by the European Union which continues to funnel millions to the Palestinians. Having occupied a chunk of southern Lebanon to deter such attacks in the past, Israeli patience with renewed attacks is thin at best. It has been systematically assassinating the Hamas leadership and yet the Syrian-backed Hezbollah has not yet taken the hint.
So don't be surprised if, all of a sudden, Lebanon is in the headlines. Get out your map and find it because neither the US, nor Israel, will tolerate Syria's passive-aggression for much longer. The time to rally to Lebanon's cause is long overdue.
Alan Caruba writes a weekly column, "Warning Signs", posted on www.anxietycenter.com, the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center. © Alan Caruba 2004
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