Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Did the US Cause Lebanon’s “Cedar Revolution”?

The US is a bully intent on bringing the Middle East under its imperialist thumb by force. And yet, when overtures of peace or conciliation are made anywhere in the Middle East, the US crows, “We did that. That’s because we’re bringing democracy to the heathen.” Yasser Arafat’s death meant that Israel and Palestine could begin thinking about talking to each other. Neither Clinton nor Bush had anything to do with it. Nothing the US had done before worked. It was Arafat’s death that brought about the change. Is Syria loosening its death grip on Lebanon because the US invaded Iraq? Probably. But not because we’re white knights saving the downtrodden. If Syria is making nice with Israel and the US it’s partly because Syria is scared shitless they and Iran are on the White House Next To Be Conquered list. But it’s more complicated than that. First, France’s Jacques Chirac is pissed at Syria because he thinks Syria was behind the assassination of his friend, Lebanon’s Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri. Syria’s Bashar Assad was supposed to effect reforms in Lebanon, not commit murder. France is (was) Syria’s main friend in Europe. And France and the UN are calling for Syria to get its troops out of Lebanon. And yes, the US presence in Iraq cut off Syria’s border access for troops and intelligence. And yes, Syria has felt the threat of a US invasion ever since the US invaded Iraq. But is Syria relinquishing its power in Lebanon because of the US? Or, put another way, is the death toll in Iraq of American soldiers--which today or tomorrow will reach 1500--causing peace to break out in the Middle East? No. It is not. Because the US intends to wage more wars in the Middle East whether Lebanon’s Cedar Revolution is successful or not. Syria’s Assad is no Saddam Hussein. Assad sees which way the wind is blowing and would like to make peace with Israel and the US. But if the Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah--both groups that Assad supports but can’t control--are crazy and unpredictable, they can be matched nutcase for nutcase by Bush supporters in Congress. There are Neocons who still believe that Weapons of Mass Destruction were hidden in Syria and by god! if we can’t dig ‘em up, we can nuke ‘em out of existence. Assad is absolutely right to be scared of the US crazies. We’re like the drunk wife-beater who says “Look what you made me do” and then delivers another sucker punch.

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