Thursday, March 10, 2005
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There are going to be more protests in Lebanon
That's not a particularly powerful prediction given this Voice of America story:
Jenny Booth reports in the London Times that the opposition has already rejected joining a unity government.
The Beirut Daily Star's Nada Bakri has the reaction from protestors. They're pretty mixed. Here's one example:
Developing....posted by Dan on 03.10.05 at 11:38 AM
If this is only a temporary government till the next elections and if Syria genuinely moves the bulk of its troops out (2 big ifs) , this is not that big a deal. After all, some government is probably needed for the interim.
If on the other hand, this is a sign that Syria wants to re-consolidate its position, this could be a sign of serious trouble.
My prediction: Syria will strike some deal with the interim puppet government, move the bulk of its troops and intelligence agents out, and remove as many as possible from the way of Lebanese to avoid offending them. it will not move all troops out, and it will definitely not move all intelligence agents out. The puppet government will spin this as a major victory for Lebanon and try and ride it to electoral success.
The reappointment of Karami is important, not because the pro-Syrian voted him back in office, but because to do so, they must have assessed that it was political safe to do so.
Along with the government-organized demonstrations in Syria, both could be signs of the hardliners winning the day inside Assad's circle.
All of the events above, along with the Hezbollah demonstration indicate that the original momentum on the protesters' side seems to have been stopped and the tide turned the other way.
Which in turn deals a serious blow to the grand narrative of Bush's plan working.posted by: Nick Kaufman on 03.10.05 at 11:38 AM [permalink]
There may be more protests, but the Syrians (or their allies) are getting smarter at the uses of rent-a-crowds.
See this Beiruit Daily Star article.
Nick. The pressure on Syria is helpful, even if the Cedar revolution does not succeed. And the hits Hezbollah is going to be taking to its legitimacy each time they take one for Syria may have irreversable long-term effects.
And remember, Al Jazeera has been broadcasting all this to the Arab world. The effects of that are hard to measure.posted by: Appalled Moderate on 03.10.05 at 11:38 AM [permalink]
Lets hope they arent as clever with Rent-A-Voters. That could be a real disaster.posted by: Mark Buehner on 03.10.05 at 11:38 AM [permalink]
The governments of the 2 most powerful Arab countries: Saudia Arabia and Egypt, want Syria out, so thats a great deal of pressure. Joel Klein said last night that a high ranking Saudi official told him that they actually threatened to stoke Sunni fundamentalists against Assad if he didn't move. in Syria, the Alawaite minority rules over a Sunni majority and the Muslim Brotherhood is still fairly powerful so it would be Assad's worst nightmare for that to happen. [ The US would not be too pleased either]
As for voting, the gerrymandered system in Lebanon practically guarantees that the Shia (the most pro-Syrian and anti-Israeli group) will be underrepresented in Parliament while the Maronites will do well.
... they must have assessed that it was political safe to do so.
Whether that assessment was actually correct remains to be seen. Bodies bussed in from Syria and Pali refugee camps to jump up and down in the street do not a trend make.posted by: Achillea on 03.10.05 at 11:38 AM [permalink]
Nor do broad statements without facts to back them up. There is no evidence of significant busing from Syria (let alone Palestinian refugee camps) and there is other evidence that the Shia tend to distrust Israel much more than Syria.
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