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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Syria takes over Lebanon; US supports 'good relations' between the two

Syria has completed its takeover of Lebanon, with its Hezbullah allies gaining a veto over policy enacted by the Lebanese cabinet, thus mooting the 16-11 advantage that the Saniora government still enjoys in the cabinet. This is from DEBKA.
The pro-Iranian Hizballah-led opposition has gained veto power and Damascus has solidified its grip on Lebanon’s center of power - both through the Shiite-led bloc and through a first-time cabinet member, the Syrian Social Nationalist Party – the SSNP, which is dedicated to a Greater Syria.


According to DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources, the shadowy SSNP was Syrian intelligence’s favorite terrorist arm in Lebanon for assassinations, attempted coups and bombings. Its operatives often worked with Hizballah (especially its military chief Imad Mughniyeh) and were believed implicated in the US embassy bombings in Beirut of 1982 and 1984.

The first known female suicide bomber in terrorist history was a SSNP operative who detonated a truck bomb which killed two Israel soldiers in 1985. Another member was accused of assassinating Lebanese president Beshar Gemayel in 1982.

The SSNP leader at the time, appointed by Damascus, was Ali Qanso, who now takes a seat in the new Lebanese government as minister of state.

The same Lebanese party also holds one seat in the Syrian parliament, having been granted legal standing by President Bashar Assad in 2005. The SSNP is now Syria’s largest party after the ruling Baath, while also represented in the Beirut government. It is thus faithful to its Greater Syria tenet which names Lebanon “Western Syria” and the Mediterranean the "Syrian Sea."
But what's most amazing is the Western - and particularly the American reaction to this turn of events.
Britain, Germany and the United States late Saturday welcomed a decision by Lebanon and Syria to establish diplomatic relations, but Washington urged Damascus to end its "destabilizing tactics" in the region.

"We continue to support the establishment of good relations between Lebanon and Syria on the basis of mutual respect (and) we join with France in reiterating the commitment to a sovereign and independent Lebanon," Rob McInturff, a State Department spokesman, told Agence France Presse.

But he added that Washington would "continue to limit our diplomatic engagement unless Syria takes concrete actions to end its destabilizing tactics in the region."

Lebanon and Syria said earlier Saturday that they had agreed to establish diplomatic relations, opening embassies in each others' capitals for the first time since their independence from colonial rule.

The State Department said Syria was "showing it is eager to engage with the international community."
Of course, the State Department went on to make the usual statement about expelling the 'Palestinian' terror groups from Damascus, but as long as Assad is being welcomed into the international community, there is no hope that will happen. Condi Rice's State Department is either totally clueless or is on the wrong side in the war on terror. Take your pick.

A full list of the new Lebanese cabinet members and their party affiliations is here. Lebanon is scheduled to hold parliamentary elections in 2009.


At 8:36 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Its not the State Department's reaction that's really newsworthy. The real item of note is the Olmert-Barak-Livni-Yishai government's silence in the face of an effective Hezbollah takeover of Lebanon's government. Yes, the same people to whom they're about to pay a wretched ransom. What was that again about the Second Lebanon War being a victory for Israel? At least they have the good grace not to brag about it.


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