A Lebanese Abroad

Opinions from an opinionated Lebanese abroad about Lebanon's politics, business and the future of a United Lebanon.

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Friday, May 06, 2005

The Real Syria Comes Out

While Lebanese Prime Minister Mikati was meeting with Syrian President Assad on Wednesday May 4th in Damascus, the Spanish daily El Pais released an interview with Syrian Prime Minister Otri where he made a number of disturbing comments:

1- The Lebanese detained in Syrian jails are terrorists
2- Lebanon doesn’t want to establish diplomatic relations with Syria
3- Disarming Hezbollah is a Lebanese problem
4- Disarming the Palestinian groups is tied to the Israeli conflict

Interpretation and analysis:

1- Although Otri said that these Lebanese belonged to the Free Lebanon Army of the South, and that they apparently killed Syrian soldiers, what right does he have to call them terrorists? Any Lebanese that objects to foreign occupiers has the right to defend himself. They were heroes, not terrorists. And why did Syria deny the fact that they were holding prisoners for such a long time? And how about the promise made by the Syrian UN representative that all prisoners will be released by June 2005? Are these Lebanese people exempt from that release now that they have been labeled “terrorists”? And if they are “terrorists”, does that that put Hezbollah fighters in the same camp because they killed occupiers too?

2- Otri further added that the Lebanese people did not want diplomatic relations since Lebanon’s independence. Really? This is the first time we hear about that. It seems that it was Syria who always claimed that it doesn’t need diplomatic relations with Lebanon because of the “brotherly ties” that bind them. Would someone from the Lebanese government please respond to this?

3- In other words, “the monkey is off our back”. Or in plain English, “it’s your baby now”. Thanks Syria! After strengthening Hezbollah for 15 years, now you’re dropping that hot potato right into our lap. Thank you. Now we understand the meaning of your intentions!

4- So, first you were playing Lebanon as a card against your inability to solve the Golan problem. Now that this card has been taken away from you, you’re saying that the Palestinian camps are the new card. But how come most Palestinian groups are disarming inside Palestine, and you want the ones that are miles away to keep fighting from Lebanon? Haven’t you realized that the road to peace is via peace talks and negotiations, and not via armed battles that can’t be won?

So, is this the real Syria that is coming out: the Syria that is out of touch with reality? The Syria that is arrogant, disrespectful and ignorant?

And why isn’t the Lebanese Prime Minister responding to these comments? Why is he taking a “soft” approach by suggesting only the creation of a committee to study the issue of Lebanese detainees in Syrian jails?

If these comments don’t constitute interference in Lebanon’s affairs, I am not sure what does anymore.

2 Comments:

Blogger Charles Malik said...

I don't think Miqati will be in power for much longer.
Given the raucus in Parliament, Lahoud should be really, really, really worried about losing his job. Ain eTineh members were calling for his overly tanned and chlorine tainted scalp.
I wonder how long Otri and Assad will be in power.

8:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or perhaps Mikati doesn't want to burn his bridges with the Syrians, considering there's an ample chance the upcoming elections may also produce another rubber-stamper for syria. And we all know Lebanon takes a back seat when it comes to political and personal interests.

Frankly I think Mikati's trip to syria was ill timed and utterly inappropriate at this time, and as you put it, it made the realy syria "STAND UP" !(the only result it produced)

2:15 PM  

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