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Syria on brink over conflict with Lebanon
February 2, 2002 4:57 AM   Subscribe

Syria on brink over conflict with Lebanon Our good friends on the far Left never address this other occupation in the Middle East, an occupation that is not the Israelis in Palestinian lands; and our policy makers in Washington almost never discuss the issue either, but to the people who live in Lebanon it is their country that for many years has been occupied by some 35 thousand man army of Syrians against their will. And it is beginning to anger them.
posted by Postroad (11 comments total)

 
Political and economic oppression of any people is a bad thing. The Syrian occupation of Lebanon may be as unjustifiable as the Israeli occuption of the Palestinian territories. The US should support human rights in both places. The current situation in both occupied lands fosters intolerance and religious extremism. Promoting human rights is in all of our interests.

That being the case, the US may have more influence on Israel. We are certainly seen by arabs as being much closer to Israel than to the Palestinians. Percieved American tolerance of Israeli human rights abuses (as well as our own blockade against Iraq) is one of the reasons for arab anger at the US. We should oppose oppression impartially.

Personally, I don't think the current administration sees the situation this way. They're trying hard enough to fight terrorism, but I don't think their attempts will meet with any success if they don't strive to develop better relations with the rest of the world.
posted by Loudmax at 5:43 AM on February 2, 2002


I believe that my cat, the one on the far right below the apple tree, has also failed to address this occupation.

When in doubt as to whether a post is interesting enough, just bung in some unjustified political accusation and all will be fine.
posted by RobertLoch at 5:53 AM on February 2, 2002


much as i'm sure this link and it's accompanying thread are well written and well thought out, my brain totally shut off the moment i saw that "left" was not only capitalized, but in the first few words.

damnit. now i can't put on my shoes correctly or drive anywhere because i've heard the terms 'left' and 'right' so many times they've lost all meaning to me.

thanks. thanks alot.
posted by jcterminal at 6:10 AM on February 2, 2002


Easily tweaked, jcterminal? Given some of the crap that goes into FPPs here, that's pretty darn mild. And it's Postroad, so you know there's just a bit of garrulous teasing.

The article doesn't go into the religious issues, but Lebanon -- which before the civil war was the Riviera of the eastern Med, and Beirut the Paris of the Mideast (hard to believe now) -- is not only split between Muslims and Christians, but the Muslims are split between (to do a very rough breakdown) Sunnis, Shi'ites, and Palestinian refugees (mixed Sunni Muslim and Christian). Syria is mainly Sunni; many of the Shi'a are ethnically connected to Iran, which is why that country has long taken an interest. Hezbollah is a Shi'a group with Iranian support, for instance.

The Lebanese have actually made a remarkable recovery from the war and seem to have reached a peaceful accomodation on the representation issues that sparked it. (In brief, parliamentary seats were split between Maronite Christians and Muslims such that the former always controlled the government, using 1950s population; now there are more Muslims and the new scheme gives them control.) It's time for Syria to step back and allow Lebanon to graduate from client state status.

Truthfully, I think they will; Assad is still a puppet of the military, but they don't have the resources for war, nor the overriding interests they did a generation ago.
posted by dhartung at 7:55 AM on February 2, 2002


A correction - instead of 'unjustified' let me use the term 'unsubstantiated' instead. What you say may be perfectly accurate, I have no idea at all. But if you do feel obligated to turn something into a political debate, please offer some form of evidence to support your claim.

As the soliders have been there since 1975 would it be reasonable to suggest that both the right and the left have failed to addressed this issue? Is this in fact an issue that they should have addressed? You don't explain why you think it is? I know nothing at all about the history of this - I just don't see where the political angle fits in, and would be thankful for an explanation on that and why you think the US should be involved.
posted by RobertLoch at 8:05 AM on February 2, 2002


Clarification: I don't mention that the US ought to be involved. However, it is now clear that many al Quaeda (sp?)lads have been moved into the West bank and are being financed by Saudi Arabia (for ref, write me: postroad at hotmail.com) and that Syria, financed in part now by Iran, is maintaing Hezbollah--this I think may well lead to American involvement, like it or not.
As for cap Left: a way of point out to a specific political leaning as opposed to a compass direction. I could of course merely say Liberal and Conservative. But the stalwarts of the far Left--Chomsky, Said, Zinn--never mention this occupation. If you think Syrian troops are welcomed in Lebanon then again I hnave cited a number of links on my blog when Iaddressed this issue. (I don't mention my blog so that I won't hear how self-serving I am.) One writer of an established left of center mag suggested to me that no one was truly upset because there was not the daily chaos that exists in the West Bank. I noted to him that when Hitler and his party took control of Germany there was little evidence of unhappiness with the new regime. It was unwise to be overtly in oppostion. As fopr my own spot on the political spectrum: I am a left-winger, a true radical: I vote Democrat.
posted by Postroad at 8:19 AM on February 2, 2002


and what of the british occupation of northern ireland? that the press for years has characterized this as a religious conflict is one of the most egregrious and long-running distortions of fact EVER.
posted by quonsar at 8:30 AM on February 2, 2002


and what of US citizen financing people to blow up civilians. How well was that reported?
posted by RobertLoch at 8:39 AM on February 2, 2002


and what of the White Europeans occupation of N. America. The press have continuously portrayed the US as 'the free world.' That has to be the most egregrious and long-running distortions of fact EVER.

Also, is it not accurate that the American Indian's claim over that land is more valid than the 1945 Jewish claim over Israel. They owned it more recently after all.

I wonder how far off topic this thread can get.
posted by RobertLoch at 8:54 AM on February 2, 2002


a true radical: I vote Democrat.

heh heh heh....sorry, but that totally cracked me up!
posted by rushmc at 9:45 AM on February 2, 2002


Is there a Near Left? Or degrees of Leftitude? Can you show someone some Leftitude? My head is spinning--along a vertical axis, may I point out.
posted by y2karl at 12:23 PM on February 2, 2002


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