Monday, February 28, 2005
Demonstrators in Beirut's Martyrs Square chanted, "Syria out! Syria out!" after Prime Minister Omar Karami announced his resignation in a speech aired by the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation.As Michael Ledeen says, "faster please."
The country's pro-Syrian president, Emile Lahoud, now must pick a prime minister to form a new government until scheduled elections in May.
(via The Corner)
Further evidence the democracy meme is spreading, from Kevin and Paul at Wizbang:
- From Bill Quick at Daily Pundit:
This is beginning to look familiar, isn't it? Ronald Reagan engineered the collapse of the Soviet empire, and suddenly freedom broke out all over eastern Europe. GWB engineered the destruction of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, and suddenly freedom is trying to break out all over the middle east. I think these are both examples of chaotic structure collapse, and will proceed at far greater speed than anybody has previously estimated. From "Tear down this wall" to the end of communism as a major hard power force in the world took a less than four years. . .
I'm now revising my timetable a bit. In view of the speed of recent events, I am now predicting that not only will Syria-controlled Lebanon, the Syrian regime itself, and the Iranian theocracy fall, but neither the Saudi nor the Egyptian regimes will survive to see the end of GWB's second term in office. Just as Reagan fostered the destruction of the communist ideology, GWB may well have already fostered the destruction of the Islamist ideology - for ideology it is.
- From US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State David Satterfield meeting today with Lebanese Foreign Minister Mahmoud Hammoud: "We want to see free and fair elections take place [in Lebanon] this spring."
- Press Secretary Scott McClellan:
The resignation of the Karami government represents an opportunity for the Lebanese people to have a new government that is truly representative of their country's diversity. The new government will have the responsibility of implementing free and fair elections that the Lebanese people have clearly demonstrated they desire. We believe the process of a new government should proceed in accordance with the Lebanese constitution and should be free of all foreign interference. It is time for Syria to fully comply with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559. That means Syrian military forces and intelligence personnel need to leave the country. That will help ensure the elections are free and fair.
This is Assad's worst nightmare come true. With the Syrians, especially the Kurds in the northeast, watching the Iraqis vote in the first free multi-party elections ever on their east and the Lebanese on their west showing how fragile the Syrian grip on power truly is, the Assad government may wind up facing similar demonstrations in the streets of Damascus, demanding free multi-party elections -- which would end Assad's grip on power, unless he got in front of the effort immediately.Similar thoughts over at The Moderate Voice.
Will Assad get ahead of history and lead Syria out of Lebanon and into a freely-elected, multiparty democracy? Or will he dither and stand pat and attempt to survive the avalanche headed his way? These are the choices that the Anglo-American strategy of democratization have left with Assad. His father would choose the latter; Bashar might just be smart enough, like Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, to opt for the former. Either way, he only has weeks, possibly even days, to make his choices before the choices are made for him.
Before Bush launched the GWOT, the Arab world was in perpetual Winter: Deprived of democracy and freedom. Indeed, decades of leftist U.N. talk-talk, inaction and surrender propagated a metaphorical mid-East ice age. Now, thanks to the Bush Administration, Spring has sprung: Flowering in Afghanistan and Iraq, sprouting in Lebanon, and planted in Egypt.
Fasten your seatbelts: Bush's second term has just begun.
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Events are moving fast and furiously, and now matters do seem to have reached critical mass. It's doubtful that any month will pass without one small step toward liberalization being made in an Arab country for the next two years, and that will continue to feed the cries for reform.
I don't think Assad will try to liberalize.
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