It appears that despite a government ban on protests, the popular demand for the end of the Syrian occupation of Lebanon won’t be stopped. The latest round of protests in Beirut and elsewhere across Lebanon are a sign that it is all but inevitable that the political pressure on Syria will be too much to bear.
It was Syria that was likely responsible for the deadly car bombing in Tel Aviv this weekend which killed 4 Israels and wounded dozens of others. The attack was a way of focusing attention on Israel and scuttling the peace process there in order to divert attention from Damascus. Already Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is promising a zero-tolerance policy towards terrorism — and while it’s right to be skeptical of Abbas’ promises, it’s quite likely he had nothing to do with this attack. The Islamic Jihad murderers were acting on orders from the government of Syria, not Abbas.
Despite the attack in Israel and the attempted crackdown in Lebanon, Beirut’s plans of dismantling the push for Lebanese independence has failed. What we are seeing in the streets of Beirut is quite similar to what we saw in the streets of Kyiv a few months ago – a spontaneous and peaceful movement for political change. With the Americans pushing from the east, the Lebanese pushing from the west, and the Israelis and Palestinians negotiating a peace that could further expose Syria’s state support of terrorism, the Assad regime is being squeezed on all sides.
The blogger Publius is doing an excellent job of following the news from Lebanon where the peaceful demands for a Syrian pullout and free elections continue. Lebanon is on the cusp of a revolution, but like the Orange Revolution, this event will leave Lebanon freer and more democratic.