The Jerusalem Post has an interesting story on what Syria is really up to during its withdrawl from Lebanon.
Syrian troops may be stacking the ubiquitous portraits of their leader, President Bashar Assad, on trucks for the trip home from Beirut, but Damascus isn’t ready to close up shop in Lebanon just yet.
On Thursday pro-Syrian Lebanese President Emile Lahoud reinstated Omar Karami, who resigned two weeks ago as prime minister and now appears poised to reclaim his former post after he received majority support by the Lebanese Parliament.
Lahoud and Karami are allies of the Syrian regime, which this week reluctantly agreed to pull back, first, to the Bekaa Valley by the end of the month, followed by another withdrawal to the Syrian border by May.
“The regime is doing anything it can to stay as long as it can” in Lebanon, said Ammar Abdel Hamid, a Syrian dissident.
Damacus has moved enough to give itself some wiggle room, but its military pullout is now being accompanied by a political bear hug.
And this is going to make it harder for Lebanon to function well. It looks like Syria is looting the country as it leaves.
Meantime, Syrian investors are increasingly pulling funds from Beirut banks and the regime sees that money gushing out to foreign banks outside Syria. In Damascus it is said that about $10 billion have been yanked from Lebanese accounts to be squirreled away elsewhere.
I hope and pray that the Cedar Revolution will be as peaceful as the Ukrainian one, but I do not think that Assad and his minions are smart enough to let that happen. It would be a great thing to see the Iraqi army provide support to the Lebanese in their fight for freedom and democracy.