Across the Bay

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

More International Pressure Please!

In an interview to the French "20 minutes," Walid Jumblat declared Lebanon "hostage" and said that "its liberation might take years" wondering about the support of the international community.

Jumblat said: "we are facing a terroritst rule, the Lebanese government backed by the Syrians." He added that after the assassination of Hariri and the anti-Syrian demonstrations that followed, "we can do nothing more than lead the struggle for a free Lebanon."

He clarified: "however we cannot obtain it on our own" and wondered "is the international community really exerting pressures on Syria? I'm not sure."

The significance of Jumblat calling for international interference cannot be overstated. This is not just a matter of the Syrians rejecting the Arab exit, it also speaks a lot about the attitudes towards the role of the Western powers in the democratization of the ME. Michael Young said it best: "we may be permanently rid of that idiotic phobia that foreign, particularly Western, pressure somehow soils any national Arab endeavor for emancipation."

Update: Here's one opinion that explains why Jumblat is still not too sure about the international pressure on Syria. If this editorial is right, then it will be another brick in the case that Bashar did not make an irrational move with the murder of Hariri. However risky (and perhaps ultimately stupid), it was a carefully thought-out challenge. He's banking on the toothlessness of the international community.