Across the Bay

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

It's France's Fault!

Just when you think the Syrians have said it all, they come at you with more! The Syrian regime has a talent for that, as I've mentioned before. Listen to this, from the BBC monitoring services:

July 18, 2005, Monday

HEADLINE: Syrian agency reports traffic normal at Lebanese border crossing

SOURCE: SANA news agency web site, Damascus in English 17 Jul 05

Text of report in English by Syrian News Agency SANA web site

Al-Dabbusiyah, 17 July: Syrian and Lebanese ordinary people and drivers stressed that they crossed Al-Dabbusiyah border point with the sisterly Lebanon to and from Lebanon, adding that the Syrian authorities provide them with all possible facilities and deal in a flexible way with all arriving and departing passengers.

SANA staff reporters who visited the Al-Dabbusiyah area several times said there was an ordinary crossing traffic on both sides, and all the personnel there were working very hard to alleviate traffic jams on the borders with Lebanon, particularly the trucks coming from Lebanon.

Director of the Syrian Customs in the area Abd-al-Hadi Darwish said the main reason for the jam is the bridge used for the two-way border crossing is narrow and was originally built under the French mandate on Syrian and Lebanon.

He added that there are ongoing preparations on the Syrian side of Al-Dabbusiyah to expand and modernize this crossing point.


Meanwhile, as I mentioned in my last post, the French (who apprently are to blame for building too narrow a crossing!), are threatening not to sign an EU cooperation agreement with Syria if they continue this type of behavior in Lebanon, but also in Iraq and with regard to supporting terrorist groups in the region as a whole.

The Naharnet story has another interesting angle. It notes that Terje Roed-Larsen raised the border demarcation issue between Lebanon and Syria. I happen to believe that this is a very important point, especially with regard to Shebaa and the Deir el-Asheyir Syrian military base.

Ghassan Tueni raised this issue in his latest op-ed (English synopsis here). He also remarked that the marine borders should also be demarcated. He notes that under the Syria hegemony, this topic was taboo. He also claims that this may very well be related to possible underwater oil wells. According to Tueni, everytime someone in Lebanon dared to raise this issue of digging for oil in the Tripoli waters, the attempt would be shut down inexplicably. Whether he's being conspiratorial or not I don't know, but it wouldn't surprise me in the least bit. In fact, I'd say that was typical behavior under the Syrians.

I mean, afterall, is it crazier than blaming the French for the border blockade, and simultaneously denying the entire crisis in the same precis!?