[Mb-civic] NYTimes.com Article: Lebanon's Lost Sovereignty

michael at intrafi.com michael at intrafi.com
Thu Sep 2 11:06:19 PDT 2004

The article below from NYTimes.com 
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Lebanon's Lost Sovereignty

September 2, 2004


When it comes to occupied Arab territory, Syria applies a
brazen double standard and does not even have the decency
to be discreet about it: In Iraq, the Golan Heights, the
West Bank and Gaza, every additional day of foreign
occupation is viewed as intolerable, and immediate,
unimpeded sovereignty is considered imperative. For
Lebanon, under the thumb of Syrian troops for the past 28
years, Damascus never uses the word occupation and never
hesitates to abuse Lebanese sovereignty. 

Recent days have brought a notably offensive example. In
the face of intense opposition across the Lebanese
political and religious spectrum, Syria pressured the
country's cabinet last weekend into endorsing a
constitutional change designed to let President Émile
Lahoud extend his expiring six-year term for three more
years. Prime Minister Rafik Hariri has for years been a
fierce foe of Mr. Lahoud and had strongly opposed amending
the Constitution. But he suddenly changed his mind after a
Friday night meeting with the Syrian chief of military

Now, barring a brave last-minute revolt by Lebanon's
parliament, Syria will get its way and Mr. Lahoud, who long
ago lost his support among the Lebanese but remains a
willing tool of Damascus, will stay on. It is not easy for
any Lebanese politician to stand up to the ruthless Syrian
dictatorship and the 20,000 troops it keeps on hand to
enforce its will. This is the third time in a decade that
Syria has forced Lebanon to change its Constitution to
ensure that there is a pro-Syrian president. 

Choosing a president ought to be an internal Lebanese
affair, but Syria has made it an international one. That is
why the United States and France are now asking the United
Nations Security Council to affirm Lebanon's full
sovereignty and its right to choose a new president without
foreign interference. 

Those principles deserve the strong endorsement of every
Council member. And Lebanon, the most democratically minded
country in the Arab Middle East, deserves the immediate
withdrawal of Syrian occupation troops. 



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