Monday, March 07, 2005

# Posted 1:41 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

AN IMPORTANT PREDICTION: The first sentence of this WaPo story on Lebanon reads as follows:
The leader of Hezbollah, the militant Shiite Muslim movement that for weeks has stood on the sidelines of Lebanon's political upheaval, called Sunday for national demonstrations against what he characterized as foreign influences seeking to expel Syria, a key sponsor of the party, from the country.
The next to last paragraph of the WaPo story begins:
There is little doubt here [in Lebanon] that the Hezbollah demonstrations will be enormous, given the party's size and discipline, and will likely dwarf those held by the anti-Syrian opposition, which helped force the resignation last week of Prime Minister Omar Karami.
That would change the dynamic in Lebanon pretty dramatically, wouldn't it? So far, this has been a story of proud Lebanese nationalists resisting Syrian oppression. But if the Shi'ites, the largest single group in Lebanon, are pro-Syria, then that story will become chopped liver (which is delicious, but analytically deficient.)

This all makes me wonder why Assad has been so conciliatory so far. Has he just been biding his time until Hezbollah could demonstrate its support for the Syrian presence?
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