Damascus in a Belligerent Mood

[Daily Star-Lebanon] Michael Young - The French daily Le Monde last Saturday published the minutes of a meeting between Syrian President Bashar Assad and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on April 24 at the presidential palace in Damascus. When Ban called on Syria to support the Hariri tribunal, Assad noted that Lebanon's "most peaceful years were when Syrian forces were present. From 1976 to 2005 Lebanon was stable, whereas now there is great instability." He warned that instability "will worsen if the special tribunal is established. Particularly if it is established under Chapter VII. This might easily cause a conflict that would degenerate into civil war, provoking divisions between Sunnis and Shiites from the Mediterranean to the Caspian Sea....This would have serious consequences beyond Lebanon." The cult of "engagement" of Syria is being battered by the fact that most European powers are realizing that Damascus will not accept any of the quid pro quos that engagement requires. Instead, they are all hearing the Syrian language of the gun. We are caught in a process of confrontation - with Iran, Syria, and their allies in Hizbullah and Hamas on the one side; and the UN, the U.S., Europe, the Arab states, and their allies on the other.

2007-07-05 01:00:00

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