Domination? How About Presence.
Consider the headlineSyria Ends Military Domination of Lebanon. Lede:
Syria ended its 29-year military domination of Lebanon on Tuesday as soldiers flashing victory signs completed a withdrawal spurred by intense international pressure and massive Lebanese street protests against a force that once reached 40,000.
Once was 29 years ago. More recently they have had what the article later admits to 14,000 troops in Lebanon.
The Syrians entered Lebanon in 1976, ostensibly as peacekeepers in Lebanon's year-old civil war. After the war ended in 1990, about 40,000 Syrian troops remained, giving Damascus the decisive say in Lebanese politics.
But international pressure and Lebanese anger over the Feb. 14 assassination of former premier Rafik Hariri in a Beirut car bombing helped turn the tide against Syria's presence and Damascus pulled out its remaining 14,000 troops during the past two months.
Whoa, has the AP lost all its history books? There may have been harsh words on the other side of an ocean by Israel's ally and Iraq War President Bush.
Lebanon has had a democracy since at least 1943. Domination is a poor choice of words, perhaps presence would probably be better suited to describe the Syrian military in Lebanon.
It has become customary in this country to demonize, discredit, or just plain old turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to what other countries leaders have to say about themselves. However, I think Syria's chief of staff, Gen. Ali Habib was well within his right to make his point:
Habib stressed that the withdrawal does not mean an end to Syrian-Lebanese ties.Not to mention Lebanese army commander Michel Suleiman who
He then took a a swipe at the United States, saying, "Anyone who thinks that the history of people can be eliminated by statements made by this or that state is mistaken."
lauded the role of Syria's military in Lebanon, crediting it with rebuilding the army, maintaining peace among the country's 17 sects and ending the 1975-1990 civil war.
He pledged continued cooperation between the two countries in several fields, including the fight on terror and opposition to Israel.
"Together we shall always remain brothers in arms in the face of the Israeli enemy," Suleiman said.
Funny how you haven't heard much about the Israeli Military Domination in Lebanon whenever Bush talks about "letting that young democracy flourish."