The Nudnik File

Nudnik - n. U.S. colloq. Esp. in Jewish usage: a pestering, nagging, or irritating person

Monday, February 28, 2005

              The Blood of Patriots and Tyrrants ...

"From time to time, the tree of liberty needs to be refreshed with the blood of patriots and tyrrants."

Thomas Jefferson's immortal words today reverberate through the streets of Beirut. Chants of "freedom, sovereignty and independence" fill the air. And in this case, a "Red and White" revolution has broken out, with the only shots fired coming from a scared puppet government, who fired themselves.

So how did we get here?

It was the willingness of the Lebanese people to stand up and defy thier government - to push through the military lines to get to the central square in Beirut - and the refusal of Lebanese troops to fire on thier own people.

If you ask certain key figures in the Middle East, they would claim that this all started with the US invasion of Iraq, as reported here on The Nudnik File last week:

And even the most radical are starting to feel the winds of change in this "New Arab Revolution." Take Walid Jumblatt, for example. He is the leader of the Druze, a Lebanese minority group that has supported the Syrian occupation of Lebanon for the past 20 years. Jumblatt is also the head of the Lebanese Progressive Socialist Party, a self-described Marxist group founded by his father, Kumal Jumblatt. Historically, the Jumblatt clan has not been much of a friend to the US or Israel.

[David] Ignatius interviewed Jumblatt the Younger this week, and made a startling discovery:

[S]omething snapped for Jumblatt last year, when the Syrians overruled the Lebanese constitution and forced the reelection of their front man in Lebanon, President Emile Lahoud. The old slogans about Arab nationalism turned to ashes in Jumblatt's mouth, and he and Hariri openly began to defy Damascus.

"It's strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq," explains Jumblatt. "I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world." Jumblatt says this spark of democratic revolt is spreading. "The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it."
Thursday February 24 2005: Syrians Announce Pull Back

Lebanon: Syrian troops pulling back

Lebanese Defence Minister Abd al-Rahim Murad has told Aljazeera that Syria has started pulling back its troops in Lebanon into the eastern Bakaa Valley of the country. ...

"They took the decision to start the redeployment in the next few hours. After this redeployment, all the Syrian forces will be in the Bakaa," he said.

Further meetings would take place to "define the number of the troops which will remain in the Bakaa and to define the spots where they will be stationed in that area", he added.
Friday February 25 2005: UN Demands Syrian Withdrawl ... and then Denies Making Such Demands

UN chief warns Syria over Lebanon

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has called on Syria to withdraw its troops from Lebanon by April.

In an Arab satellite television interview, Mr Annan warned that the Security Council might take action if Syria fails to pull out by then.
UN denies Annan demanded Syria pullout of Lebanon or face sanctions

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's spokesman has denied an Al-Arabiya television report that Annan had demanded a Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon by April or sanctions would be imposed if they do not comply.
Sunday, February 27, 2005: Syria Renegs, Threatens Leading Arab TV Station, Protestors Defy Ban

Syria says Lebanon Taif deal meets UN demands

Syria said on Sunday implementing the Taif agreement that called for redeploying and later withdrawing Syrian forces from Lebanon would indirectly meet demands set out in UN Security Council resolution 1559.

The United States and France have been piling pressure on Syria for a complete withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon, in line with resolution 1559. They have said that talk of redeployment is not enough.

The 1989 Taif Accord ending Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war called for redeploying Syrian troops to eastern Lebanon, followed by agreement on a timetable for a full withdrawal. Syria still has 14,000 troops in Lebanon. ”Resolution 1559 does not have a Lebanese consensus. The overwhelming majority reject resolution 1559, despite respecting this international law. But there is complete consensus about the Taif agreement in Lebanon,” Syrian Foreign Minister Farouq Al-Shara said in Cairo.
Al-Arabiya TV reports 'threats' against Beirut staff amid row with Syria

Al-Arabiya television said some of its staff in Beirut had received "threats" amid a Syrian media campaign against an interview it carried out with UN chief Kofi Annan urging Syria to pull out of Lebanon.

"Al-Arabiya is deeply worried by the (implicit charges of) treason made against it by the (Syrian government) newspaper Tishrin, which was coupled with threats directed against some of our colleagues in Beirut by like-minded sides," the Dubai-based satellite news channel said in a statement received by AFP.

The statement did not elaborate, but a source at the news channel told AFP that "threats have been received from sides believed to be linked to Syrian intelligence".
Lebanon headed for showdown as thousands defy protest ban

Lebanon was headed for a showdown between the opposition and the security forces as thousands of demonstrators massed late Sunday in Beirut in defiance of a ban on protests by the pro-Syrian government.

Shouting "Syria Out!" and waving the Lebanese flag the protesters converged on the central Martyr's Square as hundreds of heavily armed troops aided by police deployed jeeps and trucks to the main crossroads leading to the square.

An opposition member of parliament told the demonstrators that three members of the pro-Syrian Lebanese government had resigned.

The energy minister, economy and commerce minister and the junior minister for administrative development had all quit, Nayla Moawwad told the crowd to loud applause.

Pro-government parties, including the Shiite Islamist movement Hezbollah, have called their supporters from Monday on to the streets for counter-demonstrations, raising fears of violence that the government used to justify its ban.

"All security forces are asked to take all necessary measures to protect security and order, and to ban demonstrations and gatherings on Monday," Interior Minister Suleiman Frangieh said.
Monday, February 28, 2005: Lebanese Cabinet Resigns, People Celebrate in the Streets

Lebanese Government Resigns Amid Protests

Lebanese Prime Minister Omar Karami announced the resignation of his pro-Syrian government Monday, two weeks after the assassination of his predecessor, Rafik Hariri, triggered protests in the streets and calls for Syria to withdraw its thousands of troops.

"I am keen that the government will not be a hurdle in front of those who want the good for this country. I declare the resignation of the government that I had the honor to head. May God preserve Lebanon," Karami said.

Let Freedom Reign!

|| Mad as Hell 1:53 PM
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