Thursday, November 23, 2006

A Major Demonstration Of Antipathy To Syria, Iran And Hezbollah In Lebanon

They came by the hundreds of thousands today to Martyr's Square in Beirut to mourn the assassinated cabinet minister, Pierre Gemayel, and express their angry determination for a Lebanon free of the malevolent influences of Syria, Iran and Hezbollah.

It was not only the Maronite Christians who came. They were joined by the Druse, by Sunni Muslims, and even visitors such as the French foreign minister to show they are committed not to give Lebanon over to the barbaric Islamic fundamentalists and aggressive outside countries.

At a time when there are many "experts" insisting that the U.S. and other Western countries negotiate with the thuggish Syrian president, Bashar Assad,and the fanatic Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, this was a powerful demonstration that in one of the countries they are trying to take over, there is great popular resistance to accommodating those responsible for repeated murders of popular leaders. There have been six assassinations, probably sponsored by Assad, of Lebanese political figures since the former premier, Rafik Hariri, was gunned down 21 months ago.

Meanwhile, Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, the running dog for Syria and Iran, is openly seeking the destruction of the regime of Prime Minister Fuad Saniora, whose government is backed by the United States, France, Germany and other countries.

Even the often dovish New York Times editorializes today, "The United States and the international community must now rally to support Prime Minister Siniora -- with cash, security advisers, and anything that might help him and his government survive." But, in the lead story in the Los Angeles Times, the frequently wimpy reporter, Paul Richter, in this instance, as in so many others, is ready to throw in the towel, proclaiming that the whole situation is another instance of American impotence.

What is to be gained by talking with the Syrians and Iranians? Probably, for the moment, nothing. It is always conceivable that at some point the outflow of hundreds of thousands of refugees from beleaguered Iraq will sufficiently alarm Syria and Iran that they will become more reasonable. At present, however, they continue their efforts to destroy the moderate Lebanese government.

Also, a lengthy Time magazine report this week lists important arms deliveries by Syria and Iran to Somalia, where Islamic fundamentalists have taken over and now conspire to spread war all over the Horn of Africa, attacking such U.S. allies as Ethiopia and Kenya. Somalian troops have also gone to Syria to train.

It is reminiscent in a way of Churchill's warning, in his speech on the Munich Agreement of 1938 that led to the dismemberment of the Czechoslovak government and the absorption of the Czechs and Slovaks into Nazi Germany the following year.

On Oct. 5, 1938, Churchill stood in the House of Commons and declared, "There can never be friendship between the British democracy and the Nazi Power, that Power which spurns Christian ethics, which vaunts the spirit of aggression and conquest, which derives strength and perverted pleasure from persecution, and uses, as we have seen, with pitiless brutality the threat of murderous force. That Power cannot ever be the trusted friend of the British democracy."

We see the same kind of aggression against Lebanon and in the Horn of Africa today, a continuation of a foul effort to turn small countries into bases of attack for extremists. It is time that we rally against them, not appease them.

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