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February 16, 2005

US Gave Lebanon to Syria

Ah, we're going through one of those endless rounds of hysterical amnesia, this time in regards to Syria's dominance of Lebanon.

Slate tries to explain why Syria controls Lebanon. Amidst much history of the PLO and Syrian interventions, the piece blandly states, "The Syrian military ended the violence in 1990."

Hmm...what else was happening in 1990? Oh yeah, the first Gulf War. And as Business Week wrote on March 11, 1991, Syria was allowed to de facto annex Lebanon as its reward for supporting the US intervention against Saddam:

Some former U. S. enemies also expect postwar rewards. Syrian President Hafez al-Assad, who once outranked Saddam Hussein in Washington's demonology, signed on with the coalition -- and promptly moved to effectively annex Lebanon to Syria. Washington, which had opposed Assad's dream of ''Greater Syria'' for years, voiced no objections as his troops routed Christian militias from Beirut.
Or as Newsweek wrote the same day:
[Assad] has already been paid off handsomely for his stand against Iraq: the gulf Arabs have committed billions in much-needed cash; Washington gave him international respectability and turned a blind eye to his absorption of Lebanon.
The US government goes through these cycles, rewarding allies with permission to oppress their own peoples (Egypt and Pakistan as examples today), or to grab territory, as with Syria in 1990. Occasionally, a country misunderstands the signals-- Saddam after being given support for his war against Iran in the 1980s thought he had the all-clear signal for his land-grab in Kuwait, but it turned out Washington changed rules on him.

It appears that the rules have changed for Syria and the Washington press corps are dutifully forgetting the past to faciliate the outrage beating the drums of war.

Posted by Nathan at February 16, 2005 08:00 AM