Monday, February 28, 2005

Good news from the Middle East

Street protests do work now and then. If you need proof, look to Lebanon, where Prime Minister Omar Karami resigned today after tens of thousands of furious demonstrators called for his pro-
Syrian administration's immediate ouster.

The Lebanese outrage has been building for two weeks, since the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. No one has linked Syria directly to the killing, but the Lebanese opposition has blamed the Syrians, whose troops have occupied the country for more than a decade, since day one. The Lebanese likely will still have a pro-Syrian government at least until the next regular election in May, but the momentum certainly seems to be on the side of citizens who want the Syrians out. It's hard to see that as anything other than a good thing at this point.

Notably, the United States has worked together in recent weeks with France -- yes, that France -- to pressure Syria to withdraw its forces from Lebanon. For the sake of all parties involved, I hope that's a harbinger of more U.S.-European cooperation to come.

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