Anybody play domino's? - Watch the Middle-East (Lebanon)
January 2, 2007 9:04pm CST
Anybody play domino's? - Watch the Middle-East (Lebanon) "Lebanon Opposition Demands Total Syrian Withdrawal Agencies "Syria of being an obstacle to democratic reform in the Middle East " BEIRUT, 3 March 2005 ?Lebanon? opposition demanded yesterday the full withdrawal of Syrian military and intelligence services and the resignation of Lebanese Syrian-backed security chiefs. The opposition, in a statement after a meeting, said pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud must accept these demands before they would join any discussions on forming a new government. ?he ... step that the opposition considers essential in its demands on the road to salvation and independence is the total withdrawal of the Syrian army and intelligence service from Lebanon,?said the statement read by lawmaker Ahmad Fatfat. ?his step requires an official announcement from Syria? President (Bashar Al-Assad) on the withdrawal of the Syrian forces and its intelligence from Lebanon,?he said. Fatfat and Druze leader Walid Jumblatt said the opposition would agree on taking part in discussions of forming a new government only after Lahoud accepts the demands. ?hese are the principles that the opposition defined ... Only if the authorities agree on these conditions we might take part (in talks on government) formation,?Jumblatt told reporters. Two weeks of demonstrations forced the pro-Syrian government of Prime Minister Omar Karameh to quit on Monday, leaving officials with a complex search for a new head of government. The opposition yesterday held talks with the Syrian-backed Hezbollah resistance movement, which leads an anti-Israeli struggle, in the hope of persuading the group to join its ranks to win a Syrian troop pullout. With the country in crisis sparked by the Feb. 14 assassination of ex-Premier Rafik Hariri, Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah met with MP Ghazi Aridi, a close aide to prominent opposition leader Druze MP Walid Jumblatt. After the meeting, Aridi told reporters that his talks with Nasrallah and an earlier meeting with rival Shiite leader, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, were part of opposition efforts to ?ngage in dialogue ...with people who can play a role in helping to save Lebanon.?br / Nasrallah has also met with Christian opposition leaders. Hezbollah, which enjoys wide support from the regime, Syria and Iran, was instrumental in leading to the May 2000 Israeli troop withdrawal from southern Lebanon after 22 years of occupation. The group, along with other Shiite movements, has remained under the wing of the pro-Syrian regime facing a growing opposition which succeeded in forcing the resignation of Karameh. In an efforts appreciated by all sides, Nasrallah has repeatedly called for calm and national accord. ?ur only choice is dialogue if we care for Lebanon ... as the internationalization (of the issue) only complicates things,?he recently said. Walid Sharara, a specialist in Shiite affaires, said Hezbollah was seeking to ?lay the role of a mediator?between the parties in the dispute. ?his crisis is embarrassing Hezbollah which feels that a polarization of political life in Lebanon carries dangers and risks to limit its role as a dissuading force against Israel,?he said. ? few months ago, Hezbollah had a free hand in defending southern Lebanon by benefiting from the backing of the state and the Lebanese society,?he said. Hariri? assassination has dealt a severe blow to Hezbollah which lost a strong ally in the slain billionaire tycoon. ?ariri was engaged in contacts with his European friends to prevent them from putting Hezbollah on the list of terrorist organizations,?as requested by Israel, said Nasrallah. As the political crisis deepened, the international community piled the pressure on Syria which has dominated military and political life in Lebanon for almost three decades. In its latest broadside, the US accused Syria of being an obstacle to democratic reform in the Middle East and linked it to last week? suicide bombing in Israel that shook a fragile Israeli-Palestinian truce. And top US ally Britain warned Damascus against interfering in the political process in Lebanon with elections due by the end of May. ?hat I do know is that the international community will not tolerate anybody trying to interfere with the right of the Lebanese people to elect their own government, that? their right,?Prime Minister Tony Blair said in an interview..." http://www.arabnews.com/?page=4§ion=0&article=59842&d=3&m=3&y=2005&pix=world.jpg&category=Worlded on Dubai-based Al-Arabiya television."