Anti-Syria violence in Lebanon

Amidst ongoing pro- and anti-Syria protests in Lebanon, Damascus is beginning to call home some units stationed in the country—starting with the intelligence agents in Beirut and Bekaa Valley. Faced with this partial success, Bush has adopted a somewhat softer line on the pro-Syria Hezbollah in recent days, calling for the group to disarm and become a traditional political party—a demand rejected by the organization’s leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, who said: "I’m holding on to the weapons of the resistance because I think the resistance … is the best formula to protect Lebanon and to deter any Israeli aggression."

Largely unreported in the western press, the anti-Syria protests have also accompanied a wave of anti-Syrian violence—attacks on Syrian-owned shops and the like—which has claimed at least one life in Lebanon since the Feb. 14 car-bomb assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. (Turkish Press, March 12) (See our last blog post)