Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Regime Enforcers

I'm not optimistic about Lebanon leading to a victory in Lebanon let alone spreading to Syria.

The Syrian regime has controlled Syria with only 10% of the population, the Alawites, as their base. I thought Lebanon could topple if the Shias sided with the Christians, Sunnis, and Druze out on the streets. Well, the Shias came out onto the streets, but they came out for Syria:

In the largest demonstration of Lebanon's weeks-old political upheaval, hundreds of thousands of Lebanese on Tuesday celebrated Syria's long military presence here and cheered as the influential leader of a militant Islamic party warned the United States and the opposition movement it supports to cease disrupting the country's volatile political system.

With the Shias representing maybe a third of the population, they can ensure continued Syrian control as long as they get weapons and support from the Syrian intelligence agencies.

Now, we have the tougher challenge of getting France, Russia, Germany, and Saudi Arabia to hold ranks and turn off the money spigots to Damascus in order to win in Lebanon.

Even if we can force Syria out of Lebanon and deprive Damascus of the money that Syria squeezes out of Lebanon, Syria might have enough cash to last a few years in the hopes they can ride out the latest storm.

We'll see. I'll certainly be happy if we can push a happy outcome here, but I don't count on it.