Israeli spies, Syrian obsession and a peace that had to break

And I also just read Robert Fisk's other article. It's again a perfect transfusion of my thoughts. And, yes, I felt something was coming as well.

We knew something was coming. I had met an old journalist colleague for coffee on Saturday and we both said we felt there was a new, menacing atmosphere about Beirut. We didn't mean the sky-high prices and the usual corruption stories, but the incendiary language in which Lebanese politics was now being conducted.


Forthcoming elections - and an attempt to change electoral boundaries that might have deprived anti-Syrian factions of parliamentary seats - contrived to heat up the controversy already begun by UN Security Council resolution 1559, principally supported by the Americans and French, which demands the withdrawal of all Syrian troops from Lebanon.


The Lebanese have no more appetite for war. The conflict which ended in 1990 destroyed their families and their homes and drained their lives of meaning. A new generation has returned from overseas educations, ambitious, irritated by the continuing sectarianism of official life as much as Syria’s much reduced military presence. But the Syrian intelligence service remains - its headquarters are in the eastern town of Aanjar - and its pursuit of Israeli spies and treachery has become an obsession.

Into this darkening scenario, Mr Hariri cast a wistful eye, seeing no evil and claiming to hear no evil. So what was his real role in the opposition? Was he merely a disinterested onlooker, gazing down from his palace walls at the small men of Lebanese politics as they bickered about gerrymandered political boundaries? Or did he have other ambitions? Yesterday proved that someone believed he did.

Again, Fisk captures everything so perfectly. He describes the situation very well. If you're curious, read the rest.

Israeli spies, Syrian obsession and a peace that had to break - Robert Fisk: 15 February 2005


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