I said earlier that democracy must be contagious. Apparently many in Lebanon are hoping it becomes an epidemic.
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Thousands of demonstrators turned a square in Beirut into a sea of Lebanese flags Monday night and exploded into riotous celebration when the government unexpectedly quit after a parliament debate on Hariri's killing...
...Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice welcomed what she called moves to restore democracy in Lebanon.
"Events in Lebanon are moving in a very important direction," she said in London. "The Lebanese people are starting to express their aspirations for democracy… This is something that we support very much."
Rice and French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier repeated calls for Syria to withdraw its 14,000 troops from Lebanon. Such calls have grown louder since the Feb. 14 assassination of ex-premier Rafik al-Hariri.
Washington and Paris, co-sponsors of Security Council resolution 1559 demanding an end to foreign interference in Lebanon, called for general elections planned for May to be free and fair and suggested international assistance...
...The Lebanese popular will has triumphed… but this is not enough," main opposition figure Druze leader Walid Jumblatt told Reuters Television at his mansion in the Chouf mountain.
"The next step is to have an interim government to supervise the elections and the results of the elections, which will determine the next government which will in turn execute the Taif agreement with the Syrian government," he said.
The Taif Accord that ended Lebanon's 1975-90 civil war called for a redeployment of Syrian troops to eastern Lebanon, followed by agreement on a timetable for a full withdrawal.
Note that the UN has a resolution regarding the
situation Syrian occupation. That's why it's taken 15 years after the end of the civil war for Syria to withdraw their troops; the UN was trying to help, no doubt setting up coordinating coordinators to coordinate the withdrawal (apparently one soldier at a time).
But what's funny is if you actually look at UN Resolution 1559, you can tell the UN really means business with the harsh language of the document:
Recalling all its previous resolutions on Lebanon, in particular resolutions 425
(1978) and 426 (1978) of 19 March 1978, resolution 520 (1982) of 17 September
1982, and resolution 1553 (2004) of 29 July 2004 as well as the statements of its
President on the situation in Lebanon, in particular the statement of 18 June 2000
Reiterating... Noting... Gravely concerned... Reaffirming... Mindful... Declares... Calls upon... Requests...
Man that's scathing! Don't piss off the UN or the coordinate your demise for sometime early next decade.
And Michael Ledeen has gotten into the Lebanese surge for democracy. Here's the money quote:
The Cedar Revolution in Beirut has now toppled Syria's puppets in Lebanon, and I will be surprised and disappointed if we do not start hearing from democratic revolutionaries inside Syria — echoed from their counterparts in Iran — in the near future.
Many of the brave people in the suddenly democratic Arab streets are inspired by America, and by George W. Bush himself. It should go without saying that we must support them all, in as many ways as we can. Most of that support will be political — from unwavering support by all our top officials, to support for radio and television stations, and tens of thousands of bloggers, who can provide accurate information about the real state of affairs within the Middle Eastern tyrannies, to financial assistance to workers so that they can go on strike — but some might be military, such as hitting terror camps where the mass murderers of the region are trained. We are, after all, waging war against the terrorists and their masters, as is proven by the daily carnage in Iraq and Israel, and the relentless oppression and murder of democrats in Iran.
The president clearly understands this, but, in one of the most frustrating paradoxes of the moment, this vision is rather more popular among the peoples of the Middle East than among some of our top policymakers. For anyone to suggest to this president at this dramatic moment, that he should offer a reward to Iran for promising not to build atomic bombs, or that we should seek a diplomatic "solution" to Syria's oft-demonstrated role in the terror war against our friends and our soldiers, is a betrayal of his vision and of the Iranian, Israeli, Lebanese and Syrian people. Yet that sort of reactionary thinking is surprisingly widespread, from leading members of congressional committees, from the failed "experts" at State and CIA, and even some on the staff of the National Security Council.
Our most lethal weapon against the tyrants is freedom, and it is now spreading on the wings of democratic revolution. It would be tragic if we backed off now, when revolution is gathering momentum for a glorious victory. We must be unyielding in our demand that the peoples of the Middle East design their own polities, and elect their own leaders. The first step, as it has been in both Afghanistan and Iraq, is a national referendum to choose the form of government. In Iran, the people should be asked if they want an Islamic republic. In Syria, if they want a Baathist state. In Egypt and Saudi Arabia and Libya, if they want more of the same. We should not be deterred by the cynics who warn that freedom will make things worse, because the ignorant masses will opt for the fantasmagorical caliphate of the increasingly irrelevant Osama bin Laden. Mubarak and Qadaffi and Assad and Khamenei are arresting democrats, not Islamists, and the women of Saudi Arabia are not likely to demand to remain shrouded for the rest of their lives.
Faster, please. The self-proclaimed experts have been wrong for generations. This is a revolutionary moment. Go for it.