Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Syrian-Lebanese border woes

Mr. Abdul Rahman al-Rashed of Ashaq-al -Awsat newspaper and also General Manager of Al-Arabiya TV , has spearheaded some 'anti-Syria' rhetoric. So when Syria - which has left Lebanon after popular demonstration in Beirut and International pressure ( and rightly so anyway as I said in an earlier post it is about bloody time they did) - has started to implement tougher stances on its borders and sovereign waters, since Lebanon is a 'liberated' country now, Al-Rashed has suddenly changed his tune, and states 'Syrian behaviour is appropriate' .

In this article full of hardly hidden venom, he can only agree that Syria has the right to regulate its borders and to request from Lebanese fishermen not to fish without permission from its waters. Well why not would I ask ? The special relationship is over, let Lebanon solve its own problems especially that now it is within the range of interest of US, Israel and the West again. I expect they will give it more loans to do something about that huge deficit run by none-other than dear 'martyr' Hariri. As much as I deplore this guy's death we Lebanese know who and what he was exactly. Being half Lebanese myself gives me full right to criticize both my countries . Message to my Lebanese brothers , sovereignty runs on both sides !

Al-Rashed in his own words says :
"It may even benefit both parties to go through a period of a freeze in relations so the governments in Beirut and Damascus can analyze the leverage they possess and understand the importance of their neighbor. Bad neighborly relations can therefore be helpful in the sense that each party could reform itself without pressure from the other. The question remains as to who will pay the price in the upcoming weeks and months?
The Lebanese will need to swallow their pride and their fruits whilst patiently awaiting a resolution to the current crisis. Until relations are normalized, I advise Arab tourist and Lebanese visitors to avoid traveling to Lebanon by car, given that Damascus might shut its borders on their way back and they might have to sell the car for scrap by the end of the summer. "

Al-Rashed 's tone both in the Arabic version here and the badly edited/translated English version ( note to Asharq -al Awsat please do something about bad English as foreigners do read our media) above mentioned seems to suggest though that he is coming to this conclusion reluctantly.