"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." Bertrand Russell

Monday, February 28, 2005

Ironic Occupation

For two countries in a region of conflict that have problems in common, the proposed solutions could not differ more. As nearly every media outlet reports US calls for the withdrawal of Syrian troops from their occupational position in Lebanon they comically (or worryingly) fail to see any similarities in the US occupation of Iraq.

""The (UN) Security Council resolution that was passed last September was very clear in terms of what the expectations are with regards to Lebanon. It stated very clearly that foreign troops need to be withdrawn from Lebanon," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said at a briefing.

"Syria's continued presence in Lebanon is a destabilizing force in the region and a destabilizing force in Lebanon. Syria's continued support for terrorism is a problem, it is a concern that we have expressed directly to the government of Syria," he said.

Syria has maintained some 14,000 troops and intelligence officials in Lebanon in disregard of the UN resolution.

"Syria needs to change its behavior and use its influence in a constructive way to do what it can to prevent attacks like this from happening in the first place," McClellan added.

The United States made the demand after a huge explosion in Beirut on Monday killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 14 other people. This was believed to be the worst attack in the Lebanese capital since the end of the 1975-1990 civil war." (1)

President Bush has called for Syria, one of his so called 'axis of evils', to withdraw it's forces in response to the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri in Beirut a week ago. The assassination was quick to be blamed on Syria by the US, Israel and Lebanon's opposition party. Evidence, however, is still in short supply.

In 1989 the Taif agreement stipulated that a timetable would be drawn up for a complete Syrian withdrawal, something the US is unwilling to do in Iraq. How this is not commented is quite baffling.

"Syria has indicated it will start withdrawing some of its troops from Lebanon soon, but U.S. President George W. Bush has insisted it should "end its occupation" of its neighbour." BEIRUT (Reuters) (2)

While Syria maintains dinal in relation to the assassintion, accusations remain rampant and come before any scheduled investigation. This is obviously no surprise to anyone aquainted with the way in which the US handled the 9/11 investigation.

Other similarities are so simple to notice, one could resonably consider the mainstream media blinkered when it comes to US actions, accusations and interests.

The rhetoric has gone into over drive with talk of Lebanon becoming a becon of democratic light in the region. With the expulsion of Syrian troops high on the agenda of many Lebanese, a move on the governments part would indeed show a level of democracy. Much like Iraq there is much popular resentment due to foreign military occupation of Lebanese territory. This however will not be mirrored in the US occupied/ruled Iraq. And this is apparently not in the least ironic enough to report as such.

""The truth is, we can't stand Syria," protesters chanted, as well as "Syria out" and "Freedom, sovereignty, independence"." (2)

The difference in what this should result in, according to mainstream media outlets, represents quite a gap (morally and legally). The Syrian withdrawal is considered a 'no brainer', whereas a US withdrawal is plainly a decision that should be left to the US administration, no matter what the cost suffered by the Iraqi people.

The fact that any journalist can write "President George W. Bush has insisted [Syria] should end its occupation" of Lebanon without adding a laugh track speaks volumes for the media's "impartiality".

1. http://english.people.com.cn/200502/16
2. http://uk.news.yahoo.com/050222/325/fcyk0.html