Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Friday, October 21, 2005

The Truth Outs
As was widely postulated to be the case, the UN report into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri has found that there was indeed Syrian influence.

The Middle East is filled with surrogate states that manipulate and largely control smaller states within their sphere of influence. This is no different to many other areas of the world, including the former USSR republics and the states within NAFTA. However, the Middle East has the issue of state-supported terrorism, which makes the meddling in the politics of the child state that much more dangerous. Hariri was a firm antagonist against Syrian intervention in the Lebanese state, and he paid the full price for his courage. Ultimately, his assisination led to widespread protest and the withdrawal of all Syrian troops from Lebanon for the first time since the late 1970's, thus backfiring on the Syrians. What punishment or self-recrimination will be upheld in Syria will be difficult to speculate, but most probably will be markedly less than is deserved.

State influence is one thing, but direct military intervention, leading to assassination, is one step too far. The more independent the Middle East states can become, the less they are funneled into one ideological bloc, and the more opportunities there will be to find peaceful solutions in the extended region.