Is Syria Next? Should It Be?
Recap: Rafik Hariri, billionaire and former Prime Minister of Lebanon, was blown to smithereens on Monday by a suicide bomber using at least 650 pounds of TNT that left his convoy of armored limousines looking much like crumpled tin foil.
Hariri, a true hero of the Lebanese independence movement, had recently stepped up opposition to the current Syrian-backed President Lahoud, along with his Druze, Maronite (Christian) allies and backing by the U.S and (believe it or not) France.
Oh, I can just hear 'em now...this will no doubt be decried by the leftward extremities (and their radical islamic allies) as yet another American conspiracy, meticulously planned in Washington to give us a good reason to do some more butt-kicking in the Middle East.
In a sense I think this may have been a consequence of our actions in Afghanistan and (especially) Iraq, but not in the way it will be painted by some liberals and other minions of silliness. The waves of democracy are spreading in the Middle East, folks...the election in Iraq has made its impression. Now, after years of occupation (15-30,000 Syrian troops) and control by Syrian President Assad (continuing his Dad's tradition), Lebanon is on its own meandering but undeniable path to independence and, perhaps, true democracy.
Strong words from Washington, including the recalling of our ambassador. As the remaining stronghold of the Baath party (to which Saddam Hussein belonged in Iraq), a major avenue into Iraq for insurgents along its huge common border, and a proven haven and supporter of terrorism, I do believe that it is time for ultimatums and sanctions against Syria. And unlike Iraq, Syria and Lebanon constitute a coastline of over one thousand miles -- in spite of the preoccupation of our ground forces, our Navy remains largely unengaged. Not to say that I advocate an attack at this time, but two or three carrier groups could wipe out all of Syria's Air Force, Navy and inland bases in a matter of a few short weeks.
Question: How firm should we be with Syria?
I salute Rafik Hariri, who was a brave man with a vision in a very dangerous world.