March 24, 2005

Withdrawal Timetable

The Syrian Ambassador to Washington:

Right now nobody, even in Damascus itself, knows the actual timetable," Imad Moustapha told an audience Wednesday at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

"We believe that it will happen sooner than you might expect."

Moustapha said Syrian and Lebanese military officials would meet at the beginning of April to draft a timetable for withdrawing troops.

"We will withdraw as soon as possible. The sooner, the better. And we're not talking about two or three months. We will do this very, very quickly," he said.

But he noted, Syria will withdraw "in a phased, organized way so that we will not create a vacuum" and further destabilize Lebanon.

That's about right, all told. An organized, if speedy, withdrawal remains important. The national mood is wary just now, however. That's not an argument for the Syrians to stick around. But it is a cautionary note that the process must be managed with care rather than wild exuberance. Regardless, it looks like Syrian troops will be out of Lebanon by June/July. This is, all told, a positive development given the national mood post-Hariri assassination. And what of all the Syrian mukhabarat in country, one wonders?

Posted by Gregory at March 24, 2005 05:16 AM | TrackBack (6)
Comments

Does anybody really believe Mr. Moustapha? No timetable is set because Bashar does not plan on giving this valued piece of property up at all, istead he is baiting the US to bargain. But one thing is for sure he will keep his intelligence apparatus in place to maintain syrian interests (mainly terrorist groups buffering Damascus from Israel). He cannot afford a neutral Israeli Lebananon relationship, nor another launching pad for US Special Forces or CiA to infiltrate from. We need to send a surgical message to both Hezbollah and Damascus that the US will not stand for Syrian interference in Iraq, Lebanon, or in Israli - Palestinian progress towards peace. We need to back this dog into the corner and kick it in its teeth!

Posted by: Clint GC at March 24, 2005 06:40 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

June / July is not a positive deadline if Lebanese elections are supposed to be April / May.

Posted by: Martin Adamson at March 24, 2005 12:02 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"We need to send a surgical message to both Hezbollah and Damascus that the US will not stand for Syrian interference in Iraq, Lebanon, or in Israli - Palestinian progress towards peace. We need to back this dog into the corner and kick it in its teeth!"

Why do we need to do that?

Posted by: praktike at March 24, 2005 02:08 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"We need to send a surgical message to both Hezbollah and Damascus that the US will not stand for Syrian interference in Iraq, Lebanon, or in Israli - Palestinian progress towards peace. We need to back this dog into the corner and kick it in its teeth!"

Because we want US interference to be pre-eminent!

Posted by: cynical joe at March 24, 2005 06:34 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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