Friday, November 24, 2006

Western retreat must be reversed

From THE JERUSALEM POST Editorial, Nov. 22, 2006 ...

The assassination of Pierre Gemayel is a reminder, if any was needed, of whom the West is dealing with. This was a classic Mafia-style hit to accompany Syria's standard criminal tactics: spread murder and mayhem in the hopes of extorting support for dictatorial rule.

According to the Economist, Syria would be pleased to accede to calls from some, such as James Baker, to "engage" with the US, and already has its list of demands prepared: an end to the Hariri investigation, a US guarantee not to undermine the Assad regime, a return of Syrian influence in Lebanon, and Israel handing over the Golan Heights. In exchange, presumably, Syria would pledge to stop fomenting terrorism in Iraq.

The shakedown, then, has already started. The choice before the US and Europe is straightforward: fight or submit. In truth, there is no choice, because only someone ignorant of history would fall for the notion that submission to such blackmail will buy quiet, rather than spurring more murders, terrorism and demands.

...Now is the time to enforce UN Security Council Resolution 1701, rather than standing by as it is added to the pile of tattered resolutions defending Lebanese independence. Since the war in Lebanon ended in August, Syria has been rearming Hizbullah in direct violation of the embargo imposed in Resolution 1701. That embargo lacks minimal monitoring and enforcement mechanisms, which should now be created - better late than never.

....In general, both Syria and Iran need to be shown that every atrocity committed by their proxies and agents will not spur Western submission to blackmail, but tougher measures against both regimes. The current trend of Western retreat must be reversed. On the contrary, rogue regimes must be put on the defensive with the ample means that free nations have to defend themselves.

....The millions of Lebanese and some of their leaders are showing considerable bravery in asserting their independence from Syrian and Iranian predations. The question is whether the nations which claim to defend their cause will show similar determination, and will take concrete actions to repel the onslaught of rogue regimes.

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