What’s behind the Lebanese-Syrian tension?
On Monday former Lebanese PM Rafiq Hariri was assasinated. By whom? We don’t know.
The US and France have been digging their thumbs into Syria of late, and the US is keen to have everyone believe Syria was responsible.
Syria has 14,000 troops in Lebanon. They ended 25 years of bloody civil war in Lebanon.
But with the war over, and the final Israeli troops leaving in 2000, the Lebanese have been saying ‘enough’. The Syrian troops, it seems, aren’t needed any more.
Even Rafiq Hariri had been calling on them to leave, but he was still close to Syria.
At moments of US-Syria tension in the past, Hariri mediated.
He’d been a long-term supporter of the Syrian involvement in Lebanon. He was one of the architects of the Taif Accord which put an end to years of Civil War. That agrrement called on Syrian troops to remain stationed in Lebanon to keep the peace – just like the US forces which have been in Germany since the Second World War.
And Syrian Vice-President Khaddam was at the Hariri house to comfort Rafiq’s wife before his funeral this week.
So what about these pesky soldiers.
They’ve been leaving slowly – the number has been cut in half in the last decade. And last year the final Syrian troops left the Lebanese capital Beirut. The last remaining soldiers are in the border region.
What about the rest of them? Rumours say they’ll leave by the summer. And rightly so.