“It is positive that Syria would begin to withdraw its forces out of Lebanon, not just to the border” (Condaleeza Rice, US Secretary of State)
“President Assad appears to have met most of the conditions for the withdrawal.” (Dan Isaacs, BBC)
The world was a very different place four weeks ago. I’ve been ping-ponging: it’s nothing…no, the US jets are coming. It’ll blow over…no, Bush wont give up.
And Bush and Bashar had their own little game of ping-pong going on too.
Syria must implement UN Resolution 1559 – it’s the will of the international community, said Bush. But, but, Taif, pleaded Bashar.
A battle of wills was on.
But now Bashar has met Kofi Annan’s Envoy and agreed a timetable for pullout. We agree to the UN plan, and this is when we’ll do it. Problem solved. All that’s left now is to stick to that plan.
At the end of Bashar’s Time Magazine interview (it was the same magazine that he announced he wanted to resume peace talks with Israel a couple of years ago) he said, I want to co-operate, I’m no Saddam Hussein.
And co-operate he did.
But I couldn’t see beyond my own ping-pong psychology. So I asked a friend in a far away place who only knows about Syria because of me. Good news eh? He said. But it’s no different, i challenged. It is, it is, it seems like something is really happening.
And then I read this:
“The UN special envoy…left Syria…with a promise that the international community had been trying to wring from the country’s government for months. … and the diplomatic pressure that had been mounting on Syria since the assassination last month of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri may now recede.” (Keith Adams, BBC)
When the UN is satisifed, the world is satisfied with you.