Thursday, March 29, 2012

Living on the edge of Syria's bloody war

As Assad's troops fire shots across the border into Lebanon, the nation's religious factions remain bitterly divided on how to tackle their neighbour from hell: President Assad

By Robert Fisk

"Syria's bloodbath is carving further divisions in Lebanon as President Bashar al-Assad's Lebanese allies and enemies shout more and more insults at each other. The Christians have even divided among themselves, the old Phalangist leadership calling for Assad's overthrow while the Catholic Maronite church performs its old role of fence-sitting on behalf of Syria's minority Christians.

Only this week has the Maronite patriarch, Bechara Rai, had to re-explain himself for the umpteenth time after once more pleading for dialogue between Assad's regime and the Syrian people – instead of denouncing the government in Damascus for its killings. What will the Sunni majority of Syria think of such foot-dragging when its own Sunni kinsmen in Lebanon support them? Or so the Christians have been asked.

No one, of course, has gone further in calling for Assad's overthrow than Walid Jumblatt, the Druze leader who took the road to Damascus in 2010, only to denounce the Syrian authorities this month, adding that he knew they were responsible for his own father Kemal's murder 35 years ago....

Amid all the sound and fury and changing of sides – an essential act of all Lebanese politicians who want to survive – it is easy to forget that France, whose condemnation of Assad has been among the harshest, created this whole mess in the first place....."

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