Anorak News | The Road To Damascus

The Road To Damascus

by | 8th, March 2005

‘WHO would have guessed that so much hot air and bad rhetoric would fan the winds of change that are blowing across the Arab world?

Hands up who’s next

Well, George Bush for one, who, in light of Syria’s agreement to remove troops from Lebanon, is being seen in a new light by no less a paper than the Independent.

The Indy’s front page (“Was Bush right after all?”) highlights each of the Arab lands that are making the move towards democracy.

Could it be that Bush, the man lampooned in the nation’s press, is something more than an “inexperienced, born-again, messianic chancer”?

It almost seems too far-fetched to believe, especially in a paper such as the Indy, which has continually questioned not only the President’s mental capacity but so too his reasons for waging war on Iraq.

But things may not be as they first appear, and much work needs to be done. This is no rapid, irresistible revolution of the type that that drew back Europe’s Iron Curtain.

As the Times says, Syria is “playing for time”. Syrian troops are pulling back to the eastern part of Lebanon, but there remains no fixed date for their removal to their own country.

They must be hurried along if things are not to stall and momentum lost.

But while Syria’s embattled President Assad tries to save face, we return to the idea that the force pushing his tanks and armoured vehicles back over the Lebanese border is George Bush’s iron will.

And we, like the Indy, return to the question of how right Dubya was to order the invasion of Iraq.

The paper concedes that with Saddam Hussein removed from office, the region’s despots and unelected leaders have begun to worry.

But the paper also says much of the shift has to do with timing – Yasser Arafats’ death, Libya’s retreat from nuclear weapons and the assassination of Lebanon’s Rafik Hariri have all occurred within a short time span.

And in answer to its own front-page question, the Indy will not concede that the invasion of Iraq was the catalyst for regional change. “Such an interpretation may be seductive,” it says, “but it is self-serving, dangerous and, above all, wrong.”

Although, surely the paper must agree that having a large gun pointed at your head can make Assad and his peers move in any direction Bush considers best…’

Posted: 8th, March 2005 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink