Thursday, April 28, 2005

Cedar Revolution Analysis

Michael Young is the editor of the English-language Daily Star newspaper in Beirut. His column on Tech Central Station is interesting. Here's an excerpt:

In the shorter term, most Lebanese will be closely watching the rise to power of Saadeddine Hariri, the thirty-something son of the former prime minister, Rafik Hariri, whose assassination on Feb. 14 sparked anti-Syrian protests. In recent weeks, the Saudis effectively crowned the inexperienced Saadeddine their man in Lebanon (he headed the Hariri business operations in the kingdom), and set up meetings between him and President Bush and French President Chirac. He will certainly be elected to the next Parliament, and is surely a future prime minister.

But he is also something else: He is a Saudi message to the Syrian regime that the idea of a "strong Sunni" in Lebanon has been revived, despite Hariri's assassination. This is partly directed against the minority Alawite regime in Syria, which has sidelined Syria's Sunnis for some four decades. The Sunnis will be closely watching what happens in Lebanon, even as the Lebanese finally resume defining their own destiny. They are now free to make their own mistakes.

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