March 14, 2005--

Lebanon plays Lebanese Poker against Hezbollah and Syria's Bashar Assad; See, raise and call-- 15,000 to 50,000 to 500,000 to 800,000.

            How did the Lebanese respond to the Syrian/Hezbollah demonstration amassing 500,000 people in response the initial anti-Syrian demonstration of approximately 50,000They responded with an anti-Syrian demonstration of 800,000 people.  

            Who knows how many of those participating in the pro-Syrian demonstration were sincerely pro-Syrian and how many were about as sincere as the crowds orchestrated by Saddam Hussein before he was toppled.  Given the dependence of Hezbollah upon Syria and Iran, one has to suspect that a significant portion of those 500,000 participated out of fear or for pecuniary motives, but there can be little doubt that at least several hundred thousand of those people are either sympathetic to, or fanatical supporters of, Hezbollah.  That's rather depressing.

            In contrast, however, the subsequent anti-Syrian demonstration by 800,000 rekindled the hopes that the massive pro-Syrian demonstration attempted to extinguish.  There can be little doubt that all but a tiny percentage of those demonstrators were motivated by factors other than a desire for Syria to cease its de-facto rule of Lebanon. 

            This is high-stakes poker, and neither the 800,00 nor at least several hundred thousand among the 500,000 are bluffing.  Sounds like the formula for a civil war.  Such were the fears in the Ukraine, where, fortunately, civil war has not erupted.  However, Lebanon has a long history of civil war.  That many of the factions that were at war with one another are now united in their opposition to Syrian control is encouraging, but the fact that the Hezbollah and the Syrians can mount such a large pro-Syria demonstration is troubling indeed.

            What choices do civilized people have when confronted with fanatical terrorists in their midst?  What choices do cancer patients have?  Is it better to live passively in a neighborhood controlled by The Mob or is it better to risk death or injury in an effort to defeat The Mob for the benefit of civilized posterity?  Will Europe have the will to support the threat, or infliction, of enough pain on Syria to force it to abandon its covert support of Hezbollah (in collaboration with Iran)?  Is the eye-doctor ruler of Syria near-sighted, far-sighted or blind?  He says he's "no Saddam Hussein," but if he were to really want to send a "signal" to the West, he should show that he's "no Hafez Assad."  The latter seems unlikely since apples rarely fall far from the tree.

--Jim Wrenn, Editor at PoliSat.Com.


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Mar. 14, 2005 #01 Daily Update at PoliSat.Com, where satire is always commentary, but commentary isn't always satire.

Title:  Lebanese Poker.

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