Cultural Revolutions

First Fruits

Syria's conquest of Lebanon is the first fruits of the Bush administration's Middle Eastern policy. While 200,000 American soldiers were fighting off boredom in Saudi Arabia, our newest noble ally in the region, "President" Assad of Syria, was storming the Christian positions in Beirut. With a 40,000-man force that included hundreds of Soviet T-54 tanks, the Syrian army finally broke the resistance of the Christian militia headed by General Michel Aoun. Early reports put the casualties at 300, but the death toll has climbed to at least 750, including a large number of Christian militiamen who were shot with their hands tied behind their backs.

The Syrian conquest, conducted under the very feeble pretext of assistance to the Syrian-backed Lebanese President Hrawi, marks the end not just of the fifteen-year civil war in Lebanon but of the country itself The tragedy of Lebanon is also a milestone in the deteriorating relations between Christians and Muslims in the Middle East. In the 1950's, Lebanon was a shining example of what a free economy and political toleration could achieve in a multiethnic society. The Christian half of the population did exercise a sort of political preeminence, but this special position was largely the effect of the economic success of the pro-Western, French-educated Christians. When pan-Arab nationalists attempted to overthrow the constitutional government of President Camille Chamoun...

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