The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Syria must learn to abide by international law

With the recent assassination of the former prime minister of Lebanon Rafik Hariri, Lebanon and Syria have jumped to the top of newspaper headlines. Syria has now become publicly viewed as the evil occupier, and although they deny it, the Syrians are being blamed for Hariri’s assassination.

Under pressure from much of the world community, and now some of its neighbors in the Middle East, Syria decided it would start pulling its troops out, and back toward the border. After a large pro-Syrian rally in Beirut, however, organized by the Islamic terrorist group Hezbollah, and another rally in Damascus to show support for Syrian President Bashar Assad, Syria may not, in the end, make all the changes they originally agreed to.

Pro-Syrian Lebanese Prime Minister Omar Karami resigned under extreme pressure about two weeks ago, but he has already been reinstalled by Lebanese President Emile Lahoud.

So what exactly makes Syria think it can ignore the world community and stand on its own with support only from Hezbollah in continuing its occupation of Lebanon?

During Lebanon’s civil war from 1975 to 1989, many of its regional neighbors, including Syria, Iraq, Iran, Israel, became involved in the conflict to help their own interests. The war has been over for over 15 years, and Syria has remained as occupiers since then.

In 1989, the Taif Accord was signed with the intention of moving Syrian troops out and into the Bekaa Valley, and within two years, completely out of Lebanon.

It’s taken Syria more than 15 years to live up to this agreement. Why have they not been pressured by the international community to remove themselves from Lebanon?

Some of that blame must lie with the United States not ensuring that the pullout happened, but other countries in the region and throughout the world should have made Syria stand up to the accord and let Lebanon, an independent country, run its own government.

In 2004, the United Nations Security Council approved resolution 1559, voting unanimously in favor of free presidential elections in Lebanon, without foreign interference. One of the seven contingency issues the council demanded was that all remaining foreign forces withdraw from Lebanon.

Syria again did nothing, and even now, with its partial withdrawal, let it be known they were backing off in agreement with the Taif Accord, and not because of the Security Council’s resolution.

Syria is one of the most corrupt governments and one of the worst human rights violators in the world, and is doing nothing to change its image. Assad needs to get out of his father’s shadow and do something positive for his country. Should it come out that Syria was in any way responsible for Hariri’s assassination, major sanctions should and will be placed on them.

Assad has seen what has happened to two regimes that opposed the United States in Saddam’s Iraq and the Taliban’s Afghanistan. If he’d like Syria to become the third, I’m sure President Bush can find a reason to make the toppling of their regime come to fruition.

Assad’s other option is to get the corruption out of his government by getting out of bed with Hezbollah, and maybe showing the world he is trying to take positive steps in changing his country for the better.

Syria needs to not only plan a full withdrawal of its troops from Lebanon, but also to get all of its corrupt intelligence officers out as well. Syria needs to let Lebanon become its own country, and cease impositions of its political and military will.

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