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March 12, 2005
UN: Syrian Agreement, Timetable On Complete Pullout

The UN envoy sent to Damascus to enforce the UNSC resolution calling for a complete Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon told reporters that he has an agreement to take back to Turtle Bay, implying that Syrian dictator Bashar Assad has agreed to a timetable for complete withdrawal:

President Bashar Assad reiterated his commitment to withdrawing all Syrian troops and intelligence agents from Lebanon, a U.N. envoy said Saturday, indicating that he had received a timetable for the pullout. Meanwhile, a convoy of Syrian troops returning home received a rousing welcome. ...

"I will present U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annanwith further details of the timetable for a complete Syrian pullout from Lebanon upon arrival in New York early next week," Roed-Larsen said in a statement read to The Associated Press by Roed-Larsen's spokesman Najib Friji.

Roed-Larsen also told reporters that the agreement complies with Resolution 1559 and that Assad has agreed to withdraw intelligence services as well as Army troops, a good portion of which have already evacuated Lebanon. Yesterday the Lebanese Army took control over Northern Lebanon for the first time in decades as the Syrians left for home, and Syrian units all over Lebanon are on the march eastward. With the exception of a few outposts outside of Beirut, the entire Syrian force in Lebanon has transferred itself to the Bekaa, three weeks ahead of schedule.

This week, Assad told Time Magazine to deliver the message that he was not Saddam Hussein, and that he intends to cooperate. This demonstrates the power of the new American credibility in the Middle East, thanks to the actions of George Bush in toppling Hussein and creating a protodemocracy in Iraq, delivering on his promise. So far, thanks to shortsighted politicians here in the US, that credibility remains mostly with Bush and the GOP. As freedom spreads and Bush gets the credit he deserves, that may start to change as the rabid International ANSWER/MoveOn crowd gets more discredited. Let's hope so.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 12, 2005 7:15 AM

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