Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Time For Another Berlin Airlift?

In this great country called the United States, we hold that freedom is one of the highest ideals that we can export to the world. Given the bloody birth of this country, it should not surprise anyone that we are willing in many cases to lay our lives down in order for others to achieve freedom. The United States, along with France, has stood behind the people of Lebanon as they have thrown off the chains of their Syrian masters and marched toward a free and democratic country. Now as Lebanon faces challenges along the road, will we support them as actively as we do the people of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Lebanon now facing a growing economic crisis thanks to Syrian in large part. Lebanon shares borders with Israel and Syrian and since the border with Israel has been closed for the past 57 years, the only land route is through Syria. On a regular day, almost 300 truckloads of Lebanese products move across the border with Syria. Since the Syrians have stepped up truck inspections, the number allowed across the border has dropped to less then 50. Some trucks have been waiting at the border for up to ten days and the queues for inspection now stretch up to 12km.

As tensions mount along the border, some report that just the farming industry is losing up to $300,000 a day and losses could make a sharp dent into Lebanon's exports, which amounted to $1.7 billion last year. It would seem that not only are the Syrians willing to kill any Lebanese leaders opposed to their pervious rule but also now are willing to strangle the Lebanese economy. The interesting spin being dished by Syria is that they are simply complying with the request by the United States to taken their border security seriously since there is a flood of foreign terrorists moving through Syria to Iraq.

Interesting that Syria is trying to shift the blame to the United States for their latest actions against the fledgling democracy in Lebanon. Something must be done to help the Lebanese in this latest challenge to their freedom and since the French and the United States have been the primary backers of the Lebanese democracy, we must be the first to step up. The French may or may not hang with us on this, their motivations in the Middle East remain to be seen. The United States needs to step up pressure on the Syria government to ease the “inspections” on Lebanese commerce shipments, as well as put an end to the murder of anti-Syria politicians. If the slowing of shipments does not stop by Syria, could it be a good time to consider a modern version of the Berlin airlift? Have a great day everyone and remember to grab my latest podcast here.

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