March 01, 2005, 7:45 a.m.
Ending Syrian control could change the Middle East – but it won’t be easy.
By Nir Boms and Aaron Mannes
The car bomb that assassinated former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri rocked Beirut, but the political aftershocks could shake the entire region. The assassination has galvanized Lebanese anger towards their Syrian occupiers. But Lebanon is the crutch propping up the weak Assad regime, so the Syrians will not give up easily. If Lebanon is to be free, its people will require strong outside support. If the United States is committed to building a democratic Middle East, it should take advantage of the opportunity created by the tragedy of Hariri’s assassination and assertively support Lebanon’s democrats.