The Guardians of the Cedars issued the following communiqué:

In his comments to the “Arabic” Channel, the Syrian President repeated yet again the same misconceptions he expressed in previous interviews, relying on the same ambiguous double-speak language that conveys one thing and its opposite at the same time, and which has been the Syrian regime’s standard fare for the past three decades.

He said “It is normal for Syria to re-deploy its troops now that the Lebanese Army has become capable and the Lebanese people have healed…” Some have welcomed these comments and considered them positive. However, one needs to read between the lines and behind them to find three major falsehoods in this little sentence:

First, he used the term “re-deploy” instead of “withdraw”, knowing well that it is an ambiguous term that has no meaning in the military and political lexicons. Had he been serious and clear, he would have said the withdrawal of his troops from the entire territory of Lebanon, and along with them the security and intelligence apparatus that he deliberately planted throughout the civilian and military institutions of the Lebanese state in order to secure the permanence of his influence in Lebanon, even after his departure, and to complete his control of the Lebanese state. Keep in mind that a withdrawal of Syria from Lebanon, when it happens, would be as a result of increasing American pressure after the Iraq war, and not out of voluntary Syrian goodwill.

Second, when the Syrian president says that the Lebanese Army has become “capable”, implying a Syrian role in this, everyone is aware that Syria was behind the disintegration of the Lebanese Army early in the Lebanese war and has continuously worked to weaken it because it feared it could become a substitute for its army in Lebanon. Only now that it has subdued the Lebanese Army, controlled its leadership, and sent its officers to train in its academies, that it is possible for Syria to be satisfied with the Lebanese Army. Only now that it has converted it into a brigade of the Syrian Army, prevented it from deploying along Lebanon’s southern borders or from entering outlaw Palestinian camps, used it only as a tool of repression against anti-Syrian demonstrations, and protecting its regime in Lebanon…Yet, truth be told, the Lebanese Army has always been capable, disciplined, and ready to carry out its national obligations if given the authority and initiative. This is especially true of 1973 when the Army was about to run over the Palestinian camps, destroy their military structures, end the crisis in its cradle, and avoid the country the miseries of war. However, it was prevented from doing that by political pressure from all sides, especially from Syria, which led to its absence and fragmentation. The collapse of the Army then was not caused by sectarian divisions as is often repeated by liars and idiots alike, but for purely political reasons.

Third, the statement that Lebanese “society” has healed – emphasizing the Syrian President’s use of the word “society” in line with the ideology that Lebanon is part of Syria which continues to refuse to recognize the Lebanese State as a sovereign and independent entity. And to say that Lebanese society has “healed” is political heresy, because the agony of Lebanon is caused by three decades of Syrian occupation. Prior to the Syrian occupation that converted it into a war zone a haven for terrorists, and a cesspool of anarchy, corruption, theft, and impoverishment, everyone knows that Lebanon was an oasis of peace and prosperity, a Switzerland of the Middle East.

In his famous Muqqadima, Ibn Khaldun himself once said: “There is no country where the Arabs entered that was not beset with destruction, and I am one witness from the people of one such country”.

Lebanon, at your service,

Abu Arz,

June 14, 2003.