As the world watches the savagery of the Syrian regime and its army slaughtering its own people, it ought to remember that once upon a time between the early 1970s and 2005 these same Syrian armed forces maintained "peace" in Lebanon.
The international community bears a great deal of the responsibility for the 30 years of Syrian occupation and brutality inflicted upon the Lebanese people because it, the international community, including the United States, the Europeans, the Russians, and all the Arabs of the Gulf (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE) and Egypt and others, all of them supported the same "peacekeeping" we are witnessing today inside Syria as it was practiced by the Syrian army on the people of Lebanon.
Instead of the "terrorist gangs" it claims to be fighting in Syria today, the Syrian regime back then claimed to be fighting the "pro-Zionist Christian isolationist imperialist crusaders" (all kinds of names to refer to the Christian Lebanese resistance that stood up to Hafez Assad and to Yasser Arafat, as they made their way into Lebanon massacring one village after village - foremost of which is Damour and its massacre in 1976 - and laying siege after siege to Beirut, Zahle, and other Lebanese cities. I was there, I lived through the all Syrian sieges of the 1970s and 1980s.
Remember the two little girls and their family who were killed in March 1989 by a Syrian shell that struck their boat as they tried to escape the siege of the Jounieh and the Christian enclave by boating their way out of the harbor to reach a larger ship going to Cyprus? I hope that the demented traitor General Michel Aoun remember that day, because he declared his War of Liberation against Syria triggering the Syrian barrage that did not stop until October 13, 1990. I also hope that the brutal criminal traitor of the Lebanese Forces, Samir Geagea, also remember how his militias at the time sided with the Syrian army against his own people because the same Americans whose feet he laps today promised him the presidency if he collaborated with them and the Syrians. What he got instead was 11 years in a prison cell.
For 30 years - from the early 1970s when the Syrians would enter Lebanese territory like they are doing today to kill and kidnap villagers and monks in the Lebanese towns bordering on the cesspool called Syria, until March 2003 when the first American official, General Colin Powell, then US secretary of state, for the first time ever used the term "occupation" in referring to the Syrian army in Lebanon. Up to that time, the code word used by American and Saudi and Qatari and Kuwaiti and Egyptian and French and British.....diplomacies to refer to the Syrian army's brutality in Lebanon was "presence".. Yes, the Syrian army and intelligence services were merely "present" in Lebanon as they engaged in kidnappings, assassinations, massacres, torture, shelling of cities and towns, and other refined modes of "Arab" peacekeeping. When pressed by the occasional decent Western journalist who dared challenge the central dogma of 30 years of Syrians as peacekeepers in Lebanon, Western and Arab officials would respond, "the Syrian army is a factor of stability in Lebanon"... perhaps they meant the "peace and stability of the prisons and the graves"...
Every American President and a horde of European and Arab lapdog leaders following the American lead met with the Syrian President (the murderous Assad father, Hafez, and today's butcher Bashar) every year in places like Geneva or Vienna to reseal the Syrian "role" in Lebanon. Everyone smiled as peace was maintained in Lebanon, provided the Syrian butcher also maintained the higher-prized peace on the Golan Heights. While in Lebanon, Syria claimed to want to help the Lebanese (via the PLO and Hezbollah and the PFLP... and other terrorist organizations) liberate their land from Israeli occupation in the south (an occupation that Syria itself caused). But in Syria itself, the Israelis had occupied and annexed the Golan Heights in 1967 and 1973, but the Syrians never allowed those same terror organizations from firing a single bullet to try and "liberate" the Golan Heights from a much more drastic Israeli occupation than the one Israel exercised in the Lebanese south. For 30 years, Syria pushed Lebanon into the crucible of war as the only active Arab front against Israel, murdering and killing and devastating my country, while it - Syria - and Egypt and Jordan and the Palestinians all made peace with Israel.
That, my friends, is the joke of Arab nationalism, followed by the joke of American foreign policy that never succeeds in doing anything useful other than seek short term short-sighted gains at the expense of long term decent solutions to problems it creates in the first place. And the Arabs, all nationalist Antars from behind their borders, follow like lapdogs the American edict. You see, they all have interests - the Americans will always kiss ass to Saudis and other wealthy Arabs for oil. The Americans will kiss ass to Syrians, Jordanians and Egyptians as they beg them not to bother Israel. And for all this "stability" (political and economic), American diplomacy has been to decimate and dismantle Lebanon, keep it on fire to enable all kinds of terror groups to thrive, thus keeping the pretext for a super-militarized Israel and for one day to settle the Palestinian refugees in this ruined Lebanon as a substitute Palestine, and to get Israel off the hook on the "Right of Return" of all the Palestinian refugees to Israel where they belong.
The United States was even willing to accept that these Syrian peacekeeping terror proxy groups bomb the US embassy twice, the French embassy twice, truck bomb the US Marines barracks and the French paratroopers compound in 1983, kidnap the Western hostages in the 1980s, ravage Lebanon for 30 years, assassinate US, French, Jordanian, Iraqi and other diplomats posted to Lebanon....and all manner of Syrian-sponsored "stability" mechanisms, just to keep Lebanon on fire but everyone else stable and non-threatening to Israel and to keep the oil flowing.
Even today, as the same Syrian army that ravaged Lebanon for 30 plus years continues the bloodbath in Syria itself, we see grandstanding and endless threats of even more sanctions.... but not one action. Not one. After all, Syria is a pathetic little dictatorship whose military might is a joke compared, for instance, to the 4th largest army in the Middle East that George W Bush claimed was the Iraqi army of Saddam Hussein (yet it fizzled like so many running rabbits in less than 48 hours in March 2003). No one - not Iraq, not Jordan, and certainly not Russia - will come to the rescue of the Syrian dictatorship. All it takes is a couple of well-targeted bombings inside Syria for the entire Syrian Baath edifice to crumble... A couple of well-targeted air strikes will lead to the collapse of the Syrian army, the defection en masse of thousands, the flight and entrenchment of the Syrian Alawi leadership to the Alawi region...
What "consequences" would obtain from attacking the Syrian regime to cause its collapse and stop the bloodbath? None as scary as all the idiot political pundits repeat ad nauseam. Nothing will happen. The only thing that would happen that scares the Americans, the Israelis, and their Arab poodles is for the Palestinian refugees in Syria and Lebanon to return to Israel, and for that reason alone, the West is willing to allow the Syrian regime to continue the bloodbath in Syria, as it ran a bloodbath in my country of Lebanon for more than 30 years. No other reason can explain the fears that keep the international community from acting against the Syrian regime.