The growing willingness of Lebanese to challenge Syrian hegemony openly is undermining the world's sole remaining satellite state. Since April, thousands of university students throughout the country have participated in dozens of major protests against

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The growing willingness of Lebanese to challenge Syrian hegemony openly is undermining the world's sole remaining satellite state. Since April, thousands of university students throughout the country have participated in dozens of major protests against the occupation. Lebanese human rights groups have launched vibrant public campaigns on sensitive issues—such as the illegal detention of hundreds of Lebanese in Syrian prisons—that were once discussed only in private forums. Prominent journalists, such as Gibran Tueni and Samir Frangieh, have shattered the wall of silence that once stifled the Lebanese media.

On the other hand, Syrian president Bashshar al-Asad appears to share his late father's obsessive desire to achieve Syrian-Lebanese integration. "We consider the relationship with sisterly Lebanon a model of good relations between two Arab states," Asad said in his inaugural speech last summer, adding ominously that "this model is not yet complete."1 Just as he has sought to put a kinder and gentler face on Syria's dictatorship and thus ensure its survival, the young dictator is trying to preserve his birthright to govern Lebanese affairs by introducing limited changes to co-opt the opposition, while strengthening economic and political ties between the two countries.

While it is too early to forecast the success or failure of Asad's efforts to recalibrate Syrian authority over Lebanon, a close examination of opposition to the occupation and the Syrian regime's efforts to contain it suggest that he faces an uphill battle.

External Factors

Several key developments converged in 2000 to facilitate a resurgence of national unity among an unusually broad spectrum of Lebanese. The timing and scope of the revolt against Syrian hegemony was set in motion primarily by three events outside Lebanon: the demise of American-brokered peace talks between Israel and Syria, the death of Syrian president Hafiz al-Asad, and the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon.

Stalemated Arab-Israeli diplomacy. The conventional wisdom, both in the West and in Lebanon, has long been that Syrian hegemony in Lebanon would recede upon the conclusion of a Syrian-Israeli peace treaty. The quiescence of most Lebanese over the last decade has resulted, partly, from the belief that an end to their misery was in sight. The breakdown of negotiations between the two sides in January was therefore received in Lebanon with a mix of anger and frustration, underscoring the futility of waiting for a regional peace settlement to deliver Lebanon from Syrian control. These sentiments peaked on the eve of the March 2000 summit in Geneva between presidents Bill Clinton and Hafiz al-Asad (from which Lebanese officials were conspicuously excluded). Gibran Tueni, the editor of Lebanon's An-Nahar daily newspaper, published an open letter to Syria's heir apparent, calling for the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon.2 As the first major journalist in nearly a decade to make so explicit a demand, Tueni broke a long-standing taboo and opened the way for a stream of similar editorials in other publications.

Change of rule in Syria. Most Lebanese perceive the ascension of Bashshar al-Asad as president of Syria, following the death of his father in June, as an opportunity to realign the patron-client relationship between the Syrian and Lebanese regimes. Two hopes provide the basis for this perception. The first is that Bashshar is not ideologically or temperamentally inclined to maintain absolute control over Lebanon; those who hold out this hope point to recent signs of a softer approach by Damascus, such as permitting the defeat of some of its allies in Lebanon's August-September 2000 parliamentary elections. The second hope is simply that the young dictator has not yet become strong enough to crush opposition to his authority in Lebanon.

Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon. The end of the Israel's eighteen-year occupation of Lebanon in May 2000 also influenced views of the Syrian presence. On one side, the Israeli departure has reduced the costs of the Syrian occupation, since Syria's sponsorship of Lebanese and Palestinian paramilitary groups no longer subjects the population of Lebanon to painful Israeli reprisals.

Against that, however, many Lebanese expect that American and international pressure for a Syrian withdrawal will eventually materialize now that the Israelis have left. Former U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright's remark on June 7—that she "would hope very much that the Lebanese army would begin to move into southern Lebanon and that the Lebanese would take control over their own territory and all foreign forces would depart"—was reported extensively in the Lebanese press.3 References to United Nations Security Council Resolution 520, which mentions "the withdrawal of all non-Lebanese forces" is now a staple of anti-Syrian newspaper editorials, student protests, and speeches by Lebanese opposition figures.4

In addition, the Israeli occupation no longer provides the Lebanese regime with an outlet for channeling expressions of Lebanese nationalism away from the Syrian occupation. In the authoritarian political climate that has prevailed in Lebanon for the past ten years, protesting the Israeli occupation was the only permissible way for Lebanese to articulate openly their acute feelings of indignation over their country's loss of sovereignty to outsiders. Now, Syria is the obvious target of such indignation. Lastly, while critics of the Syrian occupation are still routinely accused of collaboration with Israel by Damascus and its Lebanese political clients, these charges have lost their political weight.

Internal Factors

Several factors internal to Lebanon created fertile ground for renewed opposition to Syrian authority and facilitated the emergence of a strong public consensus on this matter.

Economic deterioration. The economic problems of recent years have dramatically highlighted the material costs of the Syrian military presence, which most ordinary Lebanese see as detracting significantly from their financial well being. Two economic spillovers of Syrian political domination have been particularly salient. According to one recent estimate, 1.5 million Syrian workers reside in Lebanon without work permits and paying no taxes. Their presence has a detrimental impact on the soaring unemployment rate in Lebanon and siphons off from the treasury an estimated $3 billion annually in permit fees and taxes.5 The Syrian practice of dumping produce and other goods into the country, inflicting large losses on local farmers and businesses, has also had a devastating impact on economic conditions in Lebanon. Well-placed Syrian businessmen freely use special military roads to bypass customs stations on the border.

Public resentment of these economic costs has been particularly evident in the overwhelming response to recent campaigns by student activists affiliated with Michel Aoun's Free National Current (FNC, At-Tayyar al-Watani al-Hurr), who have volunteered to perform for free menial labor typically done by Syrian workers and to assist Lebanese farmers in selling their produce. A series of armed attacks on Syrian workers over the last year, ostensibly by a group calling itself Citizens for a Free and Independent Lebanon, further underscore the depth of public resentment.6

So unanimous is public consensus on this financial issue that virtually all political elites have publicly conceded in one way or another that economic relations with Syria must be improved. Even Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, an ally of the Asad regime, said recently that "perhaps certain jobs that are now being done by Syrians should be done by Lebanese workers," though he was quick to note that "this can be discussed in perfect friendliness and amity" with Syria.7

Symbolic anniversaries. Another factor was the occurrence in 2000 of two anniversaries: the twenty-fifth anniversary of the onset of Lebanon's civil war (on April 13) and the tenth anniversary of Syria's invasion and occupation of East Beirut (on October 13). The former anniversary reminded Lebanese that 17,000 civilians who disappeared during the civil war are still unaccounted for, a fact for which many blame Syria and its Lebanese allies. The second anniversary vividly underscored a decade of empty promises to the effect that the American-sanctioned entry of Syrian troops into Beirut would be a temporary expedient along the way to a new era of peace and prosperity.

Elements of the Opposition

Two sources of the growing civil revolt against Syrian occupation - increased involvement of Muslims and the Left - distinguish it from other efforts at resistance over the previous decade.

Muslims. Over the last ten years, virtually all Muslim political and religious elites in Lebanon have obliged Damascus by not directly criticizing the Syrian occupation. This is now ending. During a recent televised parliamentary debate on the Syrian presence, former prime minister ‘Umar Karami, a Sunni member of parliament (MP), proposed that a "national congress" be convened to study the issue. Druze MP Walid Jumblatt went much further, criticizing the "interference" of Syria in Lebanese affairs and calling upon Damascus to review its stationing of troops in areas "which have nothing to do with strategic requirements."8 Najib Miqati, a prominent Sunni politician from Tripoli, and former parliament speaker Husayn al-Husayni, a senior Shi‘ite politician, have expressed similar sentiments in recent months.9 Husayni's questioning of Lebanese-Syrian ties is particularly resonant since he presided over the signing of the decisive Ta'if Accord of 1989 during his tenure as parliament speaker.

This anger reflects the fact that, in some respects, Muslim Lebanese have suffered more than Christians under the Syrian occupation. For example, the majority of Lebanese abducted by Syrian forces during and after the civil war appear to have been Muslim. This is intuitively clear from the fact that Syrian forces have been deployed most heavily in Muslim areas of Lebanon during the last twenty-five years. It is empirically evident from the fact that only a handful of the 121 detainees released by Syria in March 1998 were Christians. Most of the forty-six detainees released in November 2000 were also Muslims. The abduction and killing of Christian clerics by Syrian forces (or their militia proxies) has been relatively uncommon, while outspoken Muslim clerics have frequently been targeted for retribution.

At the encouragement of Syrian officials, many high-ranking Muslim figures have condemned those who call for a Syrian withdrawal, accusing them of religious extremism. For example, the Sunni Union of Ulema in Akkar (an area heavily occupied by Syrian forces) accused the Maronite church of "instigating fanaticism and strife and blaming others for the country's ills."10 And Sheikh Bahjat Ghayth, the Druze religious leader, said that criticism of Syria "runs counter to the unity of the Lebanese people, coexistence, and Islamic-Christian dialogue."11 But the fact that most Muslim religious and political leaders speak out in support of the Syrian occupation reflects the realities of power politics, not the wishes of Lebanese Muslims.

It is no surprise that the grand mufti of Lebanon's Sunni Muslim community has faithfully parroted Syrian propaganda—his predecessor, Sheikh Hasan Khalid, was assassinated in May 1990 after defying the Syrians. Similar fates befell the last two Muslim members of parliament who explicitly condemned the Syrian occupation. Sunni MP Nazim Qadri was assassinated two days before the 1989 Ta'if conference convened after calling for a Syrian withdrawal. Weeks later, Sunni MP ‘Abd al-Majid ar-Rifa‘i (who condemned the occupation from abroad) watched helplessly as two hundred of his followers in Tripoli were arrested by Syrian intelligence.

To be sure, no Muslim religious authority has officially said anything akin to the October statement of the Council of Maronite Bishops, which explicitly called for a Syrian withdrawal. But the fact that a handful of Muslim political leaders have taken the enormous risk of voicing their support for this call is nevertheless striking. According to Lebanese press reports, Syrian officials are deeply concerned that this "legitimizes" Christian demands and gives them a "national dimension."12

The Left. Overt opposition to the Syrian presence is not only becoming increasingly multi-sectarian but is beginning to spread throughout the ideological spectrum as well. The most dramatic illustration of this trend is the revolt within the Lebanese Communist Party (LCP) of a dissident faction, led by Elias ‘Atallah, calling for a "reappraisal" of Lebanese relations with Syria. In an open letter published by the Lebanese press in September, the "reform and democracy forces" of the LCP condemned the detrimental economic impact of the Syrian occupation, accused Secretary-General Faruq Dahruj of "rubbing shoulders" with Syrian officials in his (unsuccessful) quest to win election to parliament and called on the party's leadership to resign.13 On Lebanon's Independence Day, November 22, leftist student groups joined the FNC in organizing a massive demonstration outside the National Museum to protest against the Syrian presence.

The mainstream Left has also begun gravitating toward this position, albeit more cautiously. Dahruj, it should be noted, later issued public statements of support for Walid Jumblatt after the latter was declared persona non grata by Damascus for his statements in parliament (see below). George Hawi, a former secretary-general of the LCP, recently established a "National Consultative Grouping," backed by conservative Christian politicians such as Amine Gemayel and Nayla Mouawad, with the aim of pressuring President Emile Lahoud "to deal with such issues as Lebanese-Syrian bilateral relations."14

Syria's Response

Damascus and its client regime in Beirut have reacted to the recent wave of overt opposition to Syrian authority by employing the same methods of stifling dissent that have been successful in the past. But the results have been disappointing.

Coercion. Damascus continues to employ coercion as frequently as ever. Since April 2000, scores of student activists have been injured or subjected to detention by Lebanese security forces for openly condemning the Syrian occupation.15 On December 8, An-Nahar journalist ‘Adnan Sha‘ban was arrested after he wrote an article criticizing the head of Syrian military intelligence in Beirut, Rustum Ghazali. More subtle forms of coercion have been employed to intimidate those who provide forums for opposition activity. On November 4, Syrian intelligence officers reportedly forced a restaurant owner in Dahr al-Wahsh to cancel a dinner organized by the FNC. Tueni was recently forced to skip a speaking engagement after the sponsor (a Catholic school) was intimidated by security forces and canceled the event.

Such measures have not, however, dampened the resurgence of vibrant debate about the Syrian presence within Lebanese civil society. There is safety in numbers, and as increasing numbers of Lebanese participate in such activities, the personal risks faced by any one individual fall considerably, creating a snowball effect that induces others to take part and drives down the risks still further.

This tangible perception of reduced risks was evident at a conference on November 14–15 organized by the Cultural Movement of Antelias. Although the conference was ostensibly designed to discuss steps to improve Lebanese-Syrian relations, the nineteen speakers focused mainly on the "irresponsible" and "weak" approach taken by the Lebanese government in relations with Damascus, particularly in the economic realm. And the widely acknowledged presence of intelligence agents in the audience did not subdue this untrammeled discussion—in fact, the Cultural Movement's general secretary, ‘Isam Khalifa, even mocked the agents, telling the attendees, "We know they've brought their tape recorders, and our words will reach them really fast."16

Distraction Another Syrian tactic has been to permit Hizbullah's resumption of hostilities with Israel, in hopes of refocusing attention on the "Zionist enemy" and its alleged occupation of Lebanese territory in the Shab‘a Farms area. This has been accompanied by the usual statements from Lebanese president Emile Lahoud, alleging that criticism of Syria is "stirred from abroad" and "renders a gratuitous service to Israel."17 But this has not worked—there is no palpable sense of public outrage concerning the Shab‘a Farms dispute. In fact, the tactic has backfired insofar as Syria's hand in the resumption of violence in south Lebanon was widely presumed in the Lebanese press. Even the relatively docile English-language Daily Star wrote in an editorial that the Hizbullah operation two days earlier "could have been triggered mainly by a desire to shift attention from the issue of Syria's presence."18

Integration. Damascus has pushed forward its drive for economic integration between the two countries. On November 17, for example, Syria and Lebanon signed agreements to bolster trade exchanges, institute cross-border banking legislation, speed up construction of a gas pipeline between Homs and Tripoli, rehabilitate the Akkar-Tripoli and Riyak-Damascus railway lines, and build an electricity line between Ksara and the Syrian city of Hama. The reasoning behind this policy is that it increases the direct benefits accruing to Syria while providing a strong foundation for preserving Syrian authority over Beirut in the event that Syrian military forces redeploy from the greater Beirut area. Moreover, economic integration is designed to give Lebanese commercial elites a strong stake in Syria's economic recovery. However, such measures have done little to stifle widespread criticism of the economic costs of Syrian domination.

Co-option. In the past, Syria has been remarkably adept at suppressing the mobilization of dissident movements by co-opting Lebanese political elites, who have been all too willing to sacrifice their ideals on the alter of personal advancement. As a result, opposition to Syrian authority within Lebanon has been disorganized, diffuse, and largely leaderless during the last ten years. However, the usual carrot-and-stick tactics have not worked that well this time around. Tueni and other "new generation" opposition leaders have steadfastly refused to abandon their sharp criticisms of the Syrian occupation—not necessarily because they are more immune to the enticement of personal advancement than establishment elites, but because they recognize that Syrian patronage will no longer be an iron-clad guarantee of political influence in the years to come.

Bashshar al-Asad has attempted to dilute the influence of anti-Syrian campaigners by offering traditional Christian politicians re-entry into Lebanese political life, but this has completely backfired. For instance, former president Amin Gemayel was permitted to return to Lebanon in late Julyon the condition that he refrain from openly attacking the Syrian occupation. Gemayel initially complied with these conditions. Asked by a reporter shortly after his arrival if the Syrian presence constituted an occupation, Gemayel meekly replied "I would prefer not to answer that."19 Over the next seven months, however, Gemayel gradually resumed his criticism of Syria. In February, Gemayel made headlines by declaring that "Lebanon is occupied and it's will has been stolen" during a lecture at the Lebanese American University and insisted that he is in the "same trench" as Michel Aoun.20 Other Christian politicians previously barred from the establishment were allowed to join Syrian-brokered electoral coalitions to win seats in parliament last year. However, like Gemayel, they have shown fewer and fewer signs of honoring the deals they were rumored to have made with Damascus.

Even some members of the Asad regime's inner circle of Lebanese allies have begun to understand that their political futures can no longer be assured by Damascus (and that Syrian disapproval is no longer the death knell of a political career). Syria's attempts to rein in Walid Jumblatt after his stinging criticism of Syrian "interference" before parliament illustrate the problems Damascus faces in isolating and silencing members of its own flock. Shortly after Jumblatt made his comments, a member of the Lebanese branch of Syria's ruling Ba‘th party, MP ‘Asim Qansu, singled him out for an unusually harsh rebuke. "You have exceeded all limits," he told the Druze chieftain, adding that "overt and covert agents [of Israel] will not be protected from the rifles of the resistance fighters," a remark widely interpreted in the Lebanese press as a veiled threat of assassination.21 Shortly thereafter, the Lebanese daily As-Safir quoted "informed" Syrian political sources as saying that Jumblatt and other members of his Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) were "no longer welcome at an official level" in Damascus.22 As if to underscore what this meant precisely, Jumblatt's chief rival for leadership of the Druze community, Tallal Arslan, made a highly publicized trip to meet Asad.

Jumblatt was initially shaken by the ferocity and swiftness of the Syrian response, canceling two public debates on the occupation in reaction to what he called a climate of "political and intellectual terrorism."23 Meanwhile, sources close to Jumblatt emphasized to the press that he had not actually called for the full withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon and stressed the many "sacrifices" the Druze leader had made on behalf of Syria in the past.24 However, whatever doubts Jumblatt may have had about his insubordination quickly subsided when thousands of Druze assembled in the Shouf village of Mukhtara on November 12 to express support for Jumblatt.25 Fearing that Jumblatt, bolstered by popular support both among his own Druze constituency and the population at large, will completely jump ship, Damascus later rescinded its ban. The tail, it seems, has begun to wag the dog.

Concessions. In light of the failure of the usual methods to silence dissent in Lebanon, Bashshar al-Asad has begun experimenting with a tactic seldom used by his father—backing down. For instance, late last year, students and faculty at the Lebanese University went on strike, drawing widespread public support, to protest the state's policy of exempting Syrian students from taking entrance exams. After some initial hesitation (and a flurry of consultations with Syrian officials), the Lebanese regime reversed the policy in December. At around the same time, Damascus released forty-six Lebanese detainees from its prisons. In January, the secretary-general of the Lebanese-Syrian Higher Committee announced that Damascus is willing "to discuss means to regulate the presence of Syrian workers in Lebanon."26

To reduce the visibility of Syrian forces, Damascus also evacuated a handful of checkpoints in and around Beirut last year. Most recently, the Syrians were reported to have abandoned the Hadath al-Jubbeh checkpoint in the district of Bishari.27 Pro-Syrian elites have even hinted (and, in one case, openly stated) that there will soon be a limited redeployment of Syrian forces to the Beka'a Valley in eastern Lebanon, as stipulated by the 1989 Ta'if accord. That accord, brokered by the Arab League and signed by Lebanese parliamentarians, stipulated that Syrian forces redeploy to the Beka'a Valley within two years of the formation of a national government and that the size and duration of the military presence be explicitly defined by the Lebanese and Syrian governments. By year's end, such measures had succeeded in bringing about a modest lull in overt expressions of anti-Syrian dissent.

Bashshar's Choice

Despite the growing opposition, there are few signs that Damascus is willing to relinquish its political and economic control over Lebanon. Symbolically, pictures of the late Hafiz al-Asad and his son remain ubiquitous. Substantively, the Syrian military presence has not diminished, though minor redeployments have occurred in order to reduce the Syrians' exposure to the public eye. But Syrian soldiers and intelligence agents continue to man checkpoints along all major highways, at the entrances to major urban centers, and in the immediate vicinity of vital government ministries.

This reluctance by the Syrian rulers to disengage from Lebanon is not particularly surprising in light of the billions of dollars they derive annually from the occupation. Bashshar al-Asad also has a more direct stake. Many of the regime's old guard have enriched themselves through illicit dealings in Lebanon and have a significant stake in continuing the occupation. As a political novice, the new Syrian president has to tread very carefully in asserting control over established forces in a regime inherited from his father.

Another important Syrian interest necessitating military control over Lebanon is preventing the Lebanese army from deploying in strength along the southern border area vacated by Israeli forces in May. That leaves Hizbullah and other paramilitary groups armed or backed by Damascus free to increase tensions in the area whenever Syrian leaders find this useful. In the absence of a dramatic diplomatic turnabout with Israel, Asad has no reason to abandon this bargaining chip.

In light of what is at stake for the young Syrian president, even the most optimistic Lebanese political analysts talk not of a Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon in the near future, but of a limited redeployment to the Beka'a. However, such a move will not diminish opposition to Syrian authority in the long-term. In fact, it may not do so even in the short-term—Lebanese nationalists will undoubtedly characterize the redeployment as a turning point in the consolidation of Syrian hegemony over the country and a vindication of their adamant refusal to compromise. In November, a senior Syrian official expressed concern that unilateral Syrian moves will be portrayed as having been taken under pressure from the campaign against the Syrian presence.28 As Israel learned in the mid-1980s, a partial withdrawal from Lebanon will only embolden those who resist occupation. Asad will eventually be faced with a basic and difficult choice: undertake a violent crackdown or withdraw Syrian forces altogether.

Few believe that increased coercion will subdue Lebanon. In 1990, the Lebanese were exhausted by over fifteen years of bloody civil conflict and yet they still demonstrated fierce resolve in the face of a Syrian military takeover. A violent crackdown this time around may be even more likely to evoke determined resistance. Moreover, while the international community has in the past been very indulgent of Syria's control over Lebanon, this recognition has been conditioned on Damascus maintaining stability and peace in the country. An armed conflict in Lebanon could spell the end of such appeasement.

An attempt to restore Syrian authority by force could also have serious repercussions for Bashshar al-Asad at home. When Sunni Islamists in Lebanon have made common cause with their Syrian co-religionists against the predominantly ‘Alawi, secular regime in Damascus, the consequences have been devastating. Opposition within the Lebanese Druze community could similarly undermine support for Asad at home; according to one report by Syrian journalist Subhi Hadidi, large numbers of Syrian Druze rallied to Jumblatt's defense after his recent dispute with Damascus and "pictures of the Druze leader appeared in unprecedented numbers in Suweida [a town in Syria], on walls, in shops, and on roadsides."29

Thus, an escalation of violence in Lebanon would not only bring an end to Syria's reconciliation with the West but might also require that Asad abandon all pretenses of political liberalization and end the peace process with Israel in order to maintain stability at home.

In a rare moment of candor following last year's failed Geneva summit, French defense minister Alain Richard said that "one of Syria's main assets is its domination over Lebanon" and expressed his fear that "any settlement [in the peace process] that would call into question its domination over Lebanon, even if it means regaining Syrian territory, does not suit it."30 Whether or not maintaining control of Lebanon will continue to trump all other concerns in Damascus remains to be seen.

Gary C. Gambill is a Ph.D. candidate in politics at New York University and editor-in-chief of Middle East Intelligence Bulletin at http://www.meib.org.
1 Syrian Arab television (Damascus), 17 July 2000.

 

2 An-Nahar (Beirut), Mar. 23, 2000. Reprinted in the Middle East Quarterly, June 2000, pp. 91-92.

3 Press release, U.S. Department of State (Washington, D.C.), June 7, 2000.

4 Contrary to popular belief in Lebanon, however, Resolution 520 does not explicitly call for non-Lebanese forces to withdraw. It does demand "strict respect for Lebanon's sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity, and political independence under the sole and exclusive authority of the Lebanese government." But it merely notes "Lebanon's determination to ensure the withdrawal of all non-Lebanese forces."

5 Estimates by Lebanese economist Bassem Hashem, The Daily Star (Beirut), Nov. 16, 2000.

6 As-Safir (Beirut), Sept. 26, 2000, Jan. 25, 2001; Gary C. Gambill, "Syrian Workers in Lebanon: The Other Occupation," Middle East Intelligence Bulletin, Feb. 2001, at http://www.meib.org/articles/0102_l1.htm.

7 Radio Monte Carlo (Paris), Nov. 17, 2000.

8 Mideast Mirror, Nov. 7, 2000.

9 Monday Morning (Beirut), Nov. 20, 2000.

10 The Daily Star (Beirut), Oct. 4, 2000.

11 As-Safir (Beirut), Sept. 22, 2000.

12 Al-Mustaqbal (Beirut), Nov. 9, 2000, Jan. 9, 2001.

13 Daniel Nassif, "Dissidents in Communist Party Revolt against Damascus," Middle East Intelligence Bulletin, Nov. 2000, at http://www.meib.org/articles/0011_l3.htm.

14 The Daily Star, Jan. 25, 2001.

15 "Free Speech Punished in Lebanon," Human Rights Watch press release, Apr. 27, 2000.

16 The Daily Star (Beirut), Nov. 16, 2000.

17 Al-Manar television (Beirut), Nov. 4, 2000; LBC television (Beirut), Nov. 21, 2000.

18 The Daily Star, Nov. 18, 200.

19 Le Soir (Brussels), Aug. 7, 2000.

20 An-Nahar (Beirut), Feb. 27, 2001.

21 Al-Hayat (London), Nov. 7, 2000.

22 As-Safir (Beirut), Nov. 8, 2000.

23 Ibid.

24 Ibid.

25 The Daily Star (Beirut), Nov. 13, 2000.

26 Tishrin (Damascus), Jan. 13, 2001.

27 An-Nahar (Beirut), Nov. 11, 2000.

28 Al-Mustaqbal (Beirut), Nov. 7, 2000.

29 Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), Nov. 21, 2000.

30 Agence France Presse, Apr. 20, 2000.