Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Fertile Crescent

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Fertile Crescent

Article excerpt

No Syrian Pullout Until Peace

Syrian President Bashar Al Assad said June 7 that Syrian troops will not withdraw from neighboring Lebanon until a final Middle East peace settlement is reached and Israel no longer is a threat, AFP reported the following day. "The [pullout] issue consists of stages. The first relates to the Taif agreement, which has been implemented," Assad told Kuwait's Al Qabas daily. "The other is subject to a Lebanese-Syrian agreement, regional developments...and the issue of peace [in the Middle East]." Syrian troops were mainly in the Bekaa Valley along with the Lebanese army to defend against any Israeli attack, Assad said, which could put his country at risk. "There are no Syrian troops inside the Lebanese cities," he continued. "The presence of Syrian troops is temporary and not at all permanent...We talk about a strong and independent Lebanon."

U.S. Activists Tour Southern Lebanon

On June 22, a day after the U.S. State Department, citing security concerns, barred American diplomats and other government staff in Lebanon from traveling to certain areas south of Beirut, U. …

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