Two of the most important foreign reactions to Syria’s Lebanon pullout have come immediately from Israel and America, and neither sound particularly impressed by Damascus’s plans. Israel’s Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom spoke in New York while meeting Secretary General Kofi Annan;
“We believe the time has come for full implementation of Security Council resolution 1559 that calls the Syrians to put an end to their occupation in Lebanon, but calls too for the disarmament of militias like Hezbollah”, he said. The White House, through spokesman Scott McClellan, also made it clear that it would not be satisfied if Syria kept one foot planted over Lebanon’s border;
“We believe it is a half measure that does not go far enough. It is time for Syria to fully implement United Nations Security Council resolution 1559. That means the complete and immediate withdrawal of all Syrian military forces and all intelligence services from Lebanon”, he said.
It all adds up to continued pressure on Syria, but one long-term reaction may be far more difficult to predict, and that will be Hezbollah’s.