FOCUS: Syria and Lebanon

By Jodi Wynn,
The February 14 assassination of Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri has heightened tensions along the borders of Lebanon, Syria and Israel. Hariri was a longtime opponent of President Emile Lahoud, who welcomed the ongoing presence of 14,000 Syrian troops in his country. Hariri resigned as prime minister in October 2004 to protest efforts to extend Lahoud’s presidential term by three years. Omar Karami, who supported Lahoud’s pro-Syrian policies, was quickly appointed to fill Hariri’s position. Protestors blamed Lahoud’s government and Syria for Hariri’s death.