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Entries for December 2009

S&P Upgrades Lebanon on Bank System


Standard  & Poor's Ratings Services raised Lebanon's sovereign-credit
ratings and gave  them a positive outlook because of banking resilience and the
expectation of  political stability in the medium term.

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The Murdered Fathers Club (David Schenker) Weekly Standard


On Saturday, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri traveled to Damascus for a meeting with Syrian president Bashar Asad, the man widely believed to have ordered the assassination of his father, former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri. The 2005 murder sparked the Cedar Revolution, a mass protest movement that resulted in the end of the thirty-year Syrian military occupation of Lebanon, and swept the pro-West March 14th coalition to power. Although March 14 again triumphed over the Iranian and Syrian-backed Hizballah-led opposition in elections this past June, Washington's allies in Beirut are now facing a crisis. Hariri's trip to Damascus represents the return of Syrian influence to Lebanon, and perhaps, the end of the Cedar Revolution.
 

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INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP - NEW REPORT Reshuffling the Cards? (II): Syria’s New Hand


Damascus/Brussels, 16 December 2009: U.S. diplomatic engagement with Syria risks losing momentum if it fails to build upon several potentially promising changes in Damascus’s policy.
 

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INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP - NEW REPORT Reshuffling the Cards? (I): Syria’s Evolving Strategy


Damascus/Washington/Brussels, 14 December 2009: Syria’s foreign policy has long been a contradictory mix of militancy and pragmatism, but new dynamics create opportunities for the U.S. if it does more to deepen its engagement.

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Readout of Vice President Biden's Meeting with President Sleiman of Lebanon


Earlier today, Vice President Biden met with Lebanese President Michel Sleiman at the White House. During the meeting, Vice President Biden expressed his appreciation for President Sleiman’s efforts during the formation of the new Lebanese government and welcomed the opportunity to work with the new government on a broad range of security, economic, and political issues.

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Remarks by President Obama and President Sleiman of Lebanon after Meeting


PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you very much, everybody.  I want to welcome President Sleiman and his delegation for the excellent visit that we've had. 

I thought that this meeting was critical because the relationship between the United States and Lebanon is critical.  We have a strong friendship between the two countries.  Part of that results from the fact that we have 2 million Lebanese Americans who have made extraordinary contributions to the life of the United States, and continue to do so.  Obviously Lebanon is a critical country in a critical region, and we want to do everything that we can to encourage a strong, independent, and democratic Lebanon.

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New Ambassador could be on the road to Damascus


It's been half a year since the Obama administration pledged to send an ambassador to Damascus after four years' absence and now we are seeing movement.

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