"Syria out!": Lebanese Prime Minister Omar Karami resigned this morning, dissolving the nation's unpopular, pro-Syrian government in the face of nationalist protest that followed the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Reporting from Beirut, linguist/blogger Caveman estimates that 200,000 protestors gathered in the streets in anticipation of a vote of no-confidence in Karami's government. Jim Geraghty of the National Review sees a pattern. "Substitute red and white for the Yuschenko orange," he writes, "and it looks like the same defiant but almost jubilant crowd the world saw in Ukraine."
Conservative Captain Ed from Captain's Quarter's writes that the "collapse of the puppet government in such a short period of time gives testimony to the depth and power of the spontaneous freedom movement inspired by the truly stupid assassination of Rafik Hariri earlier this month." Captain Ed predicts a similarly indigenous, similarly nationalistic movement toward democracy in Syria in the coming weeks. Conservative cultural blogger Sissy Willis of Sisu agrees and approves of the use, by Fox News and others, of the "dreaded (by Bush bashers)" phrase "domino effect" to tie events in Lebanon to the "march of freedom" in Iraq. A pundit at Gay Orbit insists the recent developments have nothing to do with the hard-line Bush administration policy in the region: "It is all strange, eerie coincidence. Nothing more."
The academic near-Eastern blog Across the Bay quotes anarchist opposition leader Walid Jumblatt, who says democracy "is now coming to our region. It has already arrived, and there is no turning back." Bush doctrinist Publius Pundit, who wonders "what Vaclav Havel is thinking right now," has a lengthy assessment of Jumblatt here.
Read more about the developments in Lebanon here.
Attack in Hilla: A suicide car-bomber killed at least 120 Iraqi people, mostly police and gathered recruits, and injured 170 more in the small city of Hilla yesterday, the deadliest attack in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein. Media critic and liberal pundit Eric Alterman thinks the bombing is an ideal occasion to point out that the January elections are being used illegitimately as an ex-post-facto justification for war. Cynical liberal blogger Susan from SuburbanGuerrilla agrees: "See how well that magical election worked?" At conservative Outside the Beltway, James Joyner feels more confident. He argues that "[t]he bombing should hasten the demise of the insurgency. … Whatever sympathy these terrorists have among the general populace has to be evaporating." Ecumenical academic Juan Cole advises caution and patience, endorsing General Richard Myers' estimate that guerrilla warfare could continue in Iraq for a decade or more.
Read more about the bombing here.
The vote on Rock: Besides comparing office-pool score sheets, bloggers don't have much to say about last night's rather predictable Oscar results. They did, however, keep a close eye on firebrand host and Matt Drudge target Chris Rock. "Sorry, Drudge, he's good," writes Southern journo-blogger * Ed Cone, who loved the comedian's gibe that Hollywood "made six Police Academies and didn't want to make The Passion of the Christ." Law professor Ann Althouse thinks Rock seemed out of place on the Oscar stage, and, flipping through the morning papers, notes that the established media didn't much like Rock's performance, either. Philadelphia student John Carroll admits he was disappointed by a comic hero, but writes it would be "silly to think Rock would be at his best in this industry setting." Dead Serious, from irreverent blog Healthy Fear of Botulism, is a bit harsher: "He said it himself in the monologue…sometimes you just need a star."
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