February 24, 2005

MORE ON SYRIA:

BAGHDAD — Iraqi state television aired a video yesterday showing what the U.S.-funded channel said was the confession of a captured Syrian officer, who said he trained Iraqi terrorists to behead people and build car bombs to attack American and Iraqi troops.

He also said the terrorists practiced beheading animals to train for decapitating hostages.

Later, Al Iraqiya aired another round of interviews with men it said were Sudanese and Egyptians who also trained in Syria to carry out attacks in Iraq.

This isn’t very difficult to believe. There’s lots more interesting Syria-related information at this Lebanon blog, too. [LATER: Bad link before; fixed now.]

UPDATE: More on Lebanon here:

Leaders of Lebanon’s banking, industrial and commercial sectors said they would shut down next Monday to demand the country’s pro-Syrian government resign and that a “neutral” one replace it.

The strike would coincide with an expected vote of confidence in parliament, two weeks after the murder of former premier Rafiq Hariri in a bomb blast for which the opposition has pinned blame on the government and its Syrian backers.

Things are getting interesting.

UPDATE: More background here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Syria says it will withdraw from Lebanon:

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) – Syria will withdraw troops from mountain and coastal areas in Lebanon in line with a 1989 agreement, Lebanon’s defense minister said Thursday amid international pressure following the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Lebanese Defense Minister Abdul-Rahim Murad said the troops will be withdrawn to the eastern Bekaa Valley on the Syrian border, but he gave no timeframe.

Hmm. No timetable, There are a lot of interesting reports about the Bekaa valley. (Via PajamaHadin).