Sunday, March 13, 2005

New York Post Online Edition: postopinion

New York Post Online Edition: postopinion SYRIA'S ROAD TO FREEDOM By AMIR TAHERI

March 7, 2005 -- 'LET'S do the Salsa!" is one of the refrains chanted by Lebanese demonstrators who have vowed to occupy the streets of Beirut until Syria ends its occupation of their country. But the Salsa they are referring to is not the Brazilian style of sexy dancing. It refers to the Syria Accountability and Lebanon Sovereignty (Restoration) Act (SALSA) — passed by Congress over a year ago, and seen as a signal that the Bush administration was determined to extend its quest for status quo change in the Middle East beyond Iraq into the Levant.

And Lebanon's Cedar Revolution — while far from complete — could, and must, become a prelude to the liberation of Syria from half a century of despotic rule.

There is as much pent-up energy for change in Syria as there is in Lebanon.

"We, too, want to do the SALSA," says a senior Syrian economist with years of experience at the World Bank. "The Assad regime is at an impasse, and, as the Lebanese revolution shows, our 'emperor' has no clothes."

Syrians watched with a mixture of awe and admiration as millions of Afghans and Iraqis queued up to vote in their first-ever free elections in recent months.

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