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The leader of the Lebanese opposition, a sharp critic of Washington foreign policy, says he’s changed his view of the U.S. war in Iraq, seeing it now as a catalyst for democratic change across the Arab world.
Druze Muslim leader Walid Jumblatt, who is calling for an uprising against Lebanon’s Syrian occupiers, is almost sounding like a neoconservative, says Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, who interviewed him in Beirut Monday.
“It’s strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq,” Jumblatt told the Post columnist.
“I was cynical about Iraq,” Jumblatt said. “But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world.”
Jumblatt said this spark of democratic revolt is spreading.
“The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing,” he said. “The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it.”
In an exclusive interview with WorldNetDaily Monday, Jumblatt blamed the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri on Lebanese security officials backed by Syria.
Jumblatt said Hariri told him in a meeting two weeks ago he felt they both were in danger.
The Druze leader told WND he is calling for an “uprising for independence” demanding Damascus withdraw its nearly 20,000 troops from the country and urging the current pro-Syrian government to step down.
“We ask all in Lebanon to claim independence from Syria peacefully and democratically,” said Jumblatt.
Jumblatt, in conjunction with other major figures of the anti-Syrian movement, put out a statement Friday urging the “dismissal of the government, which has no legitimacy, and the formation of a transitional administration to protect the Lebanese people and ensure the immediate withdrawal of the Syrian army from Lebanon to pave the way for holding free and honest legislative elections.”