THE NEAR EAST: Political Simoon

A political simoon swept the Levant. In Beirut and Damascus the bazaars seethed. Shops were shut, transport suspended. Students marched defiantly through streets emptied of everything but aloof camels. In their barracks, sullen French troops waited tensely, side by side with nervous French civilians.

The French troops were the storm center. Seldom had France so crudely alienated its 4,000,000 sensitive Syrian and Lebanese subjects as when the cruiser Jeanne d'Arc slid into Beirut harbor last month to land a thousand Senegalese soldiers. Instantly Syrians and Lebanese saw a threat to the independence they had long been clamoring for. The fuse sputtered.


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