Middle East: Pomp and New Circumstances

Gemayel's visit to Damascus signals a Syrian fait accompli

Red carpets were rolled out lavishly in Damascus last week in a ceremony that marked both a welcome for the guest and a triumph for the host. On the tarmac of the city's international airport, Syrian President Hafez Assad waited patiently as a chartered executive jet glided to a halt and delivered his reluctant visitor, Lebanese President Amin Gemayel. The two men embraced, then repaired to a dais while ranks of Syrian troops passed in review and field guns barked out a 21-gun salute. The solicitous display spoke volumes about the...

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