Syria Formalizes Lebanon Ties

Damascus hopes symbolic gesture eases international pressure
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Oct 14, 2008 3:12 PM CDT
Syrian president Bashar Assad commemorates the 35th anniversary of a war between Syria, Egypt and Israel. The nation put the past behind it in a big way today by establishing ties with Lebanon.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Syria today established formal diplomatic relations with Lebanon for the first time since the nations won independence in the 1940s, the Christian Science Monitor reports. Bashir al-Assad’s regime sent its first-ever ambassador to Iraq yesterday, moves one expert says show Syria “wants to play ball with the world.” Beirut welcomed today's news, saying relations with Damascus are “more brotherly than ever.”

While "symbolically important," the announcement is "window dressing for the West to show that Syria is fulfilling its commitments to the international community," a Lebanon policy expert warns.