“Something is beginning to happen…”

Beirut was the location for a huge demonstration Monday against the de facto Syrian occupation of Lebanon. It follows last week’s massive and angry funeral procession for Rafik Hariri, whose murder is widely blamed on the Syrians.

Perhaps not coincidentally Syria hinted it might start withdrawing some of its 14,000 troops from its neighboring country. Believe it when it happens.

Meanwhile the always interesting, if sometimes infuriating, Egyptian blogger at Big Pharaoh reports on a small but significant demonstration in Cairo against a fifth term as president for Hosni Mubarak. (The blogger himself– despite his strong opposition to the autocratic Mubarak regime– nonetheless says he plans to vote for him in the coming election because he believes there are no good alternatives.)

He adds:

Nevertheless, something is beginning to happen in Egypt. In fact, something is beginning to happen all over the region… The enemies of freedom as well know that something is happening and they are trying to stop it. They used a mentally retarded Iraqi child in order to blow up a polling station in Baghdad and they used over 300 kilos of explosives to kill the builder of Lebanon Rafik Hariri. An Egyptian columnist once wrote: “50 years from today, our history books will mention that an American president with limited intelligence managed to change the entire political landscape of the Middle East”.

Make of it what you will.

Update: Read Thomas Friedman’s take on recent events in Lebanon.

(Hat tip: Steve E. in the comments.)