As of this minute, Syria occupies at least 177 square miles of Lebanese soil. That you are now reading about it for the first time is as much a scandal as the occupation itself.
The news comes by way of a fact-finding survey of the Lebanese-Syrian border just produced by the International Lebanese Committee for UN Security Council Resolution 1559, an American NGO that has consultative status with the UN. In meticulous detail – supplemented by photographs and satellite images – the authors describe precisely where and how Lebanon has been infiltrated.
Though the land grabs are small affairs individually, they collectively add up to an area amounting to about 4% of Lebanese soil – in U.S. terms, the proportional equivalent of Arizona. Of particular note is that the area of Syrian conquest dwarves that of the Israeli-occupied Shebaa Farms which amount to an area of about 12 square miles.
It would be nice to see the Arab world protest this case of illegal occupation, given its passions about the subject.