I was traveling and unable to comment about the bombing and murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. However, the reaction of the 200,000 plus mourners (this is out of a population of 3.8 million) who came out is very encouraging. The last largest gathering in Lebanon was Pope John Paul II's 1997 visit, which drew a million people. The group or government behind the bombing is not known. There is good speculation that Syria may have played a role. The Belmont Club has a good look at this controversy.
The funeral procession became a rally against Syrian involvement in Lebanon (Syria has about 16,000 soldiers in Lebanon). Chants of "Remove your dogs from Beirut" were heard in the streets. Syria must be feeling the heat, not only from the United States (US withdrew our ambassador and delivered a stern message) but from the disgrace in the Middle East of angry Lebanese mourners.
Not that Iran and Syria were not working together, but public comment on Iranian television only solidifies their axis arrangement. Iraq strategically lies between these two countries. The Bush administration's policy of expanding freedom and democracy seems even more so the correct and moral policy for the Middle East.
Afghanistan, Palestinians and Iraqi elections, coupled with Israeli-Palestinian rapprochement and now Lebanese anger at Syria, taken together, are important indicators of how freedom is spreading in the Middle East. The Lebanese protesters are adding to the voices of democracy by protesting Syrian tyranny, and we should support them.
UPDATE: Fox News has more on the Iranian-Syrian axis.
UPDATE 2: Secretary Rice backs an international Probe of Hariri's murder:
"We do not know who is responsible for the bombing but there needs to be an international investigation of that. But the Syrians, given their position in Lebanon, given their interference in Lebanese affairs, given the fact that their forces are there, given the terrorists that operate in southern Lebanon with Syrian forces in close proximity to them, does put on the Syrians a special responsibility for the kind of destabilization that happened there," she said."