Sep 14

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For Syria, a nation wracked by nearly three decades of political turbulence following its independence from France, Hafez Assad and his son Bashar represent a dramatic change.

For Syria, its relationship with the West and most of its regional neighbors remains deeply scarred by a colonial land-grab deal signed by a French and British diplomat some 90 years ago.

The assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri seemed an unlikely catalyst for the steep increase in international scrutiny and condemnation that faced Syria in early 2005.

The relationship between Syria and the United States, a relationship marred by more than four decades of mutual distrust, deteriorated sharply following the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri.

After Lebanon and Israel agreed to a U.N.-brokered cease-fire, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert declared Hezbollah crippled and vowed to still pursue its leaders, while Hezbollah head Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah claimed victory. Middle East experts discuss the cease-fire and its…