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Lebanon’s Opposition factions split, as Syria Cuts Cooperation with US | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Bierut, Michel Aoun Lebanon”s leading Christian opposition figure says he will head his own election list after failing to agree on a broad Christian-Muslim electoral alliance.

Aoun said talks had broken down with other opposition leaders, opening the first major split in Lebanon”s anti-Syrian camp.

&#34We have not reached an agreement so we are heading for a confrontation,&#34

the ex-prime minister and army leader said.

The elections scheduled to take place between may 29 and June 19, are the first in Lebanon without Syrian troops for three decades and look sure to see the opposition strengthened at the expense of pro-Damascus politicians.

Opposition factions banded together to stage huge protests demanding the pullout of Syrian troops after the Feb. 14 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri. But the alliance did not last long after Syrian withdrawal last month.

Elsewhere, 24 hours after the UN confirmed its complete withdrawal from Lebanon, Syria has severed military and intelligence cooperation with the United States, according to a New York Times interview with its ambassador to Washington.

The ambassador, Imad Moustapha, told the newspaper in an interview given last Friday at the Syrian Embassy in Washington, that his country had, in the last 10 days, &#34severed all links&#34 with the U.S. military and Central Intelligence Agency because of what he called unjust American allegations.

Moustapha said he believed the Bush administration had decided, &#34to escalate the situation with Syria&#34 despite steps the Syrians have taken against insurgents in Iraq, and despite the recent withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon, in response to international demands.

&#34We thought, why should we continue to cooperate?&#34 he said.

The comments were in response to Bush administration complaints that Syria was not doing enough to halt the flow of men and money to the insurgency in Iraq.