The United States pulled its ambassador from Syria on Tuesday, expressing "profound outrage" over the assassination of a Lebanese leader who had protested Syrian influence in his country. Washington stopped short of directly accusing Syria of carrying out the murder.
What's that ticking sound?
The start of a timer running on Assad.
Update: Diplomatic meaning revealed at News Sisyphus
We trust that the patience of President Bush is running to an end. No other act, except maybe for strikes on Iran, would signal our seriousness at changing the chess board in the Middle East than military strikes aimed at Syria's command and control infrastructure. The illusion of Syrian invulnerability must be broken if Syria is ever to have incentive to change its ways.
Syria wages war more-or-less openly on the U.S. in Iraq. Syria provides refuge for terrorists and terrorist organizations. Syria is a Ba'athist dictatorship that allows no dissent and no liberty. Syria is a brutal occupying power that has destroyed the sovereignty of Lebanon. Syria's unreasonable stance on Israel has ruined hopes for peace in the region for decades.
Syria has been bucking for full Axis of Evil status for some time now. What we may be witnessing are the first steps of its promotion to full membership.