Syria's withdrawal from Lebanon inaugurated a new period of domestic uncertainty in both countries. Flynt Leverett, a senior fellow with the Saban Center at Brookings and author of Inheriting Syria: Bashar's Trial by Fire (Brookings, April 2005), and David Ignatius, associate editor of the Washington Post, participated in a panel discussion on the wider issues of Syrian and Lebanese politics. Former Ambassador to Israel and current Director of the Saban Center Martin Indyk moderated.
Two political events –the ruling Ba'th Party Congress in Syria and the parliamentary elections in Lebanon–provided early indications of what the future holds for these neighbors who share a complicated history of cooperation and conflict. Leverett and Ignatius were both in Damascus to observe the Ba'th Party Congress and used this public forum to discuss their experiences and how the outcome of these two events play a role in shaping the future course of U.S. policy toward both countries.