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Rice says US won't tolerate dictators -

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(generated from captions) secured victory in Lebanon's elections, a prominent anti-Syrian politician has been killed in a bomb blast. Norman Hermant reports. We were here, of course, in 2003. This is the kind of talk US Secretaries of State have been making in the Middle East for decades - the awkward, staged-for-the-cameras kind. Very rarely has Washington's top diplomat ever said anything - publicly - quite like Condoleezza Rice did in Cairo. For 60 years, my country, the United States, pursued stability at the expense of democracy in this region, here in the Middle East, and we achieved neither. Now we are taking a different course. Egypt shows how difficult charting a new course will be. As Dr Rice sat down to talk with prominent reformers, demonstrators were protesting her visit, saying the US isn't doing enough to push for real democratic change. Upcoming presidential elections in Egypt are supposed to be open to all. But President Hosni Mubarak dominates the media and has ruled by emergency decree for more than two decades. The largest opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, is banned. Pro-democracy rallies have been harshly silenced. The Egyptian government knows well our concerns about this, The measured tone of US criticism The Egyptian government knows well our concerns about this, and we expect that there is going to be a thorough investigation reflects the importance it places on Egypt expect that there is going to be a thorough investigation and understanding of what happened The measured tone of US criticism reflects the importance it places on Egypt and the other big American Arab ally, Saudi Arabia. In both those countries, Washington is walking a risky path. It knows all too well the dangers of standing behind dictators. In Iran, that sparked an Islamic revolution. But unleash true democracy and Islamic fundamentalists can win at the polls. That led to civil war in Algeria. Egypt's Foreign Minister says America must remember to move cautiously. Democratic change is already happening in Lebanon and yet another bombing indicates the challenges ahead. A prominent anti-Syrian politician was killed today when a bomb blew apart his car. George Hawi was the former leader of Lebanon's Communist Party, best known for his role in fighting the Israeli invasion in 1982. He's the second anti-Syrian figure to be assassinated this month, and his death comes just two days after anti-Syrian parties won the first elections free of influence from Damascus since the end of Lebanon's civil war. Its troops may be gone from Lebanon, but Syria still casts a long shadow there. Norman Hermant, Lateline. Robert Fisk is the Middle East correspondent for the 'Independent' and has reported on and observed politics in that region for more than 25 years. He joins us now from Beirut. Thanks for joining us again. Can we start with the assassination of George Hawi? Only yesterday in one of your articles you quoted an old Lebanese friend as saying someone else is going to get killed soon. I mean, you couldn't have been more prophetic. Sadly, no. In fact, a number of Lebanese have been number of Lebanese have been ringing me up today saying it was a very spooky introduction to my story. I think it was. You see, what is happening in Lebanon, through the parliamentary elections, which were freely held, although there are flaws in them as the EU commission of observers said, is that we've reached a new stage where Lebanese can actually in theory at least control their own destiny. So how control their own destiny. So how do you, if you're against the Lebanese doing this or if you resent the Lebanese doing this, the question is: how do you create social political economic instability? And obviously, the killing of leading figures in Lebanese society, the journalist two or three weeks ago, now George Hawi, a respected man in Lebanon, a man who as you right said, was one of the first people said, was one of the first people to call for resistance against Israeli occupation in 1982 and yet at the same time was also harshly critical of the Syrian intelligence services,