October 13, 2005


Under pressure: While the international process of demonising Damascus continues at full speed, the Syrians have no option but to strike a deal. But, at what cost? (Sherine Bahaa, 10/13/05, Al-Ahram Weekly)

Every time a bomb has exploded in Lebanon over recent months, all fingers have pointed at Syria, while definitions of the various victims have centred around their anti-Syrian stance.

In Iraq, the occupation forces describe many of the active resistance groups as infiltrators entering the country from across the long Syrian- Iraqi borders. Palestinian factions in Lebanon are, again according to Washington, reportedly armed through tunnels leading up to Syria. To top the accusations off, Lebanese resistance group of Hizbullah is depicted as a mere extension of Syrian power into Lebanese soil.

This entire process all boils down to the implementation of a single, unified policy: put more pressure on Syria in order to tame it. And the deadline by which Syria's fate within the context of international politics will be decided is, so far, 25 October.

For it is on that date that German Prosecutor Detlev Mehlis, who heads the United Nations Investigation Committee into the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Al-Hariri, is set to release his final report. [...]

[P]ressure on Syria is moving in two parallel directions. As stated by some US officials, it is intended "to lean or else to break" Damascus. In other words, either the Syrian regime caves in the US demands or else the whole system collapses.

But to be fair should the regime indeed cave in, the consequences would be far more detrimental to the Syrians than they could ever be to Washington -- and the Syrians know that.

Even in terms of its relations with its neighbours Syria is already up against a tough situation. Saudi Arabia, which constitutes Syria's most important Arab ally, is very upset with the alleged Syrian role in the assassination of Al-Hariri, and any attempts at mediation from Damascus have so far failed. The Egyptians, for their part, are trying to break the iron wall around Syria, but so far nothing concrete has appeared on the horizon.

One observer told the Weekly on condition of anonymity that Al-Assad's regime has reached its end phase, adding that even if it manages to hang on to power for a few months or years, it is doomed. Even on the domestic front the regime seems to have lost the confidence and support of many of Syria's people and elite.

"The Syrians are very much injured for having left Lebanon in this humiliating way. Syria got nothing out of these acts. Why would Syria -- under all the pressure it is facing -- expose itself to more intimidation by killing people like Samir Kassir and George Hawi," he said.

Moreover, the Syrian were not happy with the very notion of being placed under international investigation, a process which they regarded as deeply infringing upon their national sovereignty.

Sadly for them. their right to national sovereignty depends on our acceptance of their regime's democratic legitimacy. It has none.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 13, 2005 5:23 PM

Wouldn't this be the penultimate domino? Since we'd still have to get rid of the noxious regime in Teheran?

Posted by: H.D. Miller at October 13, 2005 7:13 PM

Their electoral system will do that.

Posted by: oj at October 13, 2005 7:21 PM

I previously posted on this issue in some detail:
August 2, 2005
October 27, 2004

At the begining of GWoT, the real enemies were:

1. a branch of the Sa'ud family, their allies in the Wa'hib family and Al Qaeda, which is their army. AQ has been pretty badly beaten up, but its not dead yet.

2. The Iranian Mullocracy.

3. the Pakistani ISI. We have been working with Mushareff to nuetralize them.

4. the Iraq Ba'ath Party. Mop-up opperation.

5. the Taliban. Mop-up opperation.

6. the Syrian Ba'ath Party.

7. North Korea. Have we convinced the Chinese that this is their problem?

8. Some Element inside the Chinese government.

9. Libya. -- Copped out. Switched sides.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at October 13, 2005 10:14 PM