Across the Bay

Monday, February 28, 2005


I'm not sure if Bashar is reading the papers, but from the looks of things he's either not listening, clueless, or simply delusional. In an interview (Italian) with La Repubblica, with English excerpts in Naharnet, Bashar revealed the bizarre thought process of the Syrian regime:

We are essential to the peace process, for Iraq. You will see, maybe one day the Americans will knock on our door.

He also tried to play the stability card with the Europeans:

Europe knows that our first interest is stability, and it knows that we know how to fight terrorism.

He then made my heart bleed with this heartfelt statement:

[Syria's] paying a high economic and political price by its military presence in Lebanon.

Now I'm not sure who exactly he's trying to impress with these kinds of statements, but he's clearly out of touch. He still insists that if he helps out by handing in info on Islamists that he'll get a free hand in Lebanon! Or, better, if now all of a sudden he starts talking about Iraq (er, it's a tad bit too late!) the US will simply abandon everything and, how did he put it?, "come knocking on his door!" Now that's classic! The machismo (matched only by the rhetoric of his own employees, Farouq Sharaa and Buthaina Shaaban) is simply a treat to observe! Especially that part on them being "key to the solution" and that "sooner or later" the US "will realize that." The one-liners are marvelous! He doesn't realized that all these cards (Lebanon, PT, Iraq) have blown in their face, as Josh Landis wrote.

He once again tied his withdrawal from Lebanon to an agreement with Israel on the Golan, and to "when there is stable peace" in Lebanon! As Rich put it: "It just goes to show the intransigence that is built into the Baath mindset - not to offer serious terms for negotiation until their side is already bankrupt. How stupid."

I.e., Assad is digging in and not changing anything in the bankrupt, Cold-War-era Syrian rhetoric. Let's see how this rhetoric matches or clashes with reality.