Across the Bay

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Joke's On Them

Michael Young comments on the Husam comedy (Josh Landis, not surprisingly, was impressed by the spectacle. Contrast that with Ammar Abdulhamid's reactions here, here, and here). I should add that this charade comes after the Saudi king went public (already a very bad sign) with the fact that he managed to get Asad to cooperate with the investigation (a fact the Syrians have been desperately downplaying), and to send the suspects to Vienna, and told him that the time for machismo and bravado was over. It was also noted today that the king's envoy to Syria, Prince Bandar, reportedly told Bashar that he should stop seeking to obstruct and undermine the investigation. But Bashar simply does not get it, and has allegedly managed to piss off Mubarak on this very same point. You can bet the Saudis aren't pleased either. Already, Abdullah's intervention came after Mubarak tried to convince Bashar of the same, and was given the usual run-around, and empty promises that were never followed through. It was reported that after sending Bandar the first time (he's been there like 10 times already. Another very bad sign), Asad (aka. Syria's Arafat) said that he would take Abdullah's advice. Then he recanted, which pissed off the Saudis royally. So this latest stunt is just another indication that Bashar will continue to lose any veneer of support in the Arab world. As Ammar says, they have a tendency to outsmart themselves.

Michael advises the extension of Mehlis' mandate, which is what PM Seniora was preparing to request (along with the request for an international tribunal, or at least a mixed one and not in Lebanon), and what seems likely now.

Instead of giving Asad what he wants, continue to isolate him while holding this sword over his head. In the end, as Michael notes, the joke's on him and his thugs.