Across the Bay

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Throwback to the Good Ol' Days

The Faysal Mekdad fiasco keeps getting better. This story in ash-Sharq al-Awsat says that Lebanon's Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh summoned Lebanon's chargé d'affaires at the UN Ibrahim Assaf and relieved him of his duties under Syrian pressure. According to the story, the Syrians suspect that it was Assaf who leaked Mekdad's "dog" comment about slain MP Gebran Tueni to the NY Sun.

Salloukh, who is part of the HA-Amal bloc currently abstaining from participation in the cabinet, claimed the recall was "routine." However, An-Nahar quoted anonymous government officials who were wondering why this move involved Assaf alone, and why was the pro-Lahoud Amb. Farid Abboud still in DC, even when the conditions of recall apply to him? They added that the timing of Assaf's transfer came after his participation in the activities of the Lebanese diaspora in NY, in memory of Gebran Tueni, and in condemnation of his murder. Assaf reportedly opened a condolence book at the delegation's headquarter, "while the Embassy in Washington didn't budge."

With Farouq ash-Sharaa once again saying that the Lebanese political elite opposed to the Regime is being moved by the hands of foreign powers, and closing the door on the prospects of border demarcation until "bilateral relations improve," you can imagine what they have in mind: silencing any voice critical of the Regime, and attempting to change the political players in Lebanon. But then again, they've been saying that all along.

Update: Naharnet's English summary is available here.