Across the Bay

Monday, May 21, 2007

Trying to Beat a Murder Rap

One of the finest Lebanon experts, William Harris, comments on the attacks in Lebanon on New Zealand radio. (Updated link: 2.7 MB.)

Harris nails it on the head, as always: "It's no coincidence that we see this explosion at exactly the moment this draft resolution [to establish the tribunal] is hitting the Security Council in New York."

He added that Rice's meeting with Moallem only encouraged the Syrians in the view that they are the strategic center of the local universe and people will keep coming to them. That sort of thing makes absolutely no impact on them. The only thing that will make an impact is to get the court up and going. The Syrians are dead scared of us getting to this point."

The article in al-Hayat by Muhammad Choucair to which Harris refers can be read here. It describes, citing Palestinian sources, how the Fateh al-Islam "show," in Harris' words, "is run by effectively three Syrians headed by a Syrian intelligence officer under the nom de guerre Abu Midian."

They are not al-Qaeda, Harris notes. Rather, "the Syrians here are using religious extremists."

The show, Harris adds, "is a bid by [the Syrians], and there is a lot more solid reason to follow this line of interpretation than all the rather fuzzy al-Qaeda stuff." The Syrians, Harris says, want to impress the flakier members of the Security Council that this court is more trouble than it's worth, and at the same time to show that they're the strategic center of the area."

Make sure to listen to the whole thing. It's the most solid commentary out there.