Across the Bay

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Why Syria, Why Now?

Jonathan Spyer comments on today's events in Lebanon in a piece in the JPost:

The Assad regime has a long history of utilizing terrorist and paramilitary groups for such a purpose. Fatah-intifada itself was used by Hafez Assad in a power struggle with Yassir Arafat in the Lebanon refugee camps between 1985-88. The regime is known also to have engaged operatives of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party to carry out assassinations in Lebanon during the civil war period.

Suspicions regarding Fatah al-Islam center on the fact that Shakir al-Abssi was sentenced in 2003 to three years in prison in Syria after being convicted of plotting attacks inside the country. This was an unusually lenient sentence. By comparison, for example, Syrians suspected of involvement in the Muslim Brotherhood are routinely given 12-year terms. Al-Abssi, after his release, turned up among pro-Syrian Fatah-intifada circles in Nahr al-Bared and shortly afterward emerged as the leader of the new group, Fatah al-Islam.
why might the Syrians wish to sow chaos in Lebanon, and why now?

A draft resolution for the unilateral establishment of an international tribunal on the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri was circulated in the UN Security Council by the US, France and Britain last week. It is known that the Syrian regime is determined to prevent this tribunal at all costs, since it is believed that senior Syrian officials may be found to have been involved in the Hariri killing. Could it be that the regime in Damascus might see an escalation of tension in Lebanon as currently helpful - as a tacit reminder to the international community of what Damascus is capable of when put in a corner? This is the view of senior officials in Lebanese government, and is in keeping with earlier practices of the Damascus regime.

For a similar comment by me in an earlier post, see here.

But I should make another comment here, just to clarify things. I mean, we shouldn't really be shocked at the Syrian regime's behavior. Here, let Bashar Assad's apologist in American academia explain things to us simpletons: "America, I think, is going to be forced to bend to [Syria's extortionist demands]. If it continues to resist [giving Lebanon back to Damascus], we're going to see more violence."

It's quite simple really. I mean, Washington is refusing to "abandon the Seniora government." So what do you expect!? I mean, come on! After all, the problem is simple. You see, Syria "makes American allies pay a high price!" And as long as we pursue a tribunal to stop Assad from killing people, he will continue to kill people until we say he can continue killing people unmolested! I mean, as that academic recently said, "This Hariri court stands in the way"! I know, what a drag...

And to visually explain that American apologist's statements, LBCI (Lebanese station) has a clip that will help you by visually spelling out what that academic is selling (in all seriousness) as "analysis."

The two boxes read "justice" and "security." Then a shadowy "security" type individual walks over to the Lebanese citizen and tells him, as that American academic did, "here, choose."

The Lebanese citizen says, "I want both." But the agent says, again, almost channeling that academic, and his friends, like the Syrian ambassador to the US, "No, no! Either justice, or security. You know what, don't bother, we'll choose for you. Why do you want justice? It's a headache."

He goes on to say, "if you're with us, you can relax. If you're against us, we'll bust a cap in your head!" It's almost verbatim what that academic said, "And what happened to Lebanon during that period [of Syrian occupation]? It repaired itself in the Civil War. It grew. [Prime Minister Rafik] Hariri ... rebuilt Lebanon. It was pro-Western. Because of Syrian influence ... in Lebanon [it] does not mean that the country turns into ... a small Iran on the Mediterranean. It means that Syrian interests are taken into concern, and it doesn't mean the end." But then again, if not, and if America "continues to resist," well then I guess "we'll see more violence" naturally!

The agent goes on, "we decide for you [the Lebanese citizen]" (just like the academic did). "If security is under control, why do you want justice? Do you like the situation in the county today?"

The Lebanese citizen says, "justice is a principle above all. Security on the other hand has its own logic; you kill this guy, you spare that guy..."

Yeah, but you don't understand, as Assad's court scribe Patrick Seale put it, "Syria cannot tolerate a hostile government in Lebanon"! So it must kill all politicians that it doesn't like! But hey, "it doesn't mean the end!"

Don't you just love thugs and their fellow travelers?