Thursday, March 22, 2007

Who's Next?

In his latest report, Brammertz essentially established that the main reason behind Hariri’s murder was Syria’s forced renewal for Emile Lahoud, when he stated that;

[…] The initial decision to kill Hariri was taken before the later attempts at rapprochement got underway and most likely before early January 2005. This leads to a possible situation in the last weeks before his murder in which two tracks, not necessarily linked, were running in parallel. On one track, Hariri was engaged in rapprochement initiatives and on the other, preparations for his assassination were underway.

The Syrians try not to show it, but they are cornered; Brammertz has increased the hear and just "stopped short of naming them". In the immediate, Bashar is no option but to to strengthen a weak hand before next week’s Arab summit.

The Arab Summit

Bashar is going to try and find some support for his beleaguered regime at the summit. He no doubt “felt a whiff of fresh oxygen through various recent foreign offers to talk”, and has from all western efforts at engagement from the West and Saudis.

On the Lebanese front, taking their cue for their master, our local Quislings started manoeuvring, culminating in Berri’s accusations, Joumblat’s counter-accusations. Any “dialogue” that sidelines other Lebanese partners was bound to fail on the long run, but the Saudis like the idea of wasting time in the run-up to the summit…

On the Arab front, Bashar is working hard to find some support among fringe countries. He has started a PR effort in Arab media, and his apologists have started revving up their rhetoric.

After the Summit?

This will buy him a week at most. On the long run, Bashar remains cornered. The Arab summit will likely focus on Palestine, and will fail to deliver Syria’s deliverance, i.e. Lebanon’s re-enslavement; not only are they new players in the game, but Syria has little to offer.

But the Syrians can still do a lot; Lebanon is at boiling point, and the Syrians still have a few Quilings up their sleeve. With their “positive” powers diminished, they till have the potential to throw oil over the Lebanese fire; another assassination.

The Lottery Winner…

So far so normal; Lebanon has been seeing a rebirth of the nasties, as well as Hezb’s rediscovery of the benefits of a “secular resistance”…

This is where someone surprised me by pointing out that, this time, if they really want to stoke the fires, killing a March 14th figure will not do it. It makes more sense that they need to “spend” one of their own, in such a way as to remove the last shreds of consensus in Lebanon.

No wonder Nabih Berri has been extra careful of late..


37 comments:

fubar said...

Berri, nah...my money says they go for Siniora. The rhetoric against him has gotten particularly vicious lately. And his death automatically disolves the cabinet.

Article 69 [Government Resignation]

(1) The Government is considered resigned in the following circumstances:

a. if the Prime Minister resigns;
b. if it loses more than a third of the members specified in the Decree forming it;
c. if the Prime Minister dies;

(3) When the Council resigns or is considered resigned, the Chamber of Deputies is automatically considered in extraordinary session until a new Council has been formed and has gained the Chamber's confidence.

ghassan karam said...

Variety is the spice of life. I would respectfully disagree with both Jeha and Fubar regarding who is next?

Lebanon will explode if anything happens to Saniora. Beirut would be transformed in a NY minute into another Baghdad. I am also afraid that an attempt at Berri will be difficult to contain although the reaction might be a tad more subdued than if Saniora is attacked.
If the assassinations are to continue then an important figure will be targeted provided that figure does not represent large volatile segments of the Lebanese street.

Nobody said...

his will buy him a week at most. On the long run, Bashar remains cornered. The Arab summit will likely focus on Palestine, and will fail to deliver Syria’s deliverance, i.e. Lebanon’s re-enslavement; not only are they new players in the game, but Syria has little to offer.

i am really happy that we can be helpful

This is where someone surprised me by pointing out that, this time, if they really want to stoke the fires, killing a March 14th figure will not do it. It makes more sense that they need to “spend” one of their own, in such a way as to remove the last shreds of consensus in Lebanon.

No wonder Nabih Berri has been extremely careful of late..


but please .. i am still boasting before my friends in tel aviv that i know one arab who is not a conspiracist

Jeha said...

We're starting a morbid betting pool here; maybe the Loto will pick on this soon.

Still, put me down as a conspiracist for the next two weeks. But note that I'll be more than glad to post a "WeeWozRong", and eat my words...

Charlie said...

Now that we are starting a pool, forget who is going to draw the short stick and lets just go by time frame, I say after the summit.

Nobody said...

well jeha .. you probably should know better ... but sounds too far fetched to me .. i believe that hariri and gemayel were killed by the syrians or their lebanese allies ... with a bit of an effort i can imagine that hezbollah might have even been involved ... but that some from m8 would kill another one just to make it appear as if it is m14 who got him .. i am under impression that the lebanese started massively losing sanity recently .. sorry if it sounds offensive..

Solomon2 said...

I pointed out months ago that Berri is the next logical target. The reason why is that the shots are called by the Iranian mullahs, not the Lebanese in Hezbollah or Lebanese-controlled allies.

(Really, who has ever seen Nasrallah taking a report from somebody and then immediately issuing an order on that basis? Never? Then Nasrallah must be a mouthpiece or puppet, not a leader.)

Assuming the Iranians are in control, chess-playing carpet-weavers have a natural cultural preference for predictability. Assassinate Siniora and the reaction cannot be controlled. Assassinate Berri and the mullahs remain the puppet-masters. Indeed, if knocking off N.B. means absorbing Amal, their power would even increase. Anybody who thinks the mullahs are too "nice" to stab their allies forgets that they are professional revolutionaries who made assassinating their allies their first order of business after seizing power.

R said...

Berri is speaker of parliament... with him gone his deputy assumes his role. Deputy belongs to M14 , calls for parliament session, tribunal passes. Conclusion: Berri is not going anywhere.
Neither will any of the big boys in March 14 since that would piss off too many world powers might just speed up things on the screwing the syrian regime front.
Conclusion: Either another ein ala2 or another "small" type m14 "leader" or maybe even nothing, but only for a while...

Nobody said...

Berri is speaker of parliament... with him gone his deputy assumes his role. Deputy belongs to M14 , calls for parliament session, tribunal passes. Conclusion: Berri is not going anywhere.

oh good

(sigh of relief)

thanks .. as i really started worrying for berri

JoseyWales said...

As a very useful idiot, Berri is safe.

His death would give the speakership to his vice (Mkary) who is M14.

Solomon2 said...

Does Mkary matter? If Berri goes, the puppet-masters will surely conjure up enough trouble to prevent his deputy from taking his place, at least temporarily.

Perhaps it isn't Berri's deputy in Parliament who matters, but his deputy is in what's left of Amal: would that person cave in to the mullahs and Syrians or stand up to them if something happened to Berri?

ghassan karam said...

I have to echo Jeha's concern that the comments on this post have taken on a very dark and gruesome twist.

Forecasting the future with precision is next to impossible since forecasts are based on "surprise free hypothesis" when we all know that the future will always be different from the present. An analytical essay ought not be judged on whether the minutia of its predictions take place but whether history unfolded in the direction of the prognostications that it has advanced. Judging the above piece by Jeha on this standard should not be on whether the persons named actually do become casualties but rather on whether the tragedy is going to proceed with no end in sight and only because a dictator has to do whatever is possible in order to prevent justice from being done to some of his associates that might be the real power behind that shaky "throne".

Nobody said...

JoseyWales said...

As a very useful idiot, Berri is safe.

His death would give the speakership to his vice (Mkary) who is M14.


ok .. but i am still very worried for hassan nasrallah .. what's about him ? do you have any good news for me ??

Nobody said...

ghassan karam said...

I have to echo Jeha's concern that the comments on this post have taken on a very dark and gruesome twist.


sorry ghassan .. i am trying really hard to get hold of my cynicism.. but it's plainly more powerful than me

Jeha said...

I do not mean to speak for him, but I do not think Ghassan was being overly cynical.

Personally, though I do have a very Lebanese predilection for dark humour, I would not wish death on anyone... I am not being excessively idealistic; it is far better to have politicians sink into irrelevance than be celebrated as martyrs. And democracies are excellent at making such a thing happen...

Nobody said...

Jeha said...

Personally, though I do have a very Lebanese predilection for dark humour, I would not wish death on anyone... I am not being excessively idealistic; it is far better to have politicians sink into irrelevance...


I agree .. i would even recommend your personal pic as a good practical illustration of a politician who sank into irrelevance with all consequences that may follow as a result of this

Jeha said...

It is sad that Nobody likes my Teddy Bear... Comparing lil' Fluffy to a politician, now that's yust not too niche.

Nobody said...

Jeha said...

It is sad that Nobody likes my Teddy Bear... Comparing lil' Fluffy to a politician, now that's yust not too niche.


mmmm


i was actually thinking to improvise something on the basis of you lil'Fluffy regarding berri's condition in two weeks time from now as in line with your predictions...

good i did not do this ... i did not imagine that it's such a sensitive issue

Anonymous said...

This whole tribunal thing is a scam invented by the US to justify interfering in internal arab affairs, it has absolutely nothing to do with justice.
All the US wants is to pressure Syria to cut a deal with Washington that would be something like: Take all Lebanon back with our blessings in exchange for preventing arm deliveries to Hezbollah.
I find it ironical that some Lebanese (who claim to be anti Syrian!) want to help the US accomplish...just that!
If it wasn't a serious matter it would be funny.

ghassan karam said...

And I thought that I have heard it all, but boy was I wrong. So HA is fighting to keep Syria out of Lebanon !!!

Anonymous said...

>>HA is fighting to keep Syria out of Lebanon
HA certainly does not want Syria to make a deal with the US.
The US is fighting to get Syria IN Lebanon (to neutralize HA in exchange for Lebanon)
So, do you guys want to help the US pressure Syria to accomplish that?

Nobody said...

Anonymous said...

>>HA is fighting to keep Syria out of Lebanon
HA certainly does not want Syria to make a deal with the US.


i would like to point to an even more important contribution of HA .. HA is also fighting to keep the Iranians out of Lebanon .. please, don't forget this

Anonymous said...

nobody,
You are not far from the truth, if Iran gets what it wants from the US, you will see that Iran will stop sending arms to HA.

Nobody said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nobody said...

Anonymous said...

nobody,
You are not far from the truth, if Iran gets what it wants from the US, you will see that Iran will stop sending arms to HA.


it's worse than you think , anon ...

if HA gets what it wants from the US, it will stop fighting to keep Syria and Iran out of Lebanon

ghassan karam said...

This dialogue; the last few commentaries; is emblematic of what has always been the root cause of the Lebanese crisis. No one has confidence in the ability of the state to marshall its own affairs. The inability of the Lebanese to stand up for Lebanon is astounding. No matter what transpires on Lebanese soil it is always somebody elses fault but never ever fault the Lebanese themselves for being willing , able and anxious to do somebody elses bidding. Why can't we ever admit that neither Syria , Iran nor any other country will find the country such easy pickings had it not been for a large proportion of the Lebanese that are willing to act as whores.
I am still convinced that Nobody and Anon are under the influence of some good Lebanese hash when they expect rational people to take their theories seriosly:-) And please moral clarity demands that you don't equate the interests of a reactionary dictatorship and that of a bankrupt theocracy on the same level as that of having common interests between those who seek a sovereign Lebanon and the countries that are the birth place of modern democracy, equality and egalitarianism.

Nobody said...

ghassan karam said...

I am still convinced that Nobody and Anon are under the influence of some good Lebanese hash when they expect rational people to take their theories seriosly:-) And please moral clarity demands that you don't equate the interests of a reactionary dictatorship and that of a bankrupt theocracy on the same level as that of having common interests between those who seek a sovereign Lebanon and the countries that are the birth place of modern democracy, equality and egalitarianism.


ghassan, please .. dont involve me into this mess your country is in .. i am just israeli from tel aviv .. also in line with the traditions of the progressive part of my country i am not into smoking the lebanese hash as i am squarely for switching to synthetic drugs ...

Anonymous said...

nobody,
There was a division in the Syrian leadership between the old guard (Khaddam, kanaan...) and the current leadership. The old guard was ready to limit arm flow to Syria to stay in Lebanon and keep the status quo, the current leadership chose to get out of Lebanon. What they want in exchange is the Golan Heights no Lebanon. Israel has so far refused such a deal, and Syria, so far is not budging, so the US is pressuring Syria to accept the deal, basically reviving the US/Syria alliance with an old "Hafez Assad" style leadership.
The irony, is that instead of supporting the choice of the current Syrian leadership (pursue Golan not Lebanon) some "anti-syrian" guys are telling us (for "Revenge" reasons?...) that we should help the US pressure Syria. So guys do you want Hafez El Assad instead?
Personally I hated Hafez Assad.
Now don't get me wrong, I don't like the current regime in Syria but I don't see the world as good guys and bad guys, I understand that countries pursue different interests at different times and that alliances change.
So let me ask you this: Do you miss Hafez Assad? Do you want Syria back in Lebanon under the same old US umbrella that kept it for 35 years?
Let me remind you what Condoleeza rice said AFTER 1559 was voted and even AFTER Syria started withdrawing its forces: "We are ready to be patient with Syria if it helps us enforces parts of 1559" Shou fhemna shabeb?
In barely veiled terms what she was saying in diplomatic terms: "Hey guys we don't really want you to leave, please stay another 35 years, all we want from you is to disarm/stop weapons flow to HA" nice, nice, thank you condi!

Nobody said...

well anon ...

you find the right moment to ask me these questions .. just when i started messing with my synthetic drugs :D

by the way, are you lebanese?

to my poor understanding, probably inspired by the view of many israelis analysts, golan in exchange for lebanon is what assad is trading us here ... i think that at one point they even communicated this message to us and the yankees in these very terms ... we give them golan , they stop messing with our northern border through HA ...

the current US administration is no mood to compromise on anything when it comes to what this administration sees as pro western, western oriented movements like m14 , means secular free market democracy ...

the democrats representing the so called realist approach are more flexible ... also because Syria is involved into supporting the iraqi sunni insurgents and so it may also become a part of the deal ...

personally i think, golan or not .. i can't see how syria will give up on lebanon and HA .. they are just playing their regular tricks

yours truly

Nobody

Jeha said...

It' a bit more complex than this. I feel that both Anon 20:40 and "Nobody" seem to miss the global picture. "Noboby", cannot claim to "only from Tel-Aviv", since the destinies of all the region's people are linked. They are all linked to oil. And we're past "peak oil".

So in the context of the changing geopolitics of oil, the Americans are not willing to suffer unreliable regimes. This is what Bashar did not understand. He proved too demanding, and Syria's asking price was too high, so it was cheaper to kick them out of Lebanon. He is far too isolated, and has already relinquished Syria's claim over Iskederun... In the present context, Syria will never get the Golan back; no matter what proposals the Israelis "float", they cannot afford to relinquish control over 30% of their water resources, in addition to loosing a strategic "high ground" that effectively opens the road to Damascus.

Nobody said...

So guys do you want Hafez El Assad instead?

no .. my personal wish is if the US decides to give up on iraq, that on the way home it relieves all of us by knocking down assad's regime and leaving it to the arabs to pick up the pieces ... sounds selfish??? i agree ... i am trying to work on myself in this respect

Nobody said...

jeha

i really hope that you are right about your last point

Nobody said...

on the whole i think your view is too machiavellian ... i expect greater role for ideologies in politics ... i know that many people consider it naive ... no need to tell me this

Jeha said...

Khaver, You cannot fight geography.

Even if there was no oil, "leaving it to the arabs to pick up the pieces" will not work from an Israeli perspective; Tel-Aviv may feel a world away, but it is much closer to Tehran than it is to Paris, or London. We Lebanese have learned to adapt, but Israel will not be able to handel those "pieces"...

As to my last point, look up the story of the "Galillee Rebellion" of June 1967, and read up on Allon's and Dayan's actions in the Golan before 1973.

Nobody said...

i have great plans for syria actually .. latakia goes to the alawites .. a new independent state .. kurds take their part .. the sunnis as usual will keep themselves busy with civil wars and chlorine attacks ..

i even tried to organize a joint israeli lebanese invasion of syria to partition the country on some lebanese blogs ... unfortunately when the lebanese heard that their part would be to to take damascus they lost all enthusiasm for the whole project ,..

i noticed that something happens to the lebanese when they hear words syria or damacsus

Jeha said...

"Chlorine Attacks"?

I understand there is a lot of blood in the Middle East, and a lot of hatred, but such a comment takes us into the darker recesses of human nightmares.

I think I will leave it at that.

Nobody said...

yep .. chlorine .. they are practicing it in iraq ... i made a round around arab blogs that i know to see what they have to say about it ...

but they seem to be more busy with our occupation and gaza .. that's why i am surprised by such a sudden display of sensitivities .. looks like if it's not chlorine, then it would be a teddy bear, but i just can't get it right ...

i will probably leave at that point too