[…] 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.
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…
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
But the Syrians can still do a lot;
The Lottery Winner…
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
No wonder Nabih Berri has been extra careful of late..