Saturday, October 13, 2007

Addressing the In-Laws...

The newest Bashar rant that has been visited upon us is not so far off the mark.

He has a point

Yes, he does.

To stay ahead of the simplistic idiots (debunked elsewhere), we should always factor in the context.

About two weeks ago, “people” heard that a few posters of his uncle Rifaat were posted in some areas of Damascus. The Mukhabarat were able to see off this poster attack.

Then news came along this past week that the same Rifaat was being hosted by the Saudis.

The Real Audience

So, in spite of the brewing unrest in an ever-struggling Lebanon, Bashar’s real Audience may have been the Saudis and the west. To paraphrase a Lebanese saying he was “talking to the neighbours”, but “Addressing the In-laws”. In this case, we’re the neighbours who may be paying for the Rifaat’s little visit to Saudi; they were already warned by the mailbox, weren’t they? And last time Bashar talked to them directly, it took him a while to claw his way out of that hole…


Rifaat had fallen in disgrace after a failed coup attempt against his bother, then president Hafez. He attempted a timid “come back” since the time of Bashar’s rise, but he was seen off rather effectively. Back then, there was much talk about “younger Arab leaders”, of a “new generation” who could “change things” and “reform”…

That was then…

Today, the West would rather have a more pliable Syrian president; recall Chirac’s words in the aftermath of the Hairi assassination; he described it as “one crime too many”.

One crime too many, eh?

The key words here are “too many”. None of the brilliant minds present that day were able to point out; “how much” would it have taken for it to become “too many”?

Or was Chirac only stating the West’s position that the “free world” may only be willing to tolerate blood thirsty dictators, provided they do not step out of their allotted sandbox. Apparently, old Lyndon B. Johnson’s famous description of the leader of (another) banana republic still applies;

He may be an asshole, but he is our asshole

No wonder the Saudis prefer Rifaat; after Hama, he did not make any more “crimes too many”… Then again, maybe 40,000 unarmed civilians were enough to last several lifetimes.


So, in the added context of a relentless UN bureaucracy, no wonder Hezbo, and more “thoughtful” voices are now acting up and talking tough… and no wonder Joumblat is upping the ante, in apparent response to Bashar…

Some may think it is good politics

But they better watch for Bad Karma


Blacksmith Jade said...

Hey Jeha,

Good post and excellent animation to go along with it.

I think I'm going to annexe it to my post:

Peace in Lebanon and Trouble in Syria?

Haha, the thing about that post is that the Syrians' forever-strategy is to ensure that if theres trouble in Syria there can't be peace in Lebanon (hence the Bashar speech).

ghassan karam said...

It is always appropriate to take a stand based on principal especially when it comes to inviolables. Mr. Jumblatt is doing the right thing when he refuses to compromise and negotiate away sovereignty and independence.

Under zero tolerance then one offence is one too many. At least that is the way I interpret Chirac's words instead of suggesting that he was willing to accept a number certain of killings. Your interpretation is not fair to Mr. Chirac.

Jeha said...


I have to disagree with you on this. I understand the need for Realpolitik, but I do not really see how we can trust Western leaders, who often cannot see past local issues. Their cuddling of Bashar and their hosting of Rifaat during all these years... it is all suspicious, at best.

The price paid by the West on our behalf was too high for us to bear...And we're still paying.