Today, the region’s great and (not so) good powers are gathered in Annapolis, to talk about Middle East peace. With unjustified optimism running rampant, and even otherwise staid and prudent magazines such as the Economist are "puffing the magic dragon", and waxing lyrical about Bush as “Mr. Palestine”…
Right. And I’m sure Bush will still respect us in the morning too...
Put all these together, and what you see is not aimed to bring peace to the Middle East, but rather to create a realignment of sorts. As the region is gearing up for conflict or confrontation with Iran’s Mullahs, both Arabs and Americans need to guarantee the safety of their “rear guard”.
And this means that the main objective of the conference is not to solve the Middle East crisis, but to establish a way to manage it. And this in turn means that Syria is invited to discuss how they will realign within the Arab world. If they can “deliver” Hezbo and realign away from Iran, then all is well; Bashar would be back in Lebanon just like his Father was in 1990, when he “helped” in liberating Kuwait.
But I doubt that Bashar will be willing to do so. As an indication, I note that the fuses are far too well aligned. Aoun will “blow” himself to protect Hezbo’, and Hezbo’ will “blow” to shield Syria… even Syria can “blow” to protect Iran. On the other hand, he has sent a second fiddle to a meeting attended by decision makers.
And even if Bashar wanted to, I doubt that he will even be able to do so; with all those funds flowing in for “investment”, the "cautious alliance" is now more than that, and Iran has surely infiltrated Syrian services at least as much as the Syrians have infiltrated Lebanon.
Tilting at Windmills
What may matter is another little detail; if the Syrians cannot, or will not, deliver anything at Annapolis, they should not expect anything in return. In that case, why did they “stay their hand”, and not used the Lahoud card before it got wasted? Do they have a “plan B” to face Brammertz’ reports, or is something else afoot?
And how do we know which way the wind is now blowing?
Here's a Lebanese Fact; watch Joumblat…