Posted by Joshua on Sunday, September 17th, 2006
by Idaf, published on Syria Comment
September 16, 2006
The most interesting paragraph for me in Kaplan’s article was this:
This is a lot to bite off. It’s not at all an appealing idea, whatever the trade-offs, to legitimize the resumption of Syrian influence in Lebanese politics or the stiffening of Hezbollah’s political power. But those things are going to happen anyway. Should they happen with Syria in an alliance with Iran—or in a security arrangement that involves the United States, the United Nations, and the European Union?
I agree with Kaplan that this seemingly is going to happen anyway. I’m betting that Mr. Brammertz’s upcoming report would be more focused on Al-Qaida’s role in the assassination. Two reasons for my assumption:
1 – Two days ago, the former interior minister Suleiman Franjieh said in a TV interview that the 13 Al-Qaida suspects held by Lebanese security forces HAVE CONFESSED to plotting to kill Hariri and working with Abu-Adas.
The newly formed Information Branch of the Lebanese security (which was formed specifically to investigate the Hariri assassination, under the direct political influence of Saad Hariri) has admitted to torturing them. Franjieh said in the interview that he spoke to the head of the branch about whether this was true. The answer he got was: “it is not credible as the confession was made under torture”! The head of the branch also admitted that the suspects confessed that they sneaked Abu Adas into Syria through the normal border crossing point with Syria (as per the records of the Lebanese border point). When asked why the Syrians did not smuggle Abu Adas across the “military line” when they still controlled it, the answer was that he was snuck into an Al-Qaida stronghold! Hence the growing insistence today that the Syrian authorities control Al-Qaida! Personally, I think that this is pathetic. Franjieh continued with a bombshell: “The 14 February group has refused to allow the Brammertz team to meet with the 13 suspects so far!!!”
2- Saudi and Egypt seem to have decided to reach out to Syria, despite the deterioration of relations during the Lebanon War. The Syrian information minister visited Saudi a few days ago, met with his counterpart, and gave a very friendly press conference following the meeting in Saudi. Mubarak recently said that Egypt’s relations with Syria would always be “brotherly,” no matter what. Bilal (the Syrian information minister) also gave an interview to the very pro-Mubarak Al-Ahram (which had attacked Assad after his famous speech of August 15). Furthermore, if anyone is following the Saudi media recently, he/she will have noticed that attacks on Syria were halted about a week ago. (read Al-Sahrq Al-Awsat and Al-Arabiya in the last week).
My interpretation of this is that the Saudis and the Egyptians have received information that the Brammertz report is a bust (or maybe that it is re-focusing on Al-Qaida). If so then this might strengthen the pro-Syria political powers in Lebanon and they most likely will be back in power very soon, or will at least join the government. I recently spoke to the head of a polling company in Lebanon, which is regularly commissioned by Zogby International and he said that post-war polling showed that the so called March 14 group’s popularity is at an all time low. Nasrallah tops the “national leader” poll followed by Michel Aoun. Saniora comes fourth!
Posted by Idaf
Also don’t miss t_desco’s comments about the meaning of the embassy bombing here
Don’t miss the symbolic dimensions of this attack:
1. It says “look, we are able to strike in the heart of the Syrian capital.”
2. The Syrian security forces are seen defending Americans, thus undermining (at least symbolically) “President Asad’s policy of opposing the United States.”
3. had the attack been successful, it would have increased tensions between Washington and Damascus.
Don’t forget that al-Qa’ida wants the US to attack Iran and Syria. See, for example, the excellent article by Lawrence Wright, “The Master Plan, For the new theorists of jihad, Al Qaeda is just the beginning.” (continue…)