Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Syria is ripe

After the various reports on Syria’s (and Lahoud, obviously) involvement in the Hariri assassination and other terrorist acts, and the arrest of 4 top pro-syrian generals, Assad is under a lot of pressure. So much so, that:

There are conflicting reports regarding the planned visit of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad to New York in mid-September to represent his country at a crucial summit on United Nations reform. Syrian sources have told Adnkronos International (AKI) that the president would not be attending the meeting in New York, but did not give reasons for the decision. However, Syria's ambassador to London, Sami al-Khaymi, interviewed by Lebanese television network LBC, said the "the visit is confirmed even if there could be last minute changes".
The two factors playing into the decision are the threat of protests in New York by Syrian exiles and opposition groups, if president Assad does attend, and the developments in the United Nations inquiry into the assassination of former Lebanese premier Rafik Hariri in February.

Something is moving in this direction:

“If I were in Bashar’s shoes, I would think twice before deciding to come to New York. It will not be a comfortable place for him,” an official from the State Department told the Associated Press news agency on condition of anonymity.

Another U.S. official said that the Bush administration is considering the possibility of imposing more sanctions on Syria.

There is a real risk though, that in exchange for a short term gain, a few doubtful concessions, the international community might strike a deal with Assad:

"Assad is pleading for his life and offering things the U.S. and the U.N. are interested in," a senior Lebanese politician told WND on condition of anonymity. "Syria is offering to drop Lahoud and to stop interfering in Lebanese politics in exchange for letting them off for Hariri."

We shall soon see:

"Assad is coming to New York soon. He wouldn't step one foot on U.S. soil unless he already made a deal, or he knows he's coming to make one," said the politician.

I agree with Syria Comment PLUS that this is a magic moment to hit Assad and his repulsive regime as hard as possible:

…if Assad is not indicted, the world will be missing the golden opportunity, the ultimate checkmate move it needs to change Syria forever.

That would also mean a free Lebanon, better chances for the Israel-Palestinian peace process (by disarming Hezbollah) and an improved situation in Iraq, where Syria has become a major player, interfering at all levels, financing, training and supporting insurgents and terrorists.

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