Aging Lebanese singer Wadih al-Safi's announcement that he will release two songs dedicated to Syria could not restore color to Bashar's face. Regime stooge Nasser Qandil has also been trying to cheer up his master by spreading a theory that Saudi Arabia, the US, Jumblatt and the Zionists are after him. Mind you Qandil knows that his life is not valued by anyone, not even his pals. But the Assad regime’s pamphleteer is, as instructed, attempting to cover up the humiliation caused by the Mughnieh assassination. Nasrallah’s open war call had failed to remove the question lingering in people hearts and minds. How could the Hizbullah superhero perish in Damascus of all places, under the watch of its intelligence agencies? Was the killing really facilitated by someone from the inside? Trouble in paradise? Has the brother-in-law done it again?
Regardless of whether Hizbullah’s master planner was co-assassinated by the killers of Rafik Hariri, it looks like the Assad game in Lebanon has not brought them relief. A Saudi fleeing Lebanon is not a Saudi going to Damascus, it is a Saudi funding a tribunal. And a summit without a Lebanese president is not a summit worth attending. This much was made clear by the Saudis and Egyptians, who, after the EU, have learned (the hard way), that the Assad regime deserves what it brings to itself.
It continues to kill Bashar how much importance the world gives to a country such as Lebanon. If you think Beirut is troubled, you haven’t seen Damascus. The regime is so frightened, it has jailed everyone in sight—from political dissidents to bloggers writing about motorcycles. The level of distrust and paranoia is reaching new levels. Isolation is not what the doctor ordered for this regime.
Like you, I follow with utmost disgust Aoun’s adventures as a “negotiator”. It is easy to forget, given the preposterous arguments he advances, that the former general is nothing but an empowered village idiot, who was promised a hut if he moved his act to the town hall. In other words, Aoun is there to buy time, as was Berri before him, before the latter ran out of ideas.
The challenge is to not let ourselves see this as a purely Lebanese matter. Lebanon has a lot at stake, and the opposing side is at fault for lacking imagination, but this is also a battle of wills against the Assad regime. One hopes that the time will come when their house of cards falls apart, hopefully with more of that inside help that brought them isolation. As for Hizbullah, forget Nasrallah's size challenge (the man's shortcomings are exposed with every weapon he hands to a child). Hizbullah is only half of what it used to be, despite the flaunting of rockets, and the occasional remembrance of Moussa As-Sadr. The soil under them is starting to rot. No missile will bring them back what they lost, and what they will lose if the Assad regime continues to devour its own.