The Saudis weren't kidding. As soon as Berri postponed the session to elect a president, and after the failure of the Egyptian efforts, Saudi Arabia announced that its representation at the Damascus summit will consist of its ambassador to the Arab League. Not even the Saudi foreign minister will be present to pass the torch to a humiliated Syrian president.
While Amr Moussa is still dreaming of Lebanese participation, the cabinet today is expected to announce that it will boycott the summit, which will be the right move and the right message to send. The only place to discuss the election should be in parliament, not Damascus. Syria's buddies have already warned that a boycott will push Damascus to "further complicate matters". And fundamentalist Fathi Yakan, whose own pro-Syrian organ saw hundreds defect and accuse him of being a Syrian tool, held Arab states responsible for "what will befell the regional Arab situation if the security situation in Lebanon explodes".
Berri's 17th postponement, an illegal move by the man who stole the keys to parliament, was coupled with another illegal proposal—holding a dialogue outside the state's institutions. Berri delivered his "ideas" during an interview with anti-government station New TV before the Saudi announcement. One hopes that March 14 does not cave in this time, having discovered time and time again that Berri's dialogue sessions are but time-buying measures and maneuvers to take pressure off the Assad regime, and spread false hopes.
Something else happened yesterday. A sweaty Nasrallah delivered a speech during which he played down the possibility of another war with Israel. Although he vowed to exact revenge on those who killed Mughnieh, and eventually destroy Israel, he said he would continue to negotiate with his enemy for the sake of the detainees. So much for open war.
All must not be well with Nasrallah and his buddies. Underneath his words of defiance was an acknowledgment that the "opposition" is falling apart, or that it really was never more than a front for an increasingly insecure Iranian party, and a Syrian tool. At some point, Nasrallah must have realized that he cannot survive Arab pressure and overplayed Syrian tactics, which consist of playing different people against the government, even if the approaches contradict and lead to implosion. Nasrallah's call for a unified platform is an indication that all is not well in the pro-Syrian camp, which saw itself being pushed into Bashar's limbo land. That the Arab states aren't even bothering with going through the opposition anymore further marginalizes them, making them appear like the puppets they have always been.