Sunday, October 16, 2005
Bashar Assad is the problem, said Rafik Hariri (updated)
The paper claims Assad offered to exchange UNSC 1559 with Lahoud’s head but Hariri rejected, opting instead to up the ante with the Syrian regime.
Our problem is not with Emile Lahoud. Look how he recoiled when the orders came to [make Omar Karami Prime Minister]. And our problem is not with Rustom Ghazaleh who, as the Syrian leadership said, represents and implements what Syria wants in Lebanon to the letter. Our problem, actually, is with Bashar Assad.
“We will not be tools in Bashar’s hands,” he told reporters, apparently off the record. “One day he orders an extension and another a dethronement. He wants Lahoud changed now to impose someone else possibly worse for six years. What interests us is changing the methodology (Nahj), not changing masks.”
Hariri, in a subsequent meeting with Ghazaleh, informed the latter that there was no need for Syria to interfere in his choice of candidates for the parliamentary election. “If you view me as an opponent, you cannot demand political support from me,” he told Syria’s intelligence chief in Lebanon.
If the above quotes are accurate, then Bashar is not only Lebanon’s problem, but Syria’s as well. His inconsistencies are proof of a dangerous lack of skills that Hariri felt was going to destroy Lebanon if allowed to continue.
I also don’t see how Bashar is going to escape responsibility for Hariri’s murder if Syrian officials are implicated. Making somebody else a scapegoat will not exonerate him.
UPDATE. From the BBC: "But even before Kanaan's death, there were signs that Syria, under the leadership of its young and relatively inexperienced president, Bashar al-Assad, was losing its way. "
Whaddayou mean "IF"?
Saad and Jumblat's lives will be threatened as long as Bashar will remain in control.