A "leader" who is having a really bad year

AP via Washington Post:

It's been a rough year for Syrian President Bashar Assad, and it may get even rougher.

With tensions high after another Lebanon bombing, Assad's regime could be shaken to its core if a U.N. probe points to Syrian involvement in the murder of a former Lebanese prime minister.

Assad has endured a humiliating pullout from Lebanon, ending 29 years of Syrian domination over its tiny neighbor. The former eye doctor who came to power five years ago also has been at the receiving end of increasingly menacing U.S. demands to stop insurgents from going into Iraq.

German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis, who is leading the U.N. probe into the Feb. 14 killing of former Lebanese Premier Rafik Hariri, is scheduled to present his findings to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Oct. 21.

With few friends left to turn to, Assad flew to Egypt on Sunday to enlist the help of Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, a longtime U.S. ally, according to two officials familiar with their talks.

Mubarak advised Assad to fully cooperate with the probe and surrender any Syrians U.N. investigators name as accomplices in the killing, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

This is good advice if Assad is really in charge. However, he may not be and those responsible for the fiasco in Lebanon may still be pulling the strings in Damascus, which means Assad is incapable of surrendering the accused. If that is the case, his best strategy is to ask for political asylam on his next foreign trip.

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