Syria command is out of control

Walid Phares:

When the blasts rocked Beirut, massacring former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and his companions, history was taking a new turn in Lebanon: In the hours after the barbaric killing, the dice were rolling. Muslim Sunnis were breaking away from Syrian President Bashar Assad's control, and a Sunni-Druze-Christians alliance was rising while reaching out to the Shi'ite community.
How is it that the Syrian regime, known to be a shrewd planner and a long term strategist, would commit a political suicide? Execute Hariri in daylight and wait for the funerals to take place and for the international community to react, is not at all an Assad smart move. How could the regime's elite allow such a gigantic mistake to be perpetrated?
All students of Syrian and Lebanese politics, and I have been one since 1975, would concur that something of an apocalyptic nature has occurred inside the Ba'ath Party nomenclature for such a folly to happen. No one in the Sunni community is awaiting any judicial evidence to point the finger toward the East of the Bekaa. And very few among the Christians and Druze have a shred of doubt about the perpetrators, having suffered identical losses from Kamal Jumblat to Bashir Gemayel, both assassinated by the Syrian Ba'athists over the past decades. Even clairvoyant Shi'ites have read the signs in the sands: Syria's command is out of control.
Effectively, once an occupier starts eating his past allies, the end is near, even though it would stretch its destiny further in time. Alea jacta est, (what is done is done) by assassinating the most influential politician in Lebanon today, Mr. Bashar's future in the neighboring country is set: It won't have one anymore. The Ba'athist occupation of Lebanon is three decades long. The end of the Cold War didn't remove the Syrian Anchluss from Lebanon. A relic from the Soviet era, the Assad regime systematically annihilated its Christian-Lebanese opponents andpressed Muslim-Lebanese politicians between his own terror and Hezbollah's terrorism. As in Iraq and Syria, a "Republic of Fear" was thriving in Lebanon until September 11. With America waking up to the terror threat worldwide, Ba'athist Syria tried to dodge the new era. It was a terror regime protecting terrorist organizations, but wasn't upgraded to the axis of evil yet. It was given a chance to change, reform and withdraw from Lebanon.
It didn't. It maintained its occupation of Lebanon and opened its borders to the anti-Democracy terror in the Sunni Triangle of Iraq. But the world around Damascus was changing as Saddam was removed, his Ba'ath dismantled and 8 million Iraqi voterscolored their fingers in blue a month ago....
Desperation appears to be the only rational explanation for a miscalculation of this magnitude.


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