Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Even a scapegoat can't hide the truth

Basher Assad presides over one of the most corrupt, repressive regimes in the Middle East -- which is saying a lot for that region. Right now, he's struggling to play down the fact that his administration almost certainly was involved in murdering Rafik al-Hariri, and he's mourning the fact that the Lebanese people bravely united to throw off Syria's yoke. Assad's clearly had a lot of time to think about the problems facing him, and he's now identified the real culprit behind all of his problems: Israel:

Syrian President Basher Assad, speaking at Damascus University Thursday morning, said that "recent developments in the region prove Israeli involvement." "There are efforts on the political front to change the cultural face of the region and to draw a new map. The Israeli factor was present in all of these attempts," Assad said. He added Syria would cooperate fully with a United Nations probe into the killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri but held little hope that it would avert pressure on Damascus. "No matter what we do and how much we cooperate, the result after a month will be that Syria did not cooperate... but we have to do our duty," Assad said in a televised speech.
For once, though, Israel is not alone. Apparently, Lebanon, now that it is no longer under Syria's thumb, is also making Assad nervous:
In an unprecedented attack on the Lebanese government, Assad said Prime Minister Fouad Siniora had allowed Lebanon become a base for Syria's enemies. "The truth we see today is that Lebanon has become a passageway, a factory and a financier of these conspiracies," he said. Syria, long the main power-broker in Lebanon, ended its three-decade military presence in its neighbour in April amid an international outcry and mass protests over Hariri's killing. Assad accused Hariri's supporters of exploiting his death for political ends, saying the late Hariri had been Syria's main ally in Lebanon. "The truth is those people, or most of them, are blood merchants. They created a market out of Hariri's blood ... Everything has a price," Assad said.
If I understand his writings correctly, Mark Steyn has consistently said that the pragmatists who controlled world policy for so many decades, and who always opted for the known Devil, essentially created stagnant nationalist ponds in which the most foul dictatorships could grow. Steyn feels that it's better to stir these ponds up, and break apart these foetid cycles. Assad's increasing discomfort as he is surrounded by more and more Democracies and struggling Democracies (as well as suffering an American presence breathing down his neck) seems to prove the point.