The Petulant Lot & their Not So Petty Challenge!

Syrian officials did not show any sign of real remorse for the failure of their security apparatuses to protect the Danish Embassy from vandals. On the contrary, they were defiant: it is the Danes who should apologize for even criticizing the arson of their embassy. For by doing so, they failed to appreciate the real efforts of the security people who took quite a beating for trying to protect the embassy of the infidels.

Well, that twist of logic should not be so surprising really. Baath officials have never acknowledged mistakes or shown any signs of remorse for anything before (not even for the loss of the Golan Heights), and they are not about to do so now. So there.

But no, we should not fail to see the emerging bigger picture here. We should not fail to take under consideration’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s defiance of the international community, nor Muqtada Sadr’s pledge to fight for Syria and Iran, nor Khalid Mishaal’s assertion that Hamas will never acknowledge Israel’s right to exist. The Axis of Evil, minus N. Korea, is making a move here and is throwing the glove in the face of the international community.

No, this is not a simple petty defiance, but a calculated move based on the assumption that the international community, for all its current bluster, has no choice but to yield. After all, this Petulant Lot may not be wrong in assuming that it holds, if not hordes, all keys to regional stability.

So, what will the international community to do? Fuck that. What will the US, France, Great Britain and Germany to do? How will they respond to this challenge? Will they plan a new military venture? If so, do they have what it takes to get the Russians at least on their side?

I doubt it. But unless they can come up with something to break down this alliance, the bad guys, no matter how petulant they happen to be, seem poised to win a very major and decisive round. This is the problem with brinkmanship diplomacy, it does give fools the chance to be winners.

The only thing that I can advice at this stage to beak this alliance is to focus on Syria, which is clearly the weakest link here.

But, and this is quite important, any move against the Syrian regime should come only as part of a clear strategy for dealing with the real threat here, namely: Iran. If such a strategy is not agreed and soon, whatever move is made, be it unilateral or multilateral, and whether it involves Russia or not (the Chinese are a lost cause here) will likely strengthen Iran’s hand on the long run (and, by default, China as well).

Petulant brinkmanship can only be defeated through the judicious application of power. The Petulant Lot needs to be reminded of its fragility and its real size soon. For the more confused the international community is, the more momentum is gained by this Lot, and the more likely that it would push forward with its foolish strategy.

Things should be managed in such a way that, for one, Ahmadinejad is made to take the blame, so as to allow for some internal mechanism to remove him or at least curb his powers.

Second, Muqtada Sadr could be neutralized by entangling him in some internal squabble with other Shia Iraqi leaders.

Third, Khalid Mishaal’s role could be neutralized if Hamas is brought on board, which could indeed happen if only pressures on it were decreased for the time being, and it was left to administer its newly-gained and very troubled and troubling realm in relative peace and quiet.

This leaves Syria and Hezbollah.

But then, and with regard to Syria, the ransacking of the Danish Embassy(ies) affords another opportunity for orchestrating a new pressure campaign against the regime, which could include high profile meetings with opposition figures in Europe and the US. Some kind of a multilateral action or statement, even if outside the purview of the UN, should also be made. It might even be time to renew calls for investigating the President in relation with the ongoing probe into the Hariri assassination. A new corruption scandal or revelation wouldn’t hurt either, especially at a time when there is so much popular anger with regards to rising prices of basic foodstuffs and commodities in the country.

As for Hezbollah, well, only Israel can actually keep it pinned down and anxious for a while. Next time a rocket is fired across the border, the Israeli response should be a bit less subdued, albeit it should be limited to Hezbollah areas only.

These are only tactical moves of course meant to help contain the situation for the time being. The endgame is not in sight yet. For the endgame requires more intensive consultations between the Permanent Five, or even the G8 members, to enable the adoption of an actual new vision for the region, and so that a clear implementation strategy of this vision is agreed.

Indeed, those who want to be involved in the region need to set clear goals and guidelines for their involvement. For one cannot effectively manage anything, be it chaos or order, without having a clear vision and strategy in mind. How about a region like ours then?

Such moves would have seemed quite unlikely a mere few days ago, but now, with the nuclear stand-off with Iran rearing its ugly head again, and due to the climate of anger and anticipation created by the new Rushdiesque, currently sweeping across the world, perhaps the time for that has finally come.

12 thoughts on “The Petulant Lot & their Not So Petty Challenge!

  1. “I doubt it. But unless they can come up with something to break down this alliance, the bad guys, no matter how petulant they happen to be, seem poised to win a very major and decisive round.”so if Syria, Iran etc are the bad guys are you suggesting that the West are the good guys? If so then i fully disagree with you and with the propaganda rhetoric Dubya and his boys sing. This NOT good vs. evil; This bad guys fighting among themselves for power and control period. The weaker parties are only more desperate and tend to use the “dirtier” tricks. They don’t have access to or know any other way. While the bigger more powerful team can have the luxury in masking their power hunger with the spread of liberty and democracy crapTarek

  2. Yeah sure dude, it’s all Syria’s fault, even when the fingerprints of the Saudi terrorist regime are bigger than the proverbial elephant in the living-room!Lebanon’s new interior minister a certain Ahmad Fatfat holds dual Saudi/Lebanese citizenships and was a member of the Dannieh branch of the fascist Moslem Brotherhood youth movement: we can surely count on him and on his disinterested “Darak” NOT to catch Harirista church-burners and other Wahhabi thugs!Expect him to indict some hapless Syrian migrant workers instead…Your fascist friend Tony Bad-Rat will no doubt write an self-righteous editorial titled “Leb Cops Caught More Baathist Thugs”:)

  3. Risking to reek of Schadenfreude, Ammar, I’d like to point out that Tarek, and what he repsents in Syrian society, is at least not a product of Lebanon! Of course, the Schadenfreude soon dissappears when we realize what exactly idiots like Tarek are actually supporting and what it means for the Lebanese, not just the Syrians.As for “Victor de la Vega” or Abu Lanjri zabr 7mar or whatever other stupid names he uses, I’m not sure of his provenance. I just know that he’s an idiot.

  4. I on the other hand didn’t misspell anything: You’re an idiot. Not even a funny idiot. Just a plain old idiot. That’s all you were, that’s all you can ever aspire to be: an idiot.

  5. Innocent Criminal… The Petulant Lot are indeed the “bad guys” from the point of view of those who are enslaved by them and/or who have been driven away from their homes by them. No, this does not automatically make “good guys” of all Western leaders, but, like it or not, so long as the rhetoric of democratization, human rights and development is used we need to tap into it to see if we can get some real support for our activities on the ground. In this, I prefer to get cooperation from civil society groups in the Europe and the US, but absent clear policy guidelines from their respective governments, the mandates and funds of these groups tend to be quite limited, hence the need to push for greater support from western governments. I am first to acknowledge that this strategy is born out of desperation and necessity than any conviction in the saintliness and pure intentions of western leaders. But, once again, like it or not, we need to find ways to harmonize our interests with the demands of western economies, so that we can get a breathing space that can allow us to work on the developmental challenges faced by our societies. For that what things boil down to as far as I am concerned: the ability to modernize and develop our peoples and societies. Under existing regimes, this has proven impossible. They are simply too corrupt and inept to allow for that or to manage it themselves. This gives us no choice but to seek their demise. Still, faced with streets that are quite inimical and uncomprehending of our vision and plans, as liberal westernized thinkers, we have no choice but to rely, no matter how partially, on external support. Will such a strategy born out of necessity work? I am not sure. Ideally, things would have been much better had we had a chance to work quietly in our countries, relying solely on our means allowing ourselves the luxury of time and gradual development, but this is a luxury that we don’t have. Why? One again, because our regimes are too inept and western powers too interested. So, we have to find ways to create that breathing space I noted. As such, this strategy is not born out of naivety, but out of necessity, and there are no guarantees that it will succeed. And for all the holes in it, I’ll stick to it so long as I fail to see an alternative to it. If there is another vision out there, another strategy that can help us modernize and develop our societies that we can, one day, live in countries where living conditions and rule of law are somewhat commensurate with our actual resources and our own expectations, let’s have it. But if anyone is going to utter the world Islam in it, other than in the context that Islam is going to still be there as the religion of the majority of the peoples in the region, then, I don’t want to hear anything about it. I have heard it all before, and I was shamefully, an adherent at one foolish point in my life that seems so remote now as not to be real. Abu Lanjri… First, no one is seeking to cast any shadows on “Syria” the homeland, my homeland, but I am definitely blaming the Syrian regime. Let’s make that clear. Second, Saudi influence over the growth and spread of Islamist movements has been taken place in full light of day in Syria, and elsewhere, with the tacit support and approval of the Syrian ruling junta for more than two decades now. For our wise and eternal leaders seem to have thought, and they still, in fact, think, that they can control such movements and use them for their benefit. Indeed, it is an established fact by now that Syrian and Egyptian Islamists have always been the better ideologues of all Islamist movements financed by Saudi money. This seems to be the essence of the Assad Senior’s Strategy for Sunni Containment: take the Islamists, give them chance to organize themselves, and then channel their violence outward and let it spread elsewhere and as part of the regime’s plans to further its regional goals. The strategy proved quite effective for years now. So much so, that the Son is now using to deploy Islamist forces in the only arenas he has left: Syria, Lebanon, and, if he can help it, the Palestinian Territories. Tony… Don’t take it so hard, my friend.

  6. Addendum,The allegations that an alliance of convenience of sorts was actually struck between the Hariri Camp and some Islamist groups, such as the Ahbash et al, are well-founded of course, but so does the link between the Ahbash et al and the various Syrian security apparatuses.

  7. Yes, continue to prove how much of an idiot you are and you’ll always be. I (let alone Wolfowitz and Cheney) am an heir to al-Albani, mmm, yes. Repeat after me: i-d-i-o-t.

  8. Ammar, Hariri never struck any alliance with the Ahbash. The Ahbash are Syrian-controlled and they had a hand in the assassination of Rafiq Hariri. I think you made a typing error or a slip. He did ally with the Jama’a in the elections in the north, and that is really a tactical alliance, adn they have expressed displeasure with some of his policies. The way he (rather, the Saudis) got them to vote for him was through money. It’s not really a political alliance.

  9. “But if anyone is going to utter the world Islam in it, other than in the context that Islam is going to still be there as the religion of the majority of the peoples in the region, then, I don’t want to hear anything about it.”I couldn’t agree more; then again I’m pretty much an Atheist.But you seem to overlooking a glaring contradiction. If democracy is what you crave to achieve then it will inevitably mean the “i” word. Suppression of Islamic parties in our region has been a factor (not the main one) in the increase of fundamentalism and hence their popularity. So when the gates of hell/democracy open so will the right of these monkeys and the millions of apes behind them to get their message across. And they will be more successful than any secular politician out there, whether he/she is backed by the west or not. And I believe the Islamic wave will be more powerful than the one we see in Iraq for mainly two reasons, no American occupation to keep everyone in check and two – Sunni majority. But if the goal is to replace a authotarian government with another that will keep democratic values in check I wouldn’t see a big problem with that, other than my gut feeling that says you just cant do it. You don’t have the means, the support, and most importantly the masses on the streets but your muslim brothers 😉 DO. I know am sounding like Josh and I know you disagree but its how I feel. Below is something I wrote earlier relating to the topic.The one and only option that I see as a way out for the Syrian leadership is the option they are likely to take if hell should freeze over, and that is to open up…exponentially!!! By allowing real freedom of speech, press, and seriously pave the road to a true multi-party system.Syria is steam cooker ready to explode and the government shouldn’t just loosen the steam valve but to take the whole lid off. While it’s clear that crisis management and pro-activeness is not Damascus’s strongest asset, one can only hope that realism is. And at this point of time cutting your losses is the soundest strategy, and losing some of the Ba’ath’s influence is a much more pleasant scenario than losing the whole shebang. If they really wanted to (and they DON’T) they can take the lead in the mid-term and chaperon the transition into a political system in which the Ba’ath and Alwaite echelon can still play a pivotal role in Syrian society. They have always excelled in maintaining security in such a hostile region, but they have failed miserably in good governance and that’s where other SECULAR and realistic parties can play a role. Opposition parties should not, and don’t seem to, kid themselves in thinking that Syria’s external weakness will translate into a fatal internal hemorrhage, so dialogue must commence even if they prefer a different leadershipSo in short Ammar, I suggest you make a deal with your devil, otherwise you don’t have a chance IMHO.Tony,You are a dork, I have been ignoring your silly insults for a while but for god’s sakes man when you curse go all the way and don’t give me some half-ass shit like calling me an idiot, cause you REALLY hurt my feelings ;). I suggest you and your lover Dr. V keep the bickering to yourselves cause I have read both of your blogs and comments and I am certain that both of you have severe mental retardation. So keep me out of it. Big kissTarek

  10. Who was talking to you? I was talking to Ammar. Please don’t butt in on other people’s conversations. Go back to pontificating about good and evil and how we should hold hands for poor “desperate” Bashar. Here’s something to help you on your way.

  11. IMHODon’t be too surprised, but I actually agree with your analysis. My point was that PERSONALLY I don’t believe in Islam as a viable alternative, not to mention the SOLUTION, but I surely know that the majority of people in our crazy part of the world don’t agree with me, and that for them Islam IS the Solution par excellence. And I don’t mean to exclude these people from the political process, believe me. I think the exclusion policy is going to make them even stronger while making appear, with all our talks of democracy and commitment to human rights, like charlatans and hypocrites. Indeed, had our regime been willing to undertake the transformation that you described, our lives and choices would have been that much better. But it so happens that our regime is neither willing nor capable of orchestrating something like this, hence, the devil with which we have to deal and live for the foreseeable future is the devil of Islamism. My hope is that the hell of Islamism will prove more like purgatory and that it will eventually prove to be an ephemeral affair, and that our Sunni majority will learn out of their own particular experience that Islam is NOT the solution, and that solutions tend to be more complex in reality than to fit in any one ideological framework. My hope for Syria is to be able to manage the Islamist mayhem that we have to go through in such a way as to allow for the maintenance of a liberal secular veneer or, at least, a niche for those of us who happen to think that Islam is Not the Solution. Can it be done? Well, as we can see in the Palestinian Territories, Hamas’ victory did not bring with it the universal application of Sharia. Political conditions are simply too complex at this stage to allow for that. I am hoping that conditions in Syria will prove similarly complex so as to allow us to survive a period of a potential Islamist domination of the political process. We can hedge our bets here by increasing our contacts with the international community and serve as the main conduits for dialogue between the two groups. In other words, the trick is to make ourselves indispensable to both sides, the international community needs to have us around so it can justify speaking to Islamists without being accused of reneging on certain ideals, and the Islamists need to preserve our presence so that their presence can be legitimized by the international community, and so that they don’t being as isolated as the regime they are seeking to replace. Let’s not forget there that they need to provide the economic reforms that the regime ahs not been able to provide so that basic living standards are improved. Failure to do with will de-legitimize them in the eyes of any of their supporters. A protest vote can go both ways.

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