The Syria Problem

[Weekly Standard] Lee Smith - Before Hizballah's war with Israel, an alliance of Sunnis in Lebanon with Saudi-U.S.-French support was counting on the UN investigation into the murder of former Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri to break Syria's hold on Lebanon and punish Damascus to an extent that the Assad regime might have trouble surviving. William Harris, a professor of political studies at the University of Otago in New Zealand, says Nasrallah wasn't fighting on behalf of the Iranian nuclear program, but to move the Hariri investigation to the bottom of the international agenda for Syria. This theory also explains the media campaign Bashar al-Assad's regime is now openly waging against Saudi Arabia. "Assad's inner circles are charging the Saudis with all kinds of sins," says Tony Badran, a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and editor of Syria Monitor. "Everything from accusing the Saudi military attache of reaching out to Syrian tribal leaders trying to get them to revolt against Assad, blaming Prince Bandar for coordinating with Assad's opponents, former VP Abdel-Halim Khaddam and Muslim Brotherhood head Ali Sadreddine Bayanouni, and claiming Riyadh supports the Israelis." It's no secret that Riyadh wanted Hizballah defeated and their Syrian and Iranian patrons pushed back. Many Israelis are surprised to find themselves, all of a sudden, on the same side as the region's conservative Sunni regimes. The writer is a Hudson Institute visiting fellow based in Beirut.

2006-09-08 01:00:00

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