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October 19, 2005
US, France To Isolate Syria Over Hariri Assassination

The alliance of France and the US against Bashar Assad and the Syrian government continues at the UN, where the unlikely partnership will press the Security Council to force Syria to account for its role in the murder of Rafik Hariri:

The United States and France are planning to introduce two U.N. resolutions next week aimed at holding Syria to account for meddling in Lebanon and for its alleged links to the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri, according to several sources close to the diplomacy.

The moves would be the toughest international action ever taken against Syria and would be designed to further isolate President Bashar Assad, who for the first time is getting the cold shoulder from key Arab governments such as those in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, Western envoys said.

The impending actions will be "the perfect storm for Damascus," said a Western diplomat at the United Nations, speaking on the condition of anonymity because planning is still underway. "It's pretty clear the Syrians don't have any friends left."

No doubt that Syrians face a low ebb on international relations at the moment. While the Israelis have made the rounds of Arab nations this week, establishing diplomatic ties with most governments in the region, Assad got an earful from Mubarak about his lack of cooperation in the assassination investigation. Even the Palestinians have issued scolding press releases against the Syrians for arming refugee camps, which wind up in the control of Hamas.

The clumsy and incompetent rule of Bashar Assad seems ripe for plucking. If the sanctions that wind up coming out of the Security Council create any real economic damage or diplomatic embarrassment, the dictatorship will not last very much longer. The various powers behind the throne will eject Assad and look for another leader who will better keep those powers safe. Assad's fall, however, may open an opportunity for a popular uprising that could sweep through Syria and put a truly democratic republic in place in Damascus.

As Michael Ledeen would say, "Faster, please."

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 19, 2005 6:21 AM

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Tracked on October 19, 2005 8:32 PM

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