Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The search for a new presidential candidate in Lebanon. An informed source tells me that Syria and the opposition in Lebanon have lost any faith in the candidacy of Michel Sulayman. They now treat him as a figure who belongs to March 14th, and they are acting accordingly. The statements by Talal Arsalan (a client of the Syrian regime and a close friend of Bashshar Al-Asad) have been the most revealing. The rest are playing a game: pretending to support Sulayman while working behind the scenes to undermine his candidacy. I expect the stalemate to continue into the last day of the Bush administration. Bashshar Al-Asad seems to be falling into an old weapon of his father: extreme patience and diplomatic procrastination. Under such circumstances, it is possible that old names may be brought in: people like Jean `Ubayd (the favorite candidate of Nabih Birri) and Michel Iddi (the favorite candidate of Patriarch Sfayr).