The End


Now the Saudis have asked the Syrians to leave Lebanon, and soon. It's the end, whatever Bashar Assad does. All the props sustaining Syrian power in Lebanon have crumbled, except the resort to brute force; and even there you can kill Rafik Hariri and say it wasn't you. You can say that the bungled assassination attempt against Marwan Hamadeh, a Hariri ally, last October wasn't you either. You can even say that you had nothing to do with the deployment of armed thugs in Beirut belonging to an Islamist group created by the Syrian regime to fight the Muslim Brotherhood (a deployment for the purpose of preventing a meeting between U.S. envoy David Satterfield and Lebanon's Sunni mufti). But can you really say that about any possible new victims?

It's over. From Damascus there is news of gloom and uncertainty, desperation and anticipation of the worst, even talk of a coup, though no one quite seems to know who would organize it.