Monday, February 28, 2005

Thinking some about the TKS post linked to in the previous post, there isn't a man or woman alive in the political blogosphere that wouldn't love to see Bush's strategic plan for Syria - how many items have been checked off so far and the 'good', 'bad', 'no effect' type comments in the magin to the right of each.

It has to be that the Administration's top checkbox reads "Regime Change" and, while the plan has been in the cool box for a long time, the sad, unfortunate, and unexpected death of Harari it would not be a bad bet that subsequent events in Lebanon has moved to the hot box. This is a perfect impetus to act; Syria is staggering backwards and there's no time like the present give Assad the pushes needed to make him fall flat on his back.

The scuttlebut Mr. Geraghty posts could be seen as an effort to have Syria remove their troops post haste, just to create ready reserves to respond to probing incursions along the Iraqi border. When and if incursions come, it will most likely be described as action against Iraqi insurgent centers in Syria and justified by the most recent capture of Saddam's brother-in-law and 29 other Iraqi Ba'athists. The capture of these 30 put the lie to Syria's constant denial that the Iraqi insurgency is being run out of their country. The captured were (are) not the only ones there. It is possible that Zarqawi is now there, too. It will be interesting to see if Syria pulls the troops from Lebanon before incursions begin or after.

To increase the odds of success in toppling Assad and assisting its replacement with a democratic order, forcing Lebanon out of Syria sooner is much better. As the wave of freedom and democracy that laps against each country in the Middle East finds success to be easier, more peaceful and rapid, the greater the probability of success there is with the next one. A quick retreat of Syria from Lebanon followed by a change in government in Lebanon with a more liberal one, should embolden government opposition in Syria. It can't but be felt by Syrians that the not just Iraq's hard won freedom and but also Lebanon's much more peaceful achievement of freedom can also be acquired by them. Planning by Syrian opposition to take advantage of every little event should be in the works, if there is truly an opposition.

A Syrian domino falling would probably sound the death knell for Iran. From a strategic point of view, it would be best if the syrian domino fell before the Iranian presidential elections. If the US is serious about making sure Iran does not go nuclear, this is their best route right now.


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