"Don't tell me 'cause it hurts"
No love lost for Syria, or at least its leadership, in this Daily Star piece by Michael Young:
The decision to round up the security chiefs, some lesser lights, as well as the since-released Nasser Qandil, onetime pasionara of discounted Syrian intelligence carnivals, makes one wonder about the timing. One theory is that Mehlis wants to compare their testimonies to find contradictions, but also to buttress the queries he has prepared for Syrian officials, in the hope that the Lebanese, sensing the sudden change in the wind, will point a finger at Damascus.
That makes sense, but Mehlis is also taking the Fitzgerald report a step further by dismantling the old Syrian-Lebanese intelligence order. This suggests that further arrests are possible - both among those politicians moonlighting as Syrian intelligence agents and additional mid-level security personnel. The man who will pay the greatest political price locally is Lahoud, who for too long blithely sauntered around with Mustapha Hamdan in tow, ignoring Mehlis' description of the chief of the Republican Guard as a "suspect" in the Hariri inquiry. But there is also much likelihood that Mehlis is looking well beyond Baabda.
There have been suggestions in recent press analyses that Assad is out to cut a deal, any deal, to salvage his regime. In exchange for being declared innocent of the Hariri hit by Mehlis, the Syrians are said to be willing to do whatever the United States wants them to - in Iraq, Lebanon, on the Palestinian front, and on the Golan Heights. The buzz is that Assad's visit to New York for the annual General Assembly session is designed to reach such an arrangement with the Bush administration.