Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hezbollah stalls Syrian-Saudi detente

By Sami Moubayed
Asia Times

"Born out of a common need to counter Iran's growing regional influence, Saudi Arabian and Syrian ties have improved solidly this year. But hopes of a three-way summit with Lebanon have stalled. Saudi heavyweights say Lebanon's new leader must first overcome Hezbollah's aggressive political demands and succeed in forming a new government.......

The Syrians are insisting that, contrary to reports in the Arab media, the Syrian-Saudi rapprochement which started in early 2009 is still operational.

There are heavyweights in Saudi Arabia who want Abdullah to make the trip only after Hariri creates a cabinet of national unity in Lebanon. Bringing a fully fledged prime minister along is one thing, but taking a prime minister designate - who in three weeks of consultations has not succeeded in forming a government - is something completely different.

To date, Hariri has failed to bring all parties to endorse his program because Hezbollah has not yet approved the new prime minister's program. Hezbollah insists that it be given veto power in the new cabinet, known as the blocking third, to prevent Hariri from passing any legislation related to its arms and the international tribunal over his father's death without first getting approval of the Hezbollah-led opposition......."

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