After turning down a number of majority-backed consensus offers, most recently delivered by Amr Moussa and first consisting of an offer for a 19+10+1 government (turned down the last time Moussa was around) then developing into an offer for a 19+11 government with a ‘no resignations clause’(for a government with a remaining mandate of only 3 months), the Syrians along with their quislings in Lebanon have signalled their intention to push forward with a plan to undermine the legitimacy of the state and its executive branches as embodied by the Presidency and the Premiership.
Through the attack on UNIFIL, combined with this assault on the state, Syria and its allies will be hoping to undermine the existence of a central state authority with which any international troops in Lebanon, along with their governments, must ultimately deal. Without a central authority there can be no centralization of International, Arab, and Lebanese efforts to extract the country from the political and security mire created by the Syrian regime.
And with Hizballah's faux-investigation of this week's attack against UNIFIL in full swing, the ground work for the forceful detachment of the government from its international obligations and legitimacy has begun. Witness the ongoing meetings between Spanish officers and Hizballah officials, along with that country’s call to Iran’s Foreign Minister for “help in uncovering the identity of the assailants” of the attack– again in an area of the country where “where booby-trapped cars are parked only with its [Hizballa’s] consent”. And there’s more:
France and Italy, who have large contingents in UNIFIL, are worried. If there is no domestic reconciliation, they fear, their forces in the South will be caught between the Siniora government and a rival government in which Hizbullah would be represented. For logistical reasons, UNIFIL would have to deal with both, creating an impossible situation when it comes to recognizing the legality of only one.
A solution that would be bad news for Syria - which had previously declared that it would view such a move as a declaration of war (a little redundant since they have been assassination Lebanese politicians and attacking-by-proxy the Lebanese Army for the past 3 weeks, months, years, decades). And a solution Syria has already moved to dissuade some Lebanese and the international community from pursuing through the attack on UNIFIL, the attacks on the Army in the North, the border closures it has enacted, and the upcoming escalation (i.e. coup attempt) on the cabinet in the form of a second government crisis.
And although such a crisis would to some extent be an end in itself for a regime banking on chaos in Lebanon to generate buyers for its version of peace, it is a crisis with a very limited time-frame dictated by the stresses it will place on the other structures of the state - such as the country’s Central Bank which houses the state’s funds, and the Army which is constitutionally stipulated to report back to the legitimate cabinet – along with the looming presidential elections, parliamentary deliberations for which are due to start this September.
And that is where Syria and its allies in Lebanon will hope to see a significant payoff from this campaign. By creating a two-government constitutional crisis on the heels of the Lebanese Army’s victory in Nahr el Bared (a victory they were unable to snuff out) the Syrians will hope to use the crisis’ resultant disruptions, along with the national admiration imbued in everything Army, to push their candidate for the Lebanese Presidency, one delivered from proven stock (follow the link and check the rumour).
*The UN report also recommended Lebanese inter-agency cooperation at securing the border - a jab at the Hizballah-controlled General Security agency which is in charge of border security and which failed to report a single border violation even while other less-Hizballah-dominated security agencies were continuously intercepting trucks laden with rockets, machine guns, and terrorists.