The Samaha Case: Another May 2008 tactic that could lead to disasater?
No matter how one views his history or politics, Michel Samaha is undoubtedly one of the most intelligent analysts of the regional situation I have met – little wonder that Assad increasingly relied on him as his rule went on. He is incredibly well read – even if you just consider the Jumblatt Vs. Samaha book club – and careful in his considerations in private…. and more seriously open to criticism and rethinking than most figures I have met in Lebanon.
This is NOT, again, to say anything about the moral or strategic implications of his thinking and his position.
That stressed, I find it hard to believe that the Information Branch has video etc – smoking guns – of Michel in an operational capacity. This simple boggles the mind, if nothing else as Q Nabki said, since Michel knew very well that ALL of his movements and conversations were widely widely monitored.
We shall see – but if this is the March 14 folks hitting back where they can, after the apparent assassination attempts (which I certainly think were actual attempts at murder) – well, they better have some good ducks in a row in terms of evidence because Michel and his supporters have continuously proven themselves far more adept politically, media wise and in sheer tests of strength when it comes down to to it.
This may prove to be an major inflection point of the far wider, looming conflict – an accelerator if you will.
If it is limited, however, and the broader regional conflict is postponed further, it still could boomerang back on M14 in a powerful way that does NOT play into their hands.
Remember May 2008 and how poorly M14 and the US played their hand – indeed, the violence should have tarnished Hizbullah FAR MORE than it did, but M14 and the Bush folks pushed the situation to a confrontation with VERY LITTLE skill and far less composure under duress…. and ultimately gained only some meager long term, mainly discursive benefits against hizbullah, while losing much in the short and medium term.
If this is in fact a push back strategy under fire – if this is lebanon politics as usual and the “evidence is mainly manufactured – the choice of Michel, I think, will prove very very unwise – there are a range of other figures which could have been targeted with far more limited consequences. FPM folks are already using the “targeting christians” card and comparisons to Malawi case which is playing right into the syria narrative!… as but one point.
Will M14 strategists and backers again prove themselves politically unsavvy? Either way, right and wrong are greatly obscured by all sides.