For a tough but smart analysis of the Lebanon situation see Tony Badran's latest posts at Across the Bay. He quotes an article on Jumblatt's latest revelations about Hariri's last meeting with President Asad.
Jumblat recited in the interview what President Assad told Hariri in their last meeting in Damascus in august last year shortly before Syria dictated the 3-year extension of President Lahoud in power.
"Lahoud is me," Hariri quoted Assad as telling him in the meeting that was held when Hariri was still the prime minister of Lebanon, Jumblat said. "That was the intro of Syria's dictation of Lahoud's extension in September, which led Hariri to resign and which touched of the current crisis," Jumblat explained.
He further quoted Hariri as having told him that Bashar said: "If Chirac wants to get me out of Lebanon I will destroy Lebanon. Jumblat has Druze in Mount Lebanon, but I also have Druze and I shall hit and destroy Mt. Lebanon."
Jumblat said the opposition in Lebanon "does not want to fight the Syrians. They are our neighbors. But we don't want to be annexed in a new Anschluss as Hitler did to Austria in 1938."
Tony argues that Syria will burn its way out of Lebanon much as Saddam did on departing Kuwait. I don't think he will. The Germans and Europeans seem to have persuaded Bush to wait on sanctions until after the May elections in Lebanon.
A number of people here in Damascus have suggested that Syria may try to hold off the withdrawal until the Lebanese elections in order to save face by leaving with a new government and in an orderly fashion. That would seem to be Europe's hope and advice to Bashar. For the time being, President Bush is going along. He cannot use force in Syria or act unilaterally. There are no more troops to spare. He needs Europe this time.