Roger L. Simon

Realpolitik in the Middle East...

… a tautology if there ever was one… but an interesting tautology in this Haaretz report for Monday – U.S. officials eye possible Assad successors in Syria.

Israel expects the findings of an international investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri to prove extremely embarrassing for Syria and put President Bashar Assad’s regime in a difficult situation, government sources said Sunday.

The sources added that senior American officials, in recent conversations with their Israeli counterparts, have expressed interest in Israel’s assessments of Assad’s possible successors, asking who Israel thought could replace him and still maintain Syria’s stability. American officials said that their impression from these conversations was that Israel would prefer to have a weakened Assad, vulnerable to international pressure, remain in power, and is unenthusiastic about the possibility of a regime change in Syria.

Pajamas’ “Man in Beirut” (profiled tomorrow) is particularly well placed to assess the results of the international investigation into the Hariri murder. We look forward to his analyses. As for the realpolitik, Haaretz’s Aluf Benn continues:

According to the Israeli sources, Jerusalem has yet to hold a serious discussion about the possible consequences of the Hariri investigation and the changes that could take place in Syria’s government as a result. But under the current circumstances, they said, it is hard to see who could replace Assad other than another strongman of the current regime, and such a change would only push Syria into adopting more extremist policies.

Jutifiable from an Israeli point of view, but from the POV of the Syrian people… mighty grim.

UPDATE – DEPT OF SIMILAR STRATEGY: What other tainted international figure is being left by some to twist in the wind?