10/21 -- UPDATE: NYTIMES/AP: The international community must find a way to hold Syrian authorities accountable for the death of a leading Lebanese reformer, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday. Rice said she was deeply troubled by a U.N. report implicating Syria in the killing last February of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Rice spoke to reporters after the release of a report by U.N. investigator Detlev Mehlis that established a clear link between Syrian officials and their Lebanese allies in Hariri's murder. She declined to discuss next steps, beyond saying that some kind of international mechanism must be established to ensure that Syria is held accountable. I have been arguing for a while that Syria's tyrant Assad -- and his murderous socialist/baathist henchmen -- would soon be through - one way or another. Last year I even wrote a post arguing that the ROAD TO TEHRAN GOES THROGH DAMASCUS. Well, the evidence is mounting that this is going to happen SOONER RATHER THAN LATER. Here's are 3 news items from YESTERDAY:
(1)"Reuters" - The head of a U.N. investigation into the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri turned over to Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Thursday a report that diplomatic and political sources said would implicate Syrian and Lebanese officials. Annan planned to transmit the report by veteran German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis to the 15-nation Security Council and to the Lebanese government on Friday. The United States is seeking tough action against Syria and Western powers are already discussing their response. Mehlis had no plan to give an advance copy to Damascus, U.N. chief spokesman Stephane Dujarric said. Syria has grown increasingly nervous over how strongly the report will implicate its officials in the assassination of Hariri and 20 others in a Beirut truck bombing on February 14.
(2) NYTIMES - Syrian opposition grows bolder: "As international pressure on Syria rises, the country's historically quarrelsome and divided opposition groups have issued a broad call for democratic change in the form of a statement that is being called the "Damascus declaration." The Damascus declaration, which was issued on Oct. 16, calls for an end to Syria's emergency laws and other forms of political repression, and for a national conference on democratic change. The statement comes at a particularly tense time for Syria, which is being pressed by the United States and other Western nations to stop foreign fighters from crossing its eastern border into Iraq and to end its suspected interference in Lebanese and Palestinian affairs." (3) ALSO NYTIMES: "Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, facing tough questions about Iraq from Republican and Democratic senators, asserted that progress was being made in securing the country but declined to predict when American forces could withdraw or to rule out widening the war to Syria. ... Ms. Rice was also peppered with questions about possible expansion of the fighting to Syria and Iran, especially after she said both countries had to decide whether they were on the side of war or peace in Iraq. Asked about news reports that fighting on the border could spread to Syria, Ms. Rice repeatedly indicated that no options were being ruled out. "
So, STAY TUNED... (ASIDE: remember, once Syria falls, Iran will be completely isolated and surrounded...)