Trusted source reports that a failed palace coup in December has left the al-Assad clan of Damascus in an Elizabethan state, with no safe resolution available. King Lear is dead, and the wretchedly banal and predictable children fight on for the throne.
Aged, bitter Hosni Mubarak and the unstable Egyptian Intelligence back the momentary President Bashar al-Assad, who damaged his credibility as an Arab warlord when he ordered the murder of Rafik Hariri last winter. King Abdullah of Arabia and French Intelligence back a combination of younger brother Maher al-Assad and his brother-in-law Intelligence Chief and skilled assassin Assef Shawqat, both supported by sister Bushra al-Assad, who is the vital powerbroker of the throne room; however, that palace coup failed in December, leaving a stalemate between brothers and sister.
Meanwhile Crown Prince Sultan of Arabia and his ambitious son Bandar favor a Sunni solution, an unnamed alternative to the al-Assads. Yet the Saudis lack conviction: they are reluctant schemers, filled with self-doubt, inferiority, weak imaginations.
Then the third act twisted within the last several days. A Syrian Air Force general who knows all the secrets of the last 34 years of thuggery, intrigue, regicide, greed, and collaboration with Saddam’s Baathists defected to British Intelligence, and he brought with him an iron-minded solution: restore Rifaat al-Assad, the deposed, exiled, disgraced, bloody-handed brother of the dead Learish potentate Hafez al-Assad.
The Americans, led by the frightened, deaf, naïve, Davos-obsessed State Department, refuse to entertain credible alternatives to the inept Bashar or vengeful Bushra; however, the momentary American choice for the throne is a nameless weakling, hiding in Los Angeles.
On Saturday, Great Britain closed its embassy in Amman, under terror threat. Why the threat? Perhaps because the al-Assads are paralyzed and must lash out to make Britain pay for aiding the case for the return of the 1982 butcher of Hammah, Rifaat al-Assad.
What happens next is wormwood, wormwood, wormwood. Pull up a seat. Not too close. Blood splatters.