Earlier this week, the Kuwaiti as-Siyassah reported (Arabic. Via "Free Syria," 3/23/06) a call by Lebanese MP Walid Jumblat for a meeting between the Lebanese and Syrian groups opposing the Asad regime.
Speaking on a radio show on March 22, Jumblat said (Arabic. Excerpts via the Lebanese al-Balad, 3/23/06) that the Lebanese and Syrian movements opposing "the tyrant of Damascus," referring to Bashar Asad, must come together for a better future for Syrian-Lebanese relations and for a free and independent Syria. He added, "you cannot reconcile freedom and dictatorship."
Jumblat added that in 1952 there was a minimum of democracy in Syria, and that in 1952 Lebanon was a haven for the Syrian opposition. It is perhaps worth noting that the document issued by the newly-formed "National Salvation Front" adopted (Arabic) the Syrian constitution of 1950 as a reference for a post-Asad transitional period in Syria.
The civil society group "Rally for Syria" endorsed (Arabic. Via "Free Syria," 3/22/06) Jumblat's call. In a statement sent to the offices of ar-Ra'i al-'Aam (Arabic. 3/22/06) in Paris, Fahed al-Agha al-Masri, the general coordinator of the "Rally" stated:
"We support the call of MP Walid Jumblat, the head of the Lebanese Progressive Socialist Party, for a meeting between the forces of the national Syrian and Lebanese opposition. We see that such meetings could be a fundamental pillar in reforming and restoring Lebanese-Syrian relations that were undermined by the terrorist and oppressive regime in Damascus. The "Rally for Syria" will try to hold the first meeting between the Syrian and the Lebanese opposition forces at the end of next month at the latest, and before the national conference for democratic dialogue, Paris-2, which is likely to be held in early June."
The report in ar-Ra'i al-'Aam went on to claim that Khaddam had intensified his contacts with certain parties in Lebanon, namely members of the Hariri family as well as MP Akram Shehayeb, who the report claimed was delegated by Jumblat to visit Khaddam in Paris. It is worth noting that Jumblat met with Khaddam in Paris on his way to Washington, DC earlier this month.
However, the report continued, while contacts are being made with parties in Lebanon, these (unidentified) Lebanese parties who want to see the Syrian regime toppled are expressing some reservations about meeting with the Syrian opposition on the principle of not interfering in the internal affairs of neighboring countries.
Nevertheless, the report claimed that Khaddam is preparing a "political bombshell" that he will soon reveal in light of the success of his meeting with the head of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood Ali Sadreddine al-Bayanouni.