Extra-institutional power centers, as well as attempts to manipulate civic life, have always been here with us. The question concerns the nature of the support they enjoy, and the number and quality of their committed partners in politics, society, and the media. Above all, the question is whom (taking advantage of his ignorance, naivete, or self-serving opportunism) do they use in order to promote their dark objectives… Indeed, how many of the 45 deputies realized that their proposals on social security reform essentially functioned as a provocation, annihilating «their» government’s ability to promote a solution – even a mild one – to the problem? How many of the 55 deputies who requested the removal of the prime minister understand that their political or ideological opposition to Costas Simitis likely coincides with the wishes of extra-institutional forces which are, however, driven by different motives and strategies? No one wants to believe that the entire group, or even a considerable amount of the aforementioned deputies, serve extra-institutional forces and their obscure objectives. They themselves, however, should think seriously whether, unintentionally, their desires and aims are used to fulfill unnatural objectives. They are the first who must trace and isolate any masterminds who might be exploiting them in a deceitful manner rather than tamely follow them. Besides, Prime Minister Costas Simitis – who has been at the country’s helm for the past six years – has yet to visit an Arab country. Once again, with this visit Stephanopoulos, who invited President Assad to pay a return visit to Athens, attempted to cover at least some of the vacuum in the ruling PASOK party’s foreign policy.

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