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Author Topic: Is Syria next?
Babbler # 1064

posted 20 July 2003 03:39 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Could be, writes Charles Glass in the LRB.

Survival is a preoccupation in Syria, as much among the conservationists who lobby to defend ancient monuments as within the governing elite who seek to protect themselves. Everyone in Syria senses that, following its invasion of Iraq, the US is turning to Damascus. Iran - a higher profile target in recent weeks - is unlikely to divert American attention from Syria. Washington has made it clear that it intends to deal with both regimes at once. When Colin Powell visited Bashar Assad after the conquest of Baghdad it was to name the price of Baathism's survival in Syria: ending support for Hizbollah in Lebanon, closing the Damascus offices of Palestinian guerrilla organisations and deporting their leaders. He told President Assad not to allow Palestinian spokesmen in Syria to speak to journalists. Years ago, it was the regime of Bashar's father, Hafez Assad, that did not want Palestinians to talk. Bassam Abu Sharif, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine's spokesman in the early 1980s, met me secretly at his Damascus flat and spoke in whispers while letting water run into the sink to conceal our voices from the Syrians' electronic eavesdroppers. He referred to Syria as 'Alaska', just in case.

Alaska, frozen in the political rhetoric of a 1960s Soviet client, is now surrounded. Jordan, Israel and Turkey host American forces and are formidable foes in their own right. All three are in dispute with Syria over water rights, while Syria claims that both Israel and Turkey occupy part of the land allotted to it under the post-First World War French Mandate. Iraq has become an American protectorate, and America has told Syria that it must, like a rare breed of bird, adapt to the new environment or die. The Syrian Army and Intelligence Services are playing their own imperial game in Lebanon, but their presence there has become as vulnerable to American subversion as America's forces are to indigenous resistance - with or without Syrian and Iranian encouragement - in Iraq.

With American forces in Baghdad, Perle continued his rhetorical assault on Syria. He told Graham Turner, whose three-part article, 'An American Odyssey', appeared in the Daily Telegraph in June: 'Somehow, we've got to isolate Assad and make him realise that there's very little benefit in playing host to these people' - i.e. Hizbollah and Palestinian groups. His neoconservative comrade at the American Enterprise Institute, Michael Ledeen, was more explicit in conversation with Turner: 'Iraq is not what it's all about. We have been at war for twenty years with a terror network supported by Iraq, Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia . . . Now, like it or not, we're in a regional war, and we can't opt out of it. We have to bring down these regimes and produce free governments in all these countries . . . Undermining the governments of other countries? No big deal.'

[ 20 July 2003: Message edited by: 'lance ]

From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 3830

posted 21 July 2003 12:11 PM      Profile for Blind_Patriot     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Does the United States really want democracy for Syria and the rest of the Arab world? Should it? Since 1949, when the CIA staged the first of the Arab world's many military coups in Syria, America has helped to suppress democratic movements throughout the Middle East.
Hypocracy then, and now.

From: North Of The Authoritarian Regime | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged

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