syria about to get a clip on the ear

  1. 5,748 Posts.
    How come Fullguy and the other Israeli bashers aren't whinging about Syria opccupying Lebanon?

    Jul. 14, 2003
    Editorial: Meanwhile, back in Damascus

    The American effort to seed democracy in and uproot violence from postwar Iraq has understandably shifted the world's attention away from the political ailments that plague neighboring countries. However, the despotism and belligerency that characterize the regimes in Teheran and Damascus continue to threaten the Middle East's stability and prosperity.

    Only the future will tell just how farsighted and effective the American response to the recent student upheaval in Teheran has been. As for Syria, there are reports that Washington is actually about to make a move.

    According to Ma'ariv, the US has told Damascus categorically to withdraw from Lebanon, deport terrorist leaders who are headquartered in Damascus, and dismantle Hizbullah.

    Given that US forces now border Syria in Iraq, and given that US leaders have in the past threatened military action against Syria, there is no doubt that Damascus should and, if it has any sense at all, will take such a statement from Washington seriously. Then again, if past performance is any indicator of future behavior, Syrian President Bashar Assad has shown that he can be counted on not to believe the US is serious and not to adhere to Washington's demands.

    In the past, this behavior has not served Assad badly. After Secretary of State Colin Powell's visit to Syria in May, for instance, the US expressed satisfaction that Syria was moving to dismantle terrorist headquarters in Damascus. In fact, Syria closed down no terrorist headquarters and has reportedly continued to transfer terrorists and supplies to Iraq to aid in the widening guerrilla war being fought against US and British forces there.

    Syria's role in the global terror war against the US, Israel, and other Western countries is a known quantity. Syria houses terrorist headquarters. Syria has provided Hizbullah a territorial base in Lebanon. It arms Hizbullah, allows the transfer of Iranian arms to Hizbullah from Damascus's airport, and allows Iranian Revolutionary Guards to operate in Hizbullah bases in the Bekaa Valley.

    As Gal Luft, codirector of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security in Washington, points out in an article in the latest issue of Commentary magazine, with its sophisticated armaments, territorial base, state sponsorship by Syria and Iran, and financial resources, Hizbullah has outstripped al-Qaida as the most dangerous terror organization with global reach.

    Whereas al-Qaida is generally viewed today to be in the possession of antiquated Soviet-era anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles and small arms, Hizbullah is armed with modern Iranian missiles and rockets. These munitions render it capable of shooting down planes, destroying tanks, and launching attacks against targets in Israel that cover fully a quarter of the population. In fact, ahead of the US invasion of Iraq, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon claimed that Iraq was moving its weapons of mass destruction through Syria to Lebanon. This view has been repeated since the war by Western intelligence sources.

    Well before Operation Iraqi Freedom, key US policymakers and lawmakers were fingering Syria and Hizbullah and arguing that the two posed a greater threat to US national security than Iraq. One of the reasons given behind the scenes for the US aversion to fighting either the Syrians or Hizbullah was that such action would make it impossible for the US to continue differentiating between its war on global terrorism and Israel's.

    A US operation in Syria or Lebanon would expose the reality that many in Washington desperately wish to ignore that the US and Israel are fighting the same war.

    If the US is finally reaching the conclusion that Syria's sponsorship of global terrorism can no longer be brushed aside and that Hizbullah can no longer be allowed a free pass because its primary target has always been Israel, this is wonderful news for the war on terror. If, on the other hand, the US is unwilling to join forces with Israel in combating this common threat, then there can be little long-term gain from a US operation against either.

    Syria and its proxies have never concealed their enmity to the Jewish state, which has been active, consistent, and lethal. It follows, that if the US comes to the determination that it must launch military operations somewhere between Syria and Lebanon, Israel must be a partner in such an effort. For Israel, being kept at arm's length during such US actions would send a message of weakness and impotence to its neighbors that would only sow the seeds of future aggression. If the US retains its military credibility at the expense of Israel's regional legitimacy, the Middle East will never be stabilized.
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