Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Forcing Syria to side with Iran

Looking at the history cited in the article, the US has a long history of meddling in Syria to horrible effect. This latest debacle in Iraq has forced Syria to side with Iran against the US:

Syrian President Bashar Al Assad went to Tehran last Saturday for a much publicised meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. His two-day visit received a lot of media attention, coming in the midst of Saudi-Iranian talks over Lebanon, the situation in Palestine and much speculation on how Syria can help combat the insurgency in Iraq.

By all accounts, Syria's allies seem to be winning throughout the region. In Palestine, despite all the thunder, Hamas has been called in to form another government with Esmail Haniya as prime minister. This is a victory for Syria. Its allies in Iraq, headed by President Jalal Talabani, are putting great effort in normalising relations between Baghdad and Damascus. And in Lebanon, Hezbollah is still struggling to bring down the anti-Syrian cabinet of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. They have not won in Lebanon, but they certainly are not losing. The situation in each of these three countries is linked, one way or another, to the Syrian-Iranian alliance. If anything, Bashar's visit to Tehran is further proof that to the great displeasure of the United States, this relationship is intact.

The Syrians have long realised that so long as George W. Bush is in the White House, a rapprochement with Washington is difficult.

The same applies to France ruled by Jacques Chirac. Since the doors to Washington and Paris are closed, the only alternative for Syria are the doors to the other "superpower". For the sake of argument, let us describe Iran as a superpower, or a superpower in-the-making, or at least, a regional superpower. It is engaged in its own Cold War with the US, resembling, in many cases, the standoff between the US and the USSR during the better part of the 20th century. Syria was forced to take sides in the 1950s and is forced again to take sides in 2007.

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