Assad Speaks On Israeli Strike and Peace Conference

Either the the White House is engaging in a razzle-dazzle form of psychological warfare and super deception, or it really is preparing the ground for some sort of strike on Iran – and perhaps Syria. Increasingly, it seems we were played by Cheney and crew on the nuclear-North Korea justification for the Israeli strike on Syria. (I  thank t-desco for most of the following links.)

President Assad interview with BBC Monday Oct. 1, 2007

Syrian president tells BBC Israeli warplanes struck “unused military building” last month, AP

Syrian President Bashar Assad told the British Broadcasting Corp. on Monday that Israeli warplanes attacked an “unused military building” in his country last month and said Damascus reserves the right to retaliate.

But Assad said his country was not about to attack Israel in response, suggesting he did not want to hurt chances at peace talks with the Jewish state.

The comments were the first by the Syrian leader about a mysterious Sept. 6 Israeli air incursion over Syria that raised speculation that warplanes had hit weapons headed for Hezbollah or even a nascent nuclear installation, reports Damascus has repeatedly denied.

“Retaliate doesn’t mean missile for missile and bomb for bomb,” Assad told the BBC in an interview in Damascus. “We have our means to retaliate, maybe politically, maybe in other ways. But we have the right to retaliate in different means.”

“But if we wanted to retaliate militarily, this means we’re going to work according to the Israeli agenda, soemthing we don’t look for. That doesn’t mean we squander any opportunity for peace in the near future,” he added in the interview, which was monitored in neighboring Lebanon.

But Assad said Syria was not about to attack Israel. Asked whether Syria was considering striking at Israel, he said “it’s possible, but we don’t say this is the option that we’re going to adopt now. We say that we have very different means.”

Previously, Syrian officials had said only that the Israeli warplanes entered the country’s airspace, came under fire from anti-aircraft defenses, and dropped munitions and fuel tanks over northeastern Syria to lighten their loads while they fled.

The BBC quoted Assad in the interview as saying the attack was on an “unused military building.” The BBC did not air that part of the interview.

Israel has clamped a news blackout on the incident. U.S. officials have said Israeli warplanes struck a target, wiht some saying it was a cache of missiles headed for Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas allied to Syria and Iran.

But at the same time, a senior American nonproliferation official said that North Korean personnel were in Syria helping its nuclear program, resulting in speculation nuclear installations had been targeted.

Syria and North Korea both denied the reports and accused U.S. officials of spreading the allegations for political reasons.

On Saturday, Syrian Vice-President Farouk al-Sharaa said everything reported so far about the Israeli air raid was wrong and part of a “psychological war” against Damascus intended to lay the ground for future attacks.

Asked in the BBC interview whether Syria was rearming and strengthening its missile capabilities, Assad said: “This is very normal and self-evident that we’re going to prepare ourselves for that.”

“That’s why you have the army, to defend your territory. We don’t build the army to make any aggression but defend our country, and this is normal — especially after the war on Lebanon last year, when we see the Israelis wreaked havoc on Lebanese cities in Beirut, in south of Lebanon,” he added, referring to the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel.

Assad also said Syria needs to know details of an international peace conference on the Middle East planned in the United States later this year before it decides whether to participate.

“This conference or any conference is going to be an opportunity but it should be purposeful. It should be substantive,” he said. “I don’t see where is the purpose and what is the substance of this conference. What are they going to talk about?”

“It needs more clarifications for Syria to take a decision,” he said.  AP

Shifting Targets, The New Yorker
The Administration’s plan for Iran.
by Seymour M. Hersh

Daily Telegraph  “Concern is also growing in the CIA and the Pentagon that the White House exaggerated intelligence used to justify an Israeli air raid on a suspected nuclear facility in Syria earlier this month, which some neo-conservatives hope is a precursor to war with Iran.”
Neocons seek to justify action against Teheran….

Arab Monitor, UNDOF commander concerned about Israeli offensive build-up on Golan Heights

Berlin, 30 September – Major General Wolfgang Jilke, the Austrian commander of the UN Disengagement and Observer Force deployed on the the Golan Heights, voiced out his concerns over the continuing military build-up on the Israeli side of the 75-km long buffer zone. In an interview released to the German Der Spiegel, Jilke alerted public opinion to the danger of clashes breaking out due to Israel’s unpreceented concentration of troops and military build-up in the Golan Heights.

He stressed that contrary to what is currently being reported in the Israeli press, the Syrian side has not enhanced its troops’ deployment and has remained absolutely quiet, whereas the Israeli side is going into the fourth month of continuous build-up, involving a massive surge of military exercises and an enormous construction activity.

Furthermore, the Israeli army is digging many kilometers of trenches. According to observations of Jilke, the Israeli activities are clearly aimed at preparing for a military offensive involving heavy artillery and air force.

SPIEGEL, Kriegsgefahr in Nahost, 29 September 2007

Syria says Israeli air raid aimed at justifying future attack (Friday)

Shara says Israel manipulating public opinion to convince world Israel does not want war.

DAMASCUS – Syrian Vice President Faruq al-Shara said on Saturday that a recent Israeli air raid on what is thought to be a Syrian military installation was meant to provide justification for future aggression on the country.

“Those who continue to talk about this raid and to invent inaccurate details (about it), are aiming to justify a future aggression” againt Syria, Shara said at a press conference with his visiting Iraqi counterpart, Adel Abdel Mahdi.

“They are manipulating public opinion to convince it that (Israel) does not want war. They are lying about that,” he added.

Shara went on to denounce “Arab or international parties that write about things that did not happen and who claim North Koreans or others were killed” in the September 6 raid.

“Anyone who says that is wrong and is trying to conduct psychological warfare against Syria, which will not be tricked. Certain people in Israel are hoping that through this they can repair the beating given to the Israeli army by the Lebanese resistance.”…..

New Anti-Syria bill being prepared in congress.
House Res. 690: Expressing grave concern of the House of Representatives…

Expressing grave concern of the House of Representatives for Iran and Syria’s continued and systematic violations of UN Resolutions 1701 and 1559. …

Representative Mr. Israel and Mr. Knollenberg submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs ….

Comments (52)


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51. Alex said:

Ausamaa,

I agree about Lebanon. All the Syrians I speak to also agree.

As for anger management … I am more into this approach to problem solving.

Israeliguy

“passionate” is a good word. I’ll accept that modified label : )

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October 3rd, 2007, 2:17 am

 

52. Mark McHenry said:

I find your analysis here way off base:

>Bashmann said:

Alex,

Respect is earned as you may know not imposed or forced. This President’s father, with all his dictatorial practices earned the respect of his neighboring Arab government after thirty years in power. Anyone with the slightest intelligence in Syria can tell you the country was much stronger politically and regionally under the late Hafez Assad rule than what it is now. Remember the Time Magazine article in the 80’s, Hafez was selected among the most powerful men in the ME while the Godfather of the current neo-con’s President Ronald Reagan was in office. Syria might have not been able to deter an Israeli invasion then but it would have given Israel a bloody nose if Israel ever would have thought about it. His control of Lebanon then was essential to the balance of powers in the region. But that is all ancient history now.

A respected President would not have called the rest of the Arab government heads “half-men”. Bashar’s gamble on the emotions of the uneducated masses for mere popularity will eventually be his ending. The days of Arab solidarity slogans have long been over since Nasserism proved to be a failure. He should have backed his words with actions during the assault of the IDF on Lebanon last year instead he was busy working on eliminating his opponents by >terrorist means devised by his security agencies.

A) Whatever Hafez Assad did to stand up to Israel in the 1980’s was prior to 9-11. 9-11 changed everything in terms of U.S. foreign policy. To the American public 9-11 cast the suspicion of “evil” on any Muslim nation taking any aggressive action anywhere in the world.

B) Bashar’s decision to keep Syria out of the 2006 Israel/Hezbollah war was brilliant. Perhaps you are forgetting this but the U.S. occupies nearby Iraq, you really think the U.S. was going to sit there and let Syria fire rockets or scuds at Israel? Not a chance, not after 9-11 has already brainwashed at least half of the U.S. population into hating Muslims and seeing Israel as the beacon of freedom. The fact that Bashar continued to supply Hezbollah with new rockets after the 2006 war ended was a show of his strength.

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May 11th, 2008, 11:22 pm

 

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