Posted by Joshua on Sunday, July 22nd, 2007
A few Neocons have not given up the fight. They propose bringing war to Syria. The following article by Jim Lobe, one of America's smartest reporters, posted to his site, Lobelog.com, is copied below. Perhaps President Assad was referring to these death-rattles of the neo-cons when he spoke of the "fateful" next several months? Although it is hard to believe anyone in Washington would still take this sort of chest-thumping seriously, they obviously do — enough to scuttle any efforts at regional dialogue or deal-making.
Syria will hang tight for the next year. Authorities in Damascus find it impossible to believe any understanding words coming from US or European foreign ministry officials. Special envoys sent to Assad to convey the message — "trust us" — are discounted. This will remain the case so long as powerful officials such as V.P. Cheney or Elliott Abrams in the NSC remain back seat drivers in Washington. Honeyed messages from foreign ministries are simply not believed in Damascus. So long as President Bush sympathizes with the hawks and only tolerates the doves, any good-cop envoy to Syria will be treated as a Trojan horse.
Here is Lobe's article:
Re-Targeting Syria, the “Ho Chi Minh Trail of Terrorists?”
by Jim Lobe, Inter Press Services, July 21, 2007PS),
Just when it appears that Israel and Syria may be slowly inching their way towards peace talks with the help of Turkey and Qatar (although Israel’s new president, Shimon Peres, called for direct talks Friday), two hawks at the otherwise realist Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) are calling for the Bush administration to carry out punitive attacks against Damascus.
“…Recent successful operations in Anbar province were undertaken, in part, to disrupt the trail of suicide bombers passing through Syria. It might also make sense to pursue targets into Syria on this theory: The Syrians say they are powerless to stop the flow of murderers killing innocent Iraqis, so we should try.
“Increasing pressure of all types on Syria would demonstrate that being part of an anti-American alliance with Iran brings unpleasant consequences. And when that pressure builds sufficiently, it becomes possible to offer Syria a way out that separates it from Iran.”
“…In combination with the strategy of commander David Petraeus, these measures hold out the promise of something unthinkable a few months ago: America, once again, on the strategic offensive.”
No sooner had he read Gerson’s suggestion than his CFR colleague, neo-conservative Max Boot, seconded it in a blog post in “Contentions,” the on-line publication of ‘Commentary’ magazine. Boot, who reminded his readers that he has called for an attack on Syria for years, writes that, “[A]t a minimum, we should give our special operators the freedom to strike across the Syria-Iran [sic] border, if they think that will help stop the ‘ratlines’ over which an estimated 50 to 80 jihadis a month are entering Iraq. (I’ve talked to some of our commandos [he went on] who have told me they would be eager to get just such authority, but they have been blocked not only by cautious politicos in Washington, but also by cautious generals at Central Command.)
“If that doesn’t work, there are various stronger steps that could be taken. One possible idea: Hold Damascus International Airport…
Read the entire article at Jim Lobe's site.