Washington Reaffirms Sanctions on Syria as Gift to Israel

Airbus’ refusal to sell planes to Syria is a clear sign of how bad relations remain between Washington and Damascus, despite a year of Obama engagement.

The French promised the Syrians that they would try to get the sale OK’ed by Washington. Some 10% of Airbus parts are bought from the US, making the sale of Airbus planes to third parties subject to US sanction laws. The decision by European governments to purchase Airbus parts from the US may have seemed like good business and political practice in the past. It has EU politicians gnashing their teeth today. Sarkozy must be considering changing Airbus’ purchasing percentages. Little wonder that today’s headline about Sarkozy is: Sarkozy cool on relationship with Obama.

Syria’s support for Hizbullah has Washington diplomats flummoxed. Assad insisted that its Shiite ally be accepted as a part of the Lebanese government, despite Washington’s insistence that Hizbullah terrorizes Israel and the US. Washington foreign policy mavens want Israel safe at any price. No Arab resistance to Israel is acceptable even as the US refuses to punish the Jewish State for continuing to push Palestinians off what land remains to them. Even more important to Damascus is Washington’s refusal to challenge Prime Minister Netanyahu’s assertion that Israel will not return the Golan Heights to Syria even for peace and security guarantees, which President Assad has made clear he is willing to provide. The only conclusion he can make is that resistance alone will win back the Golan. Israel is counting on unwavering US support and its military superiority to convince the Syrians to abandon their claims.

One can only repeat that such a policy makes the US enemies it doesn’t need. It also convinces people around the world that Washington is not smart or a good leader.

US rejects Airbus jet sale to Syria’s national airline
Dec. 28, 2009, Associated Press in THE JERUSALEM POST

The US has turned down a request by Airbus SAS to sell aircraft to Syria to modernize the country’s aging national airline, Syria’s transportation minister said Monday.

The Tishrin newspaper on Monday quoted Yarob Badr as saying that an Airbus delegation recently informed Syrian officials that the US Commerce Department rejected a request to lift an embargo on selling planes to Damascus.

The US imposed economic and diplomatic sanctions on Syria in May 2004 because of what Washington says is its support for terrorism, pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and other activities including undermining US operations in Iraq. Syria denies the allegations.

The sanctions have grounded much of Syrian Air’s fleet, leaving less than ten planes in operation.

Syria eyes Russian aircraft after US turns down request to buy Airbus jets

DAMASCUS, Syria – Syria will buy two Russian-made Tupolev passenger jets to modernize its national carrier’s aging fleet after the United States rejected a bid by Airbus SAS to sell planes to Damascus, Syria’s transportation minister said.

Yarob Badr was quoted in Tishrin daily’s Monday edition as saying a deal with the Russian plane manufacturer was imminent, and that Syrian Air would first lease the two jets for a year and later purchase them.

Badr said the decision came as the U.S. Commerce Department turned down a request by Toulouse, France-based Airbus to lift the U.S. embargo affecting the sale of planes to Syria. Badr said an Airbus delegation recently informed Syria of the decision by Washington.

Airbus spokesman Stefan Schaffrath declined to comment on the specifics of the request, but said “In any case Airbus acts in accordance with the law.”

The U.S. imposed economic and diplomatic sanctions on Syria in May 2004 because of what Washington says is its support for terrorism, pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and other activities including undermining U.S. operations in Iraq. Syria denies the allegations….

Laura Rozen: Damascus envoy speculation: cold and colder
December 21, 2009, POLITICO

Damascus envoy speculation: cold and colder. Just fyi, since there’s lots of speculation around. Have been very reliably told by two senior administration officials that Adam Ereli, U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain, is not going to be nominated to be the Damascus envoy. If you want to see him, you will have to go to Bahrain.

And separately was told by a third source that the speculation about a Syria envoy is all a bit premature, and that nothing has been forwarded to the White House yet. UPDATE: Another senior official says a name has not been forwarded to the White House yet.

Finance Minister Hussein talks about the 2010 budget: (Syria Steps in Arabic)

260 public sector companies exist. They contribute $3.6 billion  to the treasury. Hussein says that they are not therefore all losers, he then admits that the treasury wrote off $11 billion in loans to them ($7 billion to sadkob and $2 billion to the electricity distribution business). It seems that they also decided to scrap the idea of regular issuance of treasury bonds and securities (an idea that has been floated around for a while).  Instead they will issue paper to fund specific projects when needed.

Comments (13)

Akbar Palace said:

Washington Reaffirms Sanctions on Syria as Gift to Israel

Professor Josh,

Perhaps if the Syrians showed some flexibility, the US will send a “gift” to Syria as well. Why is it so difficult admitting that the actors (including Syria) are quite happy where they are?

Otherwise, instead of your weekly/monthly “good news” describing the big shift in US policy in favor or Syria and the subsequent weekly/monthly “let-downs”, why not just wait until there really is a shift? It’s already a bit too psychotic reading all these articles.

December 29th, 2009, 3:07 pm


Ghat Albird said:

WASHINGTON reaffirms its sanctions on SYRIA because as Professor Petras stated in his latest commentary:

Bended Knees: Zionist Power in American Politics
by James Petras*

This is probably the most well-rounded and complete article by James Petras on the configuration of Zionist power – at all levels of the US political system and society – that far outweighs its numerical strength.

More than a lobby, the ZPC has acted over the past fifty years as an agent in the interest of a foreign military power. Its influence is already deeply entrenched in many other regions of the world.

Despite a few dissenting voices, Obama continues to take his marching orders from Tel Aviv on all major issues promoted by the ZPC.

* James Petras, Ph.D. is a Proffesor at the University of Binghamton in New York.

(Dr. Petras is on Google)

December 29th, 2009, 5:16 pm


EHSANI2 said:

Akbar Palace,

Please define the word “flexibility”.

I think that you ought to expand on what specifically you mean when you write that “Perhaps if the Syrians showed some flexibility”.

December 29th, 2009, 5:45 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

More videos from ‘Red Ashura’.

Notice the people’s body language, notice that the police starts
to fear the people, and see how angree people gradually but undauntedly
loose their fright, and fight back.




compare with body language, 4 months ago:

and analysis about Red Ashura here

December 29th, 2009, 6:26 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Please define the word “flexibility”.


I’ll try to the best of my ability, despite the fact that I’m a pro-Israel Zionists, and that most (but not all) of the posters here are pro-Assad apologists.

There is no doubt that thorny issues remain between Syria and Israel, however, it seems to me there are issue between Syria and the US government that are completely different and really do not affect Israel at all. It seems to me if Syria wants better relations with the US, the GOS (Government of Syria) should do its best to please AMERICAN policy makers.

For example, there are plenty of articles that discuss American foreign policy between the Obama administration and the GOS.
Apparently, the GOS doesn’t want to ehlp the US on the issue of foreign fighters in Iraq.

Meanwhile, an interview Aug. 25 in the Lebanese daily An-Nahar with a senior U.S. official made apparent Washington’s frustration with Syria, most notably its smuggling to Hezbollah of increasingly advanced weaponry across the Lebanese-Syrian border, which Damascus still refuses to demarcate despite promising to do so.

The formation of a government, the delineation of the Syrian-Lebanese border, and shutting down the Syrian-dominated PFLP-GC bases are three urgent issues that require U.S.-Syrian cooperation. All three are more useful barometers for gauging Syrian intentions than the Assad regime’s murky relationship with al Qaeda and former Iraqi Baathists, as the former can be more easily benchmarked and verified. And most importantly for Washington and Damascus, progress on all three is more likely to lead to tangible improvements in U.S.-Syrian relations in the year to come.


Here’s another article by someone who doesn’t seem like a “likudnik”:


Near as I can tell, Assad doesn’t seem very motivated or “flexible”. Considering the bad state of affairs his country is in you’d think he’d embrace the USA with a bear hug. But, for some strange reason, he never has.

December 29th, 2009, 8:54 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:


Hallelujah to what you said here, and on your comment about the brave

It looks to me, after I watched Obama speaking in several occasions,
that he knows certain facts that he does not share with the wider
Listen to his speech when he received the Nobel prize. It was
a “warish” speech rather than peaceful. This and more; in his speeches
lately, he’s tougher and aggressive towards America’s enemies,
and his language is less compromising and with greater threatening
tone. I presume that it is because he knows (from his intelligence
daily briefings) some informations, that he won’t share with us.

December 29th, 2009, 10:23 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Amir in Tel Aviv,

All I can say is what my favorite T-Shirt says:

“Welcome Back Carter”

And worse…

And believe it or not, the ME despots like Nejad and Assad can’t see the difference, and think Obama is another “likudnik”.

December 30th, 2009, 12:22 am


Off the Wall said:

Thou shall cuteth and pasteth not blindly, for thee can harm thyself.

Since August 25’th,
The formation of a government: Check

The delineation of the Syrian-Lebanese border: Check, Ongoing with urgency especially after little Hariri’s visit

Rewards to Syria: 0, and affirmation of sanctions

and shutting down the Syrian-dominated PFLP-GC bases: This is trickier. How can Syria do that while it has no soldiers in Lebanon. Also, PFLP-GC is a member of the PLO and of various bodies of the PNA, take the matter with Abbas, not with Assad. Finally, beware what you wish for, it seems that the eradication of all secular movements should be the last thing the US (oops) Israel should want, but I guess, Yossi and I were right thinking of the accord of entangled beards working in tandem on both sides, heck, it is both sides of the conflict.

December 30th, 2009, 3:02 am


Akbar Palace said:

Finally, beware what you wish for, it seems that the eradication of all secular movements should be the last thing the US (oops) Israel should want…

Off the Wall,

All I’m saying is that if you want better relations with a important country such as the United States (oops) Israel, you have to give up something (aka “flexibility”), after reading a number of articles, it doesn’t seem the US and the Obama Administration are impressed with the “flexibility” of the Assad government. This is my perception.

And that’s fine. Like I said, I think the actors are quite content where they are today. Some countries value their relationship with the US (I know Israel does), and some do not.

Also, the PFLP-GC is based and headquartered INSIDE Syria.


BTW, what did you mean when you wrote the following?:

Thou shall cuteth and pasteth not blindly, for thee can harm thyself.

December 30th, 2009, 1:42 pm


ilona@israel said:

there is no any zionist influence in policy of usa. what is more-usa press israel and latter is pretty helpless…

January 3rd, 2010, 12:01 pm


Nur al-Cubicle said:

By what right can the US veto an Airbus deal?

January 6th, 2010, 9:59 pm


Louay Rukieh said:

Thank you Mr. Landers for this insightful article. I think you hit the nail on the head in this analysis. The US foreign policy is really under the control of AIPAC and the likes of AIPAC. Their # 1 mission, stifle any debates about the legitimacy of the foundation of Israel, the plight of the Palestinians, and the occupied territories.
And for those who say no influence of Israel on the US foreign policy, I say look at the track record of the US congress voting on bills related to Israel, and you will see that Israel is the only subject both sides of aisle come together on.

January 9th, 2010, 9:23 am


Ghat Albird said:

Israeli corporation is attempting to sell TSA a mind reading scanner to prevent terrorists from getting on American planes. Its been called an Orwellian device according to a report by AP.

“As far-fetched as that sounds, systems that aim to get inside an evildoer’s head are among the proposals floated by security experts thinking beyond the X-ray machines and metal detectors used on millions of passengers and bags each year,” AP’s Michael Tarm reports.

Tarm focuses on an Israeli company called WeCU Technologies (as in “we see you”), which is building a system that would turn airport waiting areas into arenas for Pavlovian behavioral tests:

The system … projects images onto airport screens, such as symbols associated with a certain terrorist group or some other image only a would-be terrorist would recognize, company CEO Ehud Givon said.

The logic is that people can’t help reacting, even if only subtly, to familiar images that suddenly appear in unfamiliar places. If you strolled through an airport and saw a picture of your mother, Givon explained, you couldn’t help but respond.
WeCU has already developed a prototype model of the mind-reading technology, which, according to an article in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, has already been demonstrated to government security officials in the US, Germany and Israel. It was evidently from that demonstration that US agencies decided to fund the project.

“It sounds like science fiction,” WeCU CEO Ehud Givon told the Jerusalem Post. “But I can assure you that the technology is very real. We have accuracy rates that are higher than 95 percent.”

Supporters of mind-reading technology argue that it would reduce waiting lines at security checkpoints and reduce the hassle for travelers. But the risks to personal privacy inherent in mind-reading technologies are self-evident. AP reports:

Some critics have expressed horror at the approach, calling it Orwellian and akin to “brain fingerprinting.”

Being an ally is a two street as anony mous is quoted as saying.


January 9th, 2010, 6:35 pm


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