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May, 2003

Analysis: A Line In The Sand For Syria
By Karen Nakamura
   A strident power play during the weekend of April 12 appears to have had the effect of reining back the United States' almost certain incursion into Syria, at least, temporarily.
   Practically ignored as irrelevant by the American media that weekend hosted two important meetings. The first involved Russia's President Putin, Germany's Chancellor Schroeder and France's Chirac in St. Petersburg on April 11. The other was a meeting of eight Arab foreign ministers, including those from Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kuwait, on April 18th. Both of these gatherings firmed up world opposition to the US's only too obvious intent of invading Iraq's neighboring countries.
   With increasing defiance, the European and Arabic ministers declared they don't intend to allow the United States and Britain free rein in Iraq. The Arabs emphatically announced they will not accept any interference in the internal affairs of Iraq. They also rallied to Syria's defense. Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal stated, "We reject utterly any accusations and threats against Syria because this will lead to a vicious cycle of war and turmoil."
   Add to that the undercurrent of distrust growing in the minds of the American public and the war hounds were pulled back snapping and howling.
   For the road map of this extravagant hegemonic thrust by the United States, see the White Paper, "The National Security Agenda of the United States" written by Deputy Director of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and presented to the administration on September 12, 2001. Originally compiled during and scoffed at as being far too extreme in the Bush Senior administration, this paper is now called the Bush Doctrine in certain quarters. It lays out a planned takeover of the Middle East by the American military with the primary beneficiaries being the United States, Britain and Israel. Israel, for instance, will "inherit" Lebanon and possibly parts of Syria and Jordan. Egypt and Saudi Arabia will also be "democratized".
   Besides being constantly alluded to by talking heads, the paper has been read by all of Iraq's neighbors. These governments are not pleased with US plans to take over their turf by force if necessary. Apparently, these governments are suppose to crumble in fear at the might of the American military as it enacts colonial policies supposedly laid aside after World War II. They aren't. Rather, they're getting angrier and angrier.
   Caught in a web composed of nearly half of the world community speaking out in one weekend, the Bush Administration turned to kick the dog called Palestine. Using his usual tactic of coating poison in honey, Bush vowed that "a new roadmap" for peace between Israel and Palestine would be introduced as soon as Arafat's successor formed a cabinet that abides by Ariel Sharon's criterion of abject surrender. Then they have to accept the majority of settlements, the denial of their human rights and the loss of more than half of their lands.
   The Cabinet is going to encounter logistical nightmares, of course, trying to come together because most members live under conditions similar to a concentration camp. If they aren't starving and can walk around town, they can't leave that town to attend meetings what with check points, torn up roads, six foot deep road ravines and snipers from the Israeli Defense Force. 
   Middle East watchers were not that surprised when the Israeli government stepped up actions in occupied Palestine during the US invasion of Iraq. That was expected. Under the cover of a virtual media blackout, and as the mainstream media concentrated on gold potties in Saddam's palaces, the assassination of Palestinian leaders continued unabated as did the murder of civilians, almost half of them children, plus frequent and devastating military incursions into Palestinian towns.
 One direction this escalation has taken is surprising. Since the horrible, crushing death of Rachel Corrie by an Israeli tank on March 16th in Rafah, two more peace activists have been killed in addition to the several Palestinian cameramen killed or wounded. That means the gloves are off as far as outsiders, including the media and the United Nations, are concerned.
   What's even more frightening is that no one is willing to take on Sharon and his cohorts. Talk about a government that is a threat to its neighbors. No other nation in the Middle East is as vicious and cruel to others as the present right-wing government in Israel. Isn't it possible that the Israel public would love to see Sharon and his henchmen taken out but don't know how? With voting rights abuses so prevalent among the world's ultra-conservatives, who knows how honest Israeli voting polls actually are?  

 

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