Thursday, March 05, 2009

Dancing With Syria And Iran

The Obama Administration has a new diplomatic initiative going on, this time involving Syria.

Senator John Kerry, head of the Senate foreign relation committee recently got back from a meeting with Syria's dictator Bashar Assad claiming that Assad told him that the Syrians are more than wiling to resume peace negotiations with Israel and embrace the Saudi peace ultimatum provided they get the strategic Golan Heights, and presumably a chunk of US cash:

"Syria would like direct American participation in these peace talks," said Sen. John Kerry, a Democrat and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Reversing the Bush administration's dismissive stance on Syria, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced Tuesday during a visit to Israel she would send two senior officials to Damascus this week.

Endorsing President Barack Obama's decision to dispatch the US envoys to Damascus, Kerry said Assad was looking past Iran to improved relations with Arab countries and with the West.

Kerry said he believed Assad understands its "long-term interests lie not with Iran, but with its Sunni neighbors and the West." {..}

Kerry said Wednesday that the US should act on Assad's interest in direct US participation in peace talks with Israel. "We should play that role if our presence can move the process forward," he said.

Kerry also proposed the United States provide "financial incentives" to encourage Syria to make peace with Israel. {..}

"We should have no illusion that Syria will immediately end its ties to Iran," Kerry said, "but that shouldn't threaten us as long as their relationship ceases to destabilize the region."

The fact that there's absolutely no rational reason to assume any of this based on Assad and Syria's past track record, or that Kerry is talking about a brutal dictator who backs Hamas and Hezbollah, operated a transit station for al-Qaeda fighters en route to Iraq to shoot at our troops and assassinates political opponents at will somehow doesn't register.

Mention the word "peace" to someone of Kerry's political persuasion and they will ignore everything else.

The conventional wisdom is that the alliance between Syria and Iran is one that can supposedly easily broken, since Syria is Arab, Ba'ath secular, and mainly Sunni, while Iran is a Persian, Shiite and Islamist. But that's a fallacy - they have more in common then they have differences.

Syria is indeed primarily secular..but the Sunni majority is ruled by the Alawite sect, a Shi'ite offshoot to whom Assad and his closest followers all belong.As the minority rulers over a Sunni majority, they share pretty much the same feelings towards Sunnis as Iran does. In the Syrian city of Homs, the elder Assad massacred thousands of Sunnis when he felt that they were challenging his rule.

There's also a common bond not only in Syria and Iran's genocidal feelings towards Israel but their hatred for the United States. Iran and Syria first became close after the Ayatollah Khomeni overthrew the Shah and they later teamed up against the US and Israel in Lebanon, becoming co-sponsors of Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah and later Hamas,proof if nothing else that the Sunni-Shia divide is something that can be easily healed when jihad against the infidels is needed.

Iran and Syria have signed mutual defense pacts, and Iran provides the largest share of what foreign investment there is in Syria,supplies most of Syria's oil needs and has helped Syria buy advanced weaponry from Moscow and supply arms to Hezbollah and Hamas. Iran is supposed to have had a hand in building the nuclear reactor the Syrians obtained from North Korea that Israel destroyed last year. The relationship between Iran and Syria is not a matter of convenience but is symbiotic.

Thanks to Syria and Iran, Lebanon's democracy has been destroyed, a whole slew of political opponents brutally assassinated or driven out of the country and at this point the country has become a virtual Syrian/Iranian colony.

But according to the new wisdom in Washington, none of Iran and Syria's activities mentioned above have seriously destabilized the Middle East.

What does destabilize the region, according to Kerry and Secretary of State is not Syria or Iran's nuclear program or their support for Islamist terrorism but Israel's building homes in Judea and Samaria.

Kerry said, "On the Israeli side, nothing will do more to make clear our seriousness about turning the page than demonstrating - with actions rather than words - that we are serious about Israel freezing settlement activity in the West Bank."

He also says that the US should force Israel to open its borders with Gaza, even as Hamas is still firing rockets into Israel.

Clinton, during her first trip to the Middle East as Secretary of State parroted the exact same line as Kerry, attacking Israel for not opening the Gaza border crossings and saying many times that that her greatest goal is to establish a Palestinian state. She demanded that that Israel permit cement, aluminum tubes and other missile components to enter Gaza for 'reconstruction' and alleviating the "humanitarian suffering" of the poor Gazans...even as Hamas rockets destroyed a school in Ashkelon. She even criticized the City of Jerusalem for demolishing some illegally built non-permitted Arab homes within the city's boundaries, even though the City has demolished Jewish homes for the same offenses.

During the same week, there was an anti-Israel conference in Iran where Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei referred to Israel as a "cancerous tumor," that must be removed and the US as a treacherous enemy, and Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani issued a threat to attack Israel's suspected nuclear sites.

Neither Kerry, Clinton or any other member of the Obama Administration had anything to say about that..because they don't deem it as being of any significance, and they're unwilling to confront Iran and Syria no matter what because they hope to do business with them.

Israel's a different story, and it's obvious that the Obama Administration considers Israel the real threat to Middle East peace and the focus of continuing pressure and demands.

What's interesting is that for all the blather about peace and 'regional stability' there is absolutely nothing that pressuring Israel will accomplish towards those ends. If Israel were to retreat to the pre '67 borders tomorrow and a Palestinian state established on that land, Iran isn't going to stop its nuclear program, Hezbollah and Hamas are not suddenly going to morph into peaceful organizations and end terrorist attacks on Israel, Lebanon isn't going to become a Syria and Iran free democracy and the threat to the west isn't going to cease in the slightest. Any concessions Israel makes will not affect regional stability in the slightest, or reduce the jihadist threat to the West.

Nevertheless, that's exactly where the Obama Administration is focusing it's efforts - on Israel. While the new president and the members of his administration might never go so far as to say they want Israel destroyed, they've bought the narrative that Israel is the equivalent of apartheid South Africa, a 'colonial' state that needs to be marginalized and isolated to improve America's relationship with the Islamic world and the UN.

In fact, isolating Israel will do nothing of the kind.

If things go as planned and these policies backfire ala' Oslo, a great loss in blood and treasure will be the end result. When that happens, rest assured the Obama Administration will voice its surprise and dismay that the peace process could get so out of hand and that Iran and Syria are not the countries they thought they knew.

Although I'm also sure that there will be a number of members of the Obama administration who will find a way to blame Israel for it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Israel retreating to the pre 1967 borders or pre 1948 borders not only will not help America's position it will make it worse. Israel serves as a vital buffer between America and Islamic terrorists. If this buffer is weakened, this makes it much harder and much more costly to defend America. As such, the smart course of action would be to support policies that will strengthen Israel and not weaken Israel.

For its part, Israel should say no to pressure from America or anyone else. At this point in time, resisting American pressure will be quite easy. America's military is worn down and nearing the breaking point from its continued operations in the "War on Terror." As such, America is no match for the superior Israeli military forces. In addition, America's economy is deeply struggling right now and it has a massive national debt problem.

Why would Syria want American cash? First of all this sounds like black mail to me. "You do what we want you to do or we destroy you." Syria's military is supplied with Russian technology. As such, in any military confrontation, Syria would easily defeat the United States. In addition, unless the economic policies of the Obama Administration are radically changed, America will face hyper inflation in less than a year. As such, American dollars will only be worth a fraction of what they are now. There is no practical reason why any foreigner would want American money unless the plan is to further bleed America dry.

Iran refers to America as a treacherous enemy. It really does not matter what America does. Iran will always hate us. Their entire self image is devoted to humiliating America. Iran is also backed up by Russian military technology. With America's military nearing the breaking point combined with Russia's support for Iran the Iranians know that in any military conflict with America the Iranians would easily defeat the American military forces.

The only real option here is for Israel to take care of the Iranian and Syrian threats. There is absolutely nothing concrete the Americans or the EU can do to stop the Israelis from carrying out their mission. The sooner Israel takes care of Iran and Syria the better.

Finally, any military action against Iran will probably have to involve the use of Israli nuclear weapons on a massive scale. Its ugly but it has to be done. The survival of the free world depends on stopping the Iranian nuclear program. America and the EU do not have the military capability to pull this off right now. Israel does. They should do so as soon as it is feasible.

Finally, I don;t think diplomacy is going to solve this problem, however, for diplomacy to have a chance the process must be even handed. An even handed process would respect the rights of Israel as well as those of Arabs. Right now the process is not even handed. It is woefully one sided in favor of the Arabs. This is no way to achieve a just and lasting peace. Also, Israel is the most trustworthy country on earth. Arabs are not trustworthy. Experenital common sense would suggest that one would want to see countries and people they can trust strengthened and those who are treacherous weakened but alas common sense does not seem to be in operation when it comes to peace in the Middle East.