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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

April 20, 2003

The London-Damascus Connection

Barry Shaw writing in The View from Here.
What is it between Britain and Syria?
What is it that makes Britain soft on this terror-supporting regime?
Why is Britain shmoozing Syria while warning Israel that they expect wide concessions from us?
What was the sudden surge of interest in this evil country that brought Tony Blair to Damascus in October, 2001 ?
This state visit followed Peter Mandelson's visit the same year.
A Parliamentary delegation, led by Labour M.P., John Austin, visited Syria in December last year.
This was followed by a state visit to Britain by Bashir Assad this year. During that visit Assad made the most inflamatory and libellous remarks about Israel prior to taking tea with Queen Elizabeth. Yet, this not raise the ire of his hosts, Tony Blair and Jack Straw. Why?
Syria is not treated as an enemy, as it is by America. It is not condemned by Britain for its active and murderous sponsorship of terror.

What is the special relationship between Britain and Syria?

It is not strategic. It is economic and personal. The linchpin is London-based multi-millionaire, Wafik Said, a Syrian who holds Saudi citizenship. Said arranged a massive defence contract between Britain and Saudi Arabia known as the Al-Yamamah project. Said has earned millions of dollars from arms deals between Britain and Saudi Arabia. Said is also a close friend of Bashir Assad. He is one of the biggest investors in Syria. He, together with Rafik Harari, the Lebanese Prime Minister, and a firm called Barakah (thought to be linked to Al-Qaida) set up a consortium two years ago for investing in Syria. Syria, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Britain owe something to Wafik Said who is using his connections not only for economic reasons but for diplomatic purposes as well.

These connections assure Bashir Assad of British support, even in the face of heavy American pressure. Only last week Assad received a reassuring phone call from Tony Blair. This was quickly followed by Britain's Foreign Minister dismissing U.S. accusations against Syria.

Meanwhile Syria is an occupying power in Lebanon. Syria is the haven of all Middle Eastern terror groups. Syria has the most modern, and biggest, stockpile of Scud missiles. Syria is developing chemical and biological weapons. Syria is sheltering top Iraqi officials, as well as Saddam Hussein's immediate family - despite their, and British, denials. And Syria did supply weapons, equipment, and terrorists to fight and kill coalition forces. These coalition forces included British soldiers, something the British Government do not seem to find hypocritical.

Syria, by it's recent actions, seem determined to lead a new axis of evil. Britain, however, does not share America's determination to eradicate regimes of terror. In fact, as with the Palestinian Authority, they do not demand accountability from Syria for their murderous actions. Instead, they are determined to extract wide-ranging concessions from Israel.

So much for an 'even-handed' policy in the Middle East.
Great work, Barry.