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April 01, 2003

Mofaz: U.S., Israel view Assad's acts, words as 'very grave'

Haaretz article spells out the growing and now open problems developing between the U.S. and Syria, and illuminating that which many have always known: Syria an enemy of peace in the Middle East.There will be no cash pyouts for families of these "martyrs," however, since Saddam seems unable to get to his ATM
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said Tuesday that the United States and Israel view as "very grave" the wartime aid that Syrian President Bashar Assad has given the Saddam Hussein regime, as well as recent Assad comments that Mofaz said suggested that no peace with Israel was possible.

"Bashar Assad has recently engaged in and expressed himself in two spheres that in the view of the Americans and in our view are very grave," Mofaz said on a visit to the army's central induction center near Tel Aviv.

The first is the "very fact of their granting physical aid to the Iraqis. The second is his remark about Israel, in which he says in essence that no peace agreement can be reached with Israel."

"We must follow both his remarks and his actions in a very, very thorough manner," Mofaz said.

In a front-page interview with Lebanon's as-Safir newspaper last week, Assad was asked if he believed Syria - which has led Arab opposition to the war and appears on a U.S. list of states sponsoring terrorism for supporting Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrilla group and Palestinian organizations fighting Israel - would be next on Washington's 'target list' after Iraq. "The possibility is always there," Assad replied.

"As long as Israel exists, the threat is there. As long as there is an aggression on an Arab country and a war on our borders, the danger is there...But worry does not translate to fear."

Despite American warnings, in the last few days Damascus has expedited the passage of volunteers wishing to join the Iraqis in their war against the Americans, Haaretz said Tuesday in an exclusive report, according to which thousands of volunteer, most of them Syrians, are thronging to the Mosul and Kirkuk regions in north Iraq. [more]