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

June 02, 2003


Syria has tricked Powell and continues on its reckless course of supporting terrorism. Anerican policy needs a change
[...]The Ba'athist regime in Damascus is more comfortable in saying "no" to any peace plan, thus maintaining a pseudo-heroic posture, than risk being labeled a "traitor" by other Arabs. Nor can Syria under Ba'ath abandon its quest for weapons of mass destruction, because it has always based its world vision on a negative philosophy of force.

Like other radical regimes in the region and elsewhere, the Syrian setup under Ba'ath is an "all or nothing" system. Convinced that it cannot have it all, it prefers to have nothing, and to nurse its chagrin, rather than become involved in a process of give-and-take that some Arabs regard as treason.

To be sure, the Syrian Ba'ath, especially under the late President Hafez Assad, was pragmatic enough not to believe its own slogans. He ate humble pie each time he had to. But successive American administrations (not to speak of the Europeans) always gave him an opportunity to disguise his humiliation as diplomatic successes. (For example, he managed to get a "summit" with every U.S. president from Nixon to Clinton.)

The Syrian Ba'ath regime has also been successful in exploiting the most sinister aspects of Arab psychology. For more than 30 years, it has used the fiction of its "struggle against the Zionist enemy" as an excuse for its failures and crimes.

Many in the West might find it strange, but a part of the Arab intellectual elite prefers to live in a world of lies and illusions for as long as it can flatter itself for having "preserved the Arab honor," whatever that means. Hafez Assad became a hero for part of the Arab elite largely because he appeared to say "no" to any peace with Israel.[more]