The U.S. and Syria: A Tale of Two Embassies

(Weekly Standard) David Schenker - During a handful of peaceful protests outside the Syrian embassy in Washington, no one threw tomatoes or attempted to scale the fence. The embassy and its staff are safe here, no matter how much most Americans might detest a government that has helped kill American troops in Iraq, while supporting attacks against U.S. allies in Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian territories. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's latest outrage against the U.S. was the assault on our embassy in Damascus on July 11. The president's father, Hafez, orchestrated a raid of the ambassador's residence in 1998 when he ruled the nation. Under Bashar, the U.S. embassy was stormed in 2000. During the incursion, a Syrian attempted to desecrate the American flag and was met atop the embassy roof by a U.S. Marine, who - after drawing his sidearm - informed the protestor that should the flag hit the ground, the protestor would soon follow. If the White House has chosen to stand with the Syrian people's demands for freedom, the pressure on the Assad regime will increase. And if the past is any indication, the regime will respond - in Washington or in Damascus - by threatening, intimidating, and, quite likely, attacking its adversaries. The writer is director of the Program on Arab Politics at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

2011-07-22 00:00:00

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