Dancing with Damascus

[Wall Street Journal] Editorial - President Obama has made Syria a prime target for diplomacy as part of his new Axis of Engagement. The U.S. has repeatedly sought to engage Syria as a partner. After the fall of Baghdad in 2003, George W. Bush dispatched Colin Powell to Damascus to try to win Assad's cooperation. Instead, Syria made itself a safe haven for the terrorists who killed U.S. soldiers. The strategic separation of Syria and Iran makes sense in concept, but in practice their ties won't easily be severed. Maintaining close ties to Shiite Hizbullah and Shiite Iran are key elements to Assad's strategy of political survival. Assad has given no signs of wanting to engage Israel on equal terms and still shelters the leader of Hamas in Damascus. Self-styled "realists" say there's no harm in trying, but there could be if this latest American courtship turns into pressure on Israel for concessions.

2009-08-04 06:00:00

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