Syria Profits from Regional Diplomatic Upheaval after Gaza Conflict

[VOA News] Edward Yeranian - Syria appears to be profiting from the recent Gaza conflict and is emerging from several years of diplomatic isolation to become a key player, again, in the Middle East's diplomatic arena. Syria's political and logistical support for Hamas, along with Lebanon's Hizbullah, has won kudos with the Arab public. At an emergency Arab summit in Qatar last month President Assad decried Israel's military operation in Gaza and called for revenge. He said, "Arabs are a people with a long memory and will be sure to remind our children of the 'massacre' in Gaza." Assad said Arabs will teach the Israelis about an "eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth," and that what was taken by force can only be returned by force. Professor Fouad Ajami of Johns Hopkins' School for Advanced International Studies notes: "The Syrians, in a way, they are the perfect fence-sitters. They swing both ways. They can swing with Egypt and Saudi Arabia and be a status-quo player or they can swing the other way, and I think increasingly they have joined the opposition. I mean, they have joined the renegades, but they are very careful, because they are shrewd enough that they know that a ride with the renegade is very dangerous, so I think they are both brutal and smart."

2009-02-06 06:00:00

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