State Department: Syria a State Sponsor of International Terrorism for Thirty Years

(Washington Times) James H. Anderson - The U.S. has designated Syria a sponsor of state terrorism for 30 straight years, as documented by the State Department's annual Country Reports on Terrorism, released April 30. No other state shares this distinction. Syria has never shown a willingness to relinquish terrorism as a core element of its statecraft, whether it is used to suppress political dissidents at home or further its regional ambitions. In addition to supplying Hizbullah with sophisticated weapons in Lebanon, Syria continues to permit Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups to maintain offices in Damascus. The regime has a lengthy track record of allowing jihadists to transit Syrian territory en route to unleashing suicide attacks against American soldiers in Iraq. In recent years, Syria also increasingly has aligned itself with Iran, itself another longtime sponsor of state terrorism. The State Department's annual report serves as a useful reminder about the nature of the Syrian regime. Terrorism lies at the very core of the Assad regime. It is this harsh reality that makes well-intentioned efforts to engage Syria problematic in the absence of any compelling strategy to induce constructive behavioral changes. The writer, a professor at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, was director of Middle East policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense during the George W. Bush administration.

2010-05-06 08:10:56

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