The Syria Lobby

(Wall Street Journal) Editorial - The argument made by the Syria Lobby runs as follows: The Assad family is occasionally ruthless, especially when its survival is at stake, but it's also secular and pragmatic. Though the regime is Iran's closest ally, hosts terrorists in Damascus, champions Hizbullah in Lebanon, and has funneled al-Qaeda terrorists into Iraq, it will forgo those connections for the right price. Above all, it yearns for better treatment from Washington and the return of the Golan Heights, the strategic plateau held by Israel since 1967. The Syria Lobby also claims that whoever succeeds Assad would probably be worse. But the deeper problem is a flawed analysis of the Syrian regime's beliefs, intentions and capacity for change. Run by an Alawite minority, the regime was never going to break with its Shiite benefactors in Tehran and join the Arab Sunni orbit. A regime that builds its domestic legitimacy on hostility to Israel is also unlikely ever to make peace, even if it recovered the Golan. So it shouldn't surprise that Damascus has only stepped up its anti-American rhetoric since President Obama came to office offering engagement, or that its ties to Tehran have only grown closer, or that it continues to meddle in Lebanon, which it sees as a part of "Greater Syria."

2011-04-28 00:00:00

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