Syria Must Get Its Act Together Before It Is Too Late

(Telegraph-UK) Anton La Guardia - Increasingly, Damascus resembles Beirut more than Baghdad. Syrian troops may have physically occupied Lebanon, but the Lebanese spirit is capturing Syria. By his own ineptitude, President Bashar al-Assad has elevated Syria into President Bush's "axis of evil," isolated his country, and made himself the next candidate for regime change. Syria has earned America's wrath for sponsoring Iraqi insurgents, Palestinian suicide bombers, and Lebanon's Hizballah movement. Bashar does not realize that the game has changed: September 11 removed America's fear of casualties. Amer Salem, a Syrian who now works in America, called on Bashar to transform his regime before it is too late: support the PA rather than its opponents, offer the help of Syria's secret services to fight al-Qaeda, sweep away the old guard, and establish the rule of law to promote investment. And as a grand gesture to get America's attention, he should go to Baghdad, embrace Iraq's new elected rulers, and tell his Ba'athist friends to stop the insurgency. Bashar should heed this advice. It may endanger his power base, or even his life, but his regime is already in mortal danger. Look at Libya's Gaddafi. By giving up his nuclear program, he has quickly changed from Reagan's "mad dog" into a friend of the West - and nobody is asking him to become a democrat.

2005-03-15 00:00:00

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