On Bashing Bashar

(New York Times) William Safire - Bashar al-Assad, the minority Alawite ruler, is shown by many telephone intercepts to be deeply influenced by Hizballah's Sheik Hassan Nasrallah in Syrian-occupied Lebanon. Bashar lied in Colin Powell's face last year about cutting off Saddam's illegal oil exports through Syria, and got away with it. Bashar finds it in Syria's strategic interest to aid and abet guerrilla war against the coalition and the nascent Iraqi government. With Saddam gone, Bashar sees Syria as the leader of Arab rejectionism. How to change regime behavior short of regime change? Turkey showed us one way, when it massed troops on its Syrian border and demanded that Damascus close down the Kurdish PKK terrorist headquarters in Damascus. Bashar yielded promptly, and the terrorist leader is in a Turkish jail.

2003-10-15 00:00:00

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