April 14, 2003


US warns Syria not to provide haven for wanted Iraqis (Ben Russell, 14 April 2003, Independent uk)
Colin Powell, the Secretary of State, increased the diplomatic pressure on Damascus while Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defence, extended his rhetoric against the Syrians, insisting that "there's no question" that some senior Iraqi leaders had fled to Syria. "We certainly are hopeful Syria will not become a haven for war criminals or terrorists," Mr Rumsfeld said.

President George Bush added to the pressure, saying: "Syria just needs to co-operate with the United States and our coalition partners, not harbour any Baathists, any military officials, any people who need to be held to account." Speaking to reporters later, he appeared to threaten Syria with possible military action, by pointedly saying that Damascus held chemical weapons, and that the Iraq war showed that "we're serious about stopping weapons of mass destruction". [...]

Hawks in the Bush team have raised the prospect of action against Syria. Mr Rumsfeld warned that Syria would be "held to account" if it provided military equipment to Iraq.

General Powell, considered a moderate within the administration, joined the chorus of disapproval despite concern over deteriorating relations between Syria and the West. He said: "We think it would be very unwise ... if suddenly Syria becomes a haven for all these people who should be brought to justice who are trying to get out of Baghdad ... nor do I know why Syria would become a place of haven for people who should be subject to the justice of the Iraqi people." [...]

Lawrence Eagleburger, who was US Secretary of State under George Bush Snr, told the BBC: "If George Bush [Jnr] decided he was going to turn the troops loose on Syria and Iran after that he would last in office for about 15 minutes. In fact if President Bush were to try that now even I would think that he ought to be impeached. You can't get away with that sort of thing in this democracy."

Mr. Eagleburger was a fine public servant, but he's kidding himself and BBC listeners. With even the supposed dove, Colin Powell, rattling his saber, it would not be difficult to persuade an American people, whose blood is up, that one Ba'athist dictatorship is much like another.
Posted by Orrin Judd at April 14, 2003 9:56 PM

Eagleburger's used the impeachment line on Fox tonight. Very strange. Eaglerburger's been hit and miss his whole career. Looks like he's back over to the miss side. Personally, I think it more likely a second Palestinian state will be established (Jordan being the first one), and then if Syria continues its proxy war against Israel via Lebanon, there will be every reason to go in and fix things.

Posted by: Kevin Whited at April 14, 2003 10:21 PM

Kevin, going to war explicitly in defense of Israel? That justification could do more harm no justification, from a tactical standpoint.

Posted by: R. Alex at April 14, 2003 11:09 PM

Eagleburger was Kissinger's protege in the faux detente with Cuba, which

ended in the Angola campaign, but

had no small part in the turbulence

of Florida politics in the 70s. As head

of Kissinger Associates he had plenty

of contacts with the pro-Iraq lobby;

and as chair of the LBS bank, he like

former Milosevic's Yugo partner & fellow Brent Scowcroft, was raising

the kind of rhetorical smoke screen

that delayed our current campaign.

For a whole host of reasons, as you

can see; I don't hold him in high


Posted by: narciso at April 14, 2003 11:24 PM

Between the recent comments of both Eagleburger and Brent Scowcroft, you can get an idea of why Bush's father opted to oblige the UN and the coalition on not going further into Iraq in 1991. Whether or not that's also one of the reasons he was only a one-term president is open to question, but it certainly made things tougher and more dangerous for the U.S. and Bush 43 a decade down the line.

Posted by: John at April 15, 2003 1:01 AM

Gotta wonder what an "intelligence source in Washington" would ever tell The Al-Guardian, unless of course it was dis-info.

Posted by: Andrew X at April 15, 2003 7:57 AM


Taxes, taxes, taxes--you can't raise them and retain the enthusiasm of the base.

Posted by: oj at April 15, 2003 8:12 AM

He's gotta save something for his second term.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at April 15, 2003 12:20 PM

Here's a couple of possible reasons why we're not going to do much more than rattle Baby Doc Assad's cage: We're low on JDAMs and Tomahawks, and we need time for overhauling and refitting of aircraft, ships and armored vehicles.

Some of the same reasons we had to go slow getting into Iraq after Afghanistan.

Posted by: H.D. Miller at April 15, 2003 1:00 PM


Taxes were the defining moment of Bush 41's presidency (and his downfall) more than anything in the foreign policy field. But even back then people were questioning Dick Darman's judgment; the recent statements by Eaglebuger and Scowcroft make you wonder if Bush had any advisers who were on the ball before the '92 election.

Posted by: John at April 15, 2003 2:42 PM

I think we ought to march through western

Asia like Sherman went through Georgia, but

will note that the geography means you could

get a 2-, 3- or 4-front war.

You want to be careful about that.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at April 16, 2003 12:09 AM