April 20, 2003


Bush looks to tie Mideast peace efforts to Syria (JOHN YAUKEY, April 20, 2003, Gannett News Service)
An old Middle Eastern maxim says Arabs cannot make war without Egypt or peace without Syria.

Egypt is no longer the military colossus it once was, but Syria remains a pivotal player in Middle Eastern peace. Perhaps this explains why the Bush administration has taken a sudden interest in the nation that supports some of the most dangerous terrorist groups in the region.

President Bush is concerned about the recent accusations some of his top officials have hurled at Syria, namely that it might be harboring Iraqi war criminals and is almost certainly making chemical weapons.

But experts say Bush has more immediate and constructive plans for Damascus than setting it up for regime change with a list of charges.

He is actually trying to leverage some cooperation.

With the war in Iraq winding down, next on the Bush agenda is jump-starting the long stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks under a plan called the ''road map.'' Perhaps more than any other Arab nation, Syria is positioned either to help the talks advance by suppressing the anti-Israeli terrorists it holds sway with or allowing the peace process to again explode in violence.

The recent accusations by the Bush administration were a form of muscular diplomacy, essentially putting Syrian President Bashar Assad on notice while also providing an option for redemption.

With? Or Against? Posted by Orrin Judd at April 20, 2003 10:17 AM

I find most of this kind of bloviating useless,

except for comic relief. To wit: Egypt is no

longer the military colossus it once was.

And when would that have been, the 13th

century? He could as well have said, "Sicily is

no longer the economic colossus it once was,"

also in the 13th century.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at April 21, 2003 1:12 AM

Actually, Harry, thanks to the good ole U S of A (though to be fair, not only)--and Israeli advocacy (irony, anyone?)--Egypt's current military is the best trained and, chock full of American technology, the best-equipped it has ever been.

Hmmm. Might one wish to wonder why....

Of course, Mubarak is insatiable. And-- surprise!--wants more, and more variety. And if the US doesn't provide it, there are plenty of other countries that would be more than willing. (I wonder if the US feels it's over a barrel on this one.)

Let's call it a "peace dividend." Well, at least for the time being....

Posted by: Barry Meislin at April 21, 2003 3:54 AM