Friday, April 01, 2005

Syria and the New Axis of Evil

Despite all his rhetoric to the contrary, Assad, Jr. is up to his eyeballs in mischief in both Lebanon and Iraq. Despite all his promises to withdraw Syrian troops from Lebanon, Assad Jr., will likely be leaving behind his security and intel operatives along with continuing to support Hezbollah, Hamas and Islanic Jihad. Then there is that pact with Iran, which has been a very active supporter of the terrorist groups hunkered down in the Bekkah Valley. Iran provides aid to those groups through Syria with Syria's support. Where it gets interesting is the long times Syrian support for Iran, including backing Iran against Iraq during the 1980's. Remember that Syrians are Arabs and the Iranians Persians. Historically not the best of friends. Charles Krauthammer looks into this alliance in his article.

"Say what you will about Bashar Assad, dictator of Syria and perhaps the dimmest eye doctor ever produced by British medical schools, but subtle he is not. Since the huge street demonstrations against his occupation of Lebanon, three terrorist bombings have occurred there, all in heavily Christian, anti-Syrian neighborhoods. Only slightly less subtle was the nearly half-million-man Beirut rally demanding Syria's continued occupation, staged by Syria's Lebanese client, Hezbollah, followed by the "spontaneous" demonstration Assad orchestrated for himself in Damascus.

Then there is this week's public admission by a captured Hamas terrorist in Israel that he was trained in Syria. This is the first direct account of such active involvement by Syria, although everyone knows that the Palestinian terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad are headquartered in, and assisted by, Syria. Everyone also knows that Syria is abetting the terrorist insurgency in Iraq. "
What co-incedence that these bombing occurred in oppostion areas of Lebanon. I suppose no one ever accused Assad Jr. of being the brightest light in the sign. I would suspect that any serious investigation into the Hariri assaination will end up pointing to Damascus.
"Iran is the senior partner of this axis of evil. Syria is the crucial middle party allowing a non-Arab state to reach into the heart of the Middle East. For example, Hezbollah receives its weapons from Iran, shipped through Syria. And Iranian Revolutionary Guards are stationed today in the Bekaa Valley, under Syrian protection.

The alliance goes back a long way. Syria under the Assad dynasty was the only major Arab country to support Persian Iran against Arab Iraq in the Iran-Iraq War. They form a true axis because, unlike the 2002 State of the Union axis, all of the parts are connected and working with each other. The last axis of evil -- Iran, North Korea and Saddam Hussein's Iraq -- was evil but no axis. They were more like points of evil, with North Korea included, as I wrote at the time, as a concession to ethnic diversity.

Today the immediate objective of this Iran-Syria-Hezbollah-Hamas-Islamic Jihad axis is to destabilize Syria's neighbors (Iraq, Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian Authority) and sabotage any Arab-Israeli peace. Its strategic aim is to quash the Arab Spring, which, if not stopped, will isolate, surround and seriously imperil these remaining centers of terrorism and radicalism. "
The last thing the mullahs in Iran need is another democracy blooming in the region and for the Isrealis and Palestinians to come to peaceful terms. There is already the rumblings of dissent in Iran, with younger Iranians very much looking to democracy. This does not bode well for the mullahs and it is crucial for them to kill off this budding democracy movement. As it is, Iran is becoming surrounded by democracies blooming in Afghanastan and Iraq.

So then what to do about Syria? Ralph Peters in his
article has some suggestions. And Krauthammer as some as well, much along the same line as Peter's
"Syria is the prize. It is vulnerable and critical, the geographic center of the axis, the transshipment point for weapons, and the territorial haven for Iranian and regional terrorists.

If Syria can be flipped, the axis is broken. Iran will not be able to communicate directly with the local terrorists. They will be further weakened by the loss of their Syrian sponsor and protector. Prospects for true Lebanese independence and Arab-Israeli peace will improve dramatically.

As Iraq, in fits and starts, begins finding its way to self-rule, the center of gravity of the Bush Doctrine and the American democratization project shifts to Lebanon/Syria. The rapid evacuation and collapse of the Syrian position in Lebanon is crucial not just because of what it will do for Lebanon but because of the weakening effect it will have on the Assad dictatorship.

We need, therefore, to be relentless in insisting on a full (and as humiliating as possible) evacuation of Syria from Lebanon, followed by a campaign of economic, political and military pressure on the Assad regime. We must push now and push hard."
The harder we push the better. Now the leftists and terrorist appeasers and the othe assorted whiners will gnash their teeth over the humiliation suggestion. It is obvious that they have no understand of the culture being dealt with here. That is, however, a topic for another day. It is time to apply as much pressure as possible on Assad Jr., including the use of military force should that become necessary. - Sailor

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