November 1, 2005

Syria Activates Bat-Signal for Help

Hatched by Dafydd

...But Batman lets the answering machine pick up.

In a sign of increasing desperation, Syrian President Bashar Assad has issued an urgent call for an emergency meeting of the entire Arab League, the twenty-two Arab-speaking countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

But in a sign of increasing Syrian isolation, Arab diplomats have rebuffed Assad, suggesting instead a cozy gathering of just five countries -- all but one of whom (Algeria) are actively working with the United States in the GWOT, hence against Syrian interests.

From the Associated Press via

DAMASCUS, Syria — Syria called for an emergency Arab League summit in a bid Monday to rally regional support in the face of a stern, unanimously adopted U.N. Security Council resolution demanding greater cooperation in the probe of the assassination of a former Lebanese prime minister.

But Arab diplomats, anticipating lack of broad support for a summit of all 22 members, suggested a smaller gathering of Syria, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Lebanon and Egypt if others decline out of concern over harming ties with the resolution's prime sponsors — the United States, France and Britain.

That "if" in the second paragraph is actually a gentle reminder that Bashar Assad is not his father Hafez, and this is not the 1970s.

Take a look at Syria's position as it stands now:


Every single country surrounding Syria is now actively working with the United States in the Global War on Terrorism: Turkey in the north, Lebanon and Israel in the west, Jordan (to some extent) in the south -- and on the eastern border is of course Iraq, which used to be Syria's brother Baathist dictatorship but which now contains a democratic government and 157,000 American soldiers, Marines, airmen, and sailors.

Meanwhile, Walid Jumblatt, head of Lebanon's of the Progressive Socialist Party and fierce critic of Assad and Syria, bluntly warned Assad to look east to see what was in store for him if he obstructed the U.N. investigation:

"If (he) acts like Saddam did, yes, we are heading to a situation similar to what happened in Iraq," Jumblatt said in an interview with the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya satellite television channel late Sunday. "But if he acts in order to preserve Syria's national unity and Syria's interest before (serving) the brother-in-law, a brother or anyone, he can save Syria."

Jumblatt was referring to Assad's brother, Maher Assad, and his brother-in-law, Assef Shawkat, the chief of military intelligence, who were named in an initial report submitted by U.N. investigator Detlev Mehlis on Oct. 28.

Jumblatt was probably being overly optimistic: as noted in a previous post, it is unlikely that the Syrian military would allow its head of intelligence to be handed over to the U.N. for interrogation and possible prosecution; they may well respond with an attempt at a coup d'etat instead.

It is looking more and more like Assad's days are numbered (or perhaps, as Woody Allen suggests, "lettered"). Many fear that if the Baathists collapse in Syria, it will bring a wave of Wahabbism or other Islamic fundamentalism to Syria. This is certainly a possibility; but as Turkey has proven, a country can be Islamist and still be democratic... and an Islamist democracy like Turkey does not pose a threat to the United States. The real danger is not Islamism but Islamic totalitarianism.

Bush may not have to "throw the dice" on Syria; it looks ready to come apart all on its own. We should be prepared, however, to move swiftly if necessary to rearrange the pieces into something more closely resembling democratic Iraq than the Wahabbist autocracy of Saudi Arabia or the Mullocracy of Iran.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 1, 2005, at the time of 3:06 AM

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» Syria feeling the heat from The Centre of the Universe
Well it looks as though the constant pressure being exerted against Syria by the global community (ok, ok, mostly by the U.S.) is bringing things to a head.Big Lizards has a round up and commentary.As my Lebanese friends all remind me, America is actively [Read More]

Tracked on February 22, 2006 10:52 AM


The following hissed in response by: Matthew

I'm pretty skeptical that the Syria regime will fall (change yes, but, but if it does FALL (and if it falls it will fall HARD) - it's going to be very interesting in the days to come. The only thing I worry about is al-queda or Hezabollah or (insert Islamist terror organization) coming in and attempting to prevent a democratic trend in Syria from establishing - not to mention that Lebenon could get sucked into this potential terrorist problem. I think it would be a good idea to have Special Forces on standby to put out the brush fires that might result.

If there is an U.S. "Expedition" into Syria (which I doubt will be needed), I predict that they will destroy what is there of Syria's armed forces while carrying out a two pronged attack by sweeping the entire Northern Quadrant via the Euphrates River and an attack force to Damascus. Expect many urban combat veteran units to go on the Damascus force. My only worry is if Iran will decide to attack the U.S. in Iraq on the Eastern Border.

The above hissed in response by: Matthew [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 1, 2005 10:26 AM

The following hissed in response by: TBinSTL

I think it is quite telling that we off handedly refer to Iraq as the "model" for Middle East democratic reform. Mohammed and Omar must be feeling warm fuzzies right now.

The above hissed in response by: TBinSTL [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 1, 2005 11:21 AM

The following hissed in response by: Bill Faith

I linked to your post from Syria In The Crosshairs.

The above hissed in response by: Bill Faith [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 1, 2005 12:59 PM

The following hissed in response by: matoko kusanagi

Sweet. ;)
Let the dominos fall.

The above hissed in response by: matoko kusanagi [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 1, 2005 3:04 PM

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