Note: You may have noticed that I take information from the Gloria Center site, written by Barry Rubin, to share with the Yidwithlid readers. When he writes, Barry provides the perspective that can only be given by someone with his “inside knowledge.” The Good Professor is the head of the Gloria Center, which has some great new news:
The GLORIA Center is proud to announce its new site which includes MERIA Journal and our new blog. You can get an RSS feed or subscribe to our articles, MERIA or both. New items are posted daily. Visit http://www.gloria-center.orgPlease note that the official opening is March 8 so all functions might not be working before then. If you cannot subscribe before that time due to a system not functioning, please write me c/o Sammy here and I will put it in for you.Barry Rubin
Syria Fools the West 1000 Times, Shame on The West!
By Barry Rubin
There are many examples. How on his first visit Secretary of State Colin Powell was told that Syria had closed the terrorism offices in Damascus. He announced it. Then found out he’d been tricked. No problem. On next visit, Powell was told by President Bashar al-Asad that he was closing the pipeline to Saddam’s oil, which had been shipping petroleum despite UN sanctions. Powell proudly announced his success. Found he had been lied to again. Fifteen years after Syria had lied to him about closing terrorist offices, former Secretary of State James Baker was bragging about how this “success” proved that engagement with Syria worked.
Recently, a week before the European Union met with Syria to initial an association agreement–prevously held up in part due to Syrian human rights’ violations–the state-controlled Court of Appeals announced that two imprisoned peaceful dissidents would be released. Surprise, the day after the agreement was initialed the Court reversed itself and said they would not be released.
Then, of course, there are all those visits of U.S. Congress members who trumpet with pride how Bashar promised them he would release dissidents. A few days later, the people aren’t released and more are arrested.
Now a new example. The French president proudly announced that in exchange for his letting Syria out of its isolation, the Syrians were going to send an ambassador to Beirut. You see, Syria has never formally recognized Lebanon as an independent country, thus giving an official sanction to its hardly concealed desire to gobble up its neighbor.
Well, some time has passed and there is still no Syrian ambassador named to Lebanon. So the French government is inquiring: hey, what’s taking so long? Do you think Bashar intends to change?
And I could provide many other examples along these lines.
Do you detect a pattern? Hints of moderation, talk of splitting away from Iran, promises to improve human rights or stop sponsoring terrorism are all barely concealed lies to get a good press and more concessions from the West.
So why don’t Western leaders, diplomats, and journalists see this pattern and loudly proclaim that Syria is a radical, aggressive, terrorist-sponsoring regime that cannot be trusted.
There’s a saying that goes like this: You fool me once, shame on you. You fool me twice, shame on me. When it comes to U.S. and European relations with Syria, the record is clear and the blame can be placed on both sides: one as trickster, the other as sucker.
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), with Walter Laqueur (Viking-Penguin); the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan); A Chronological History of Terrorism, with Judy Colp Rubin, (Sharpe); and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley). To read and subscribe to MERIA, GLORIA articles, or to order books, go to http://www.gloria-center.org