We’ve spoken a lot about the effect that the silly Annapolis conference has had on Israel and the territories but there has been another result of Condi’s folly. Syria has used its new-found acceptance into the world community as an opportunity to crack down on pro-Democracy dissidents. Gee, I thought we were trying to promote democracy in the mid east?
Read this editorial in today’s NY Sun:
Annapolis Dividend No sooner had a Syrian diplomat returned to Damascus from the Arab-Israeli “peace conference” at Annapolis than Bashar Assad’s regime launched a new crackdown on internal dissent. A press release from Freedom House said more than 20 pro-democracy activists had been arrested in eight Syrian cities. It named Kamel Abbas, Fawaz Achaxis, Jabr Al-Shoufi, Ghalib Amer, Osama Ashour, Ismael Hamod, Fawaz Hmadi, Ali Ibrahim Jahmani, Khalaf Jarbou, Gazi Kadour, Muhammed Masalima, Radeef Mustafa, Muaffak Nairabia, Samir Nashar, Ismael Omarm, Biar Rustum, Nasr Said, Yousef Siyasneh, Abdulkahar Suoud, Najati Tayra, Fawaz Tillo, Ahmed Tuma, and Yousif Uwid as among the arrested activists. The American State Department, to its credit, has issued a forthright condemnation of the arrests, telling our Eli Lake, “It is unacceptable that the Syrian government continues with this pattern of repressing civil society,” a spokesman for the department, David Foley said. “We have consistently called for an end to this oppression and release of all political prisoners. The Syrian government must improve its human rights record and allow for basic freedoms of its citizens.” State Department officials downplayed any connection between the invitation to Annapolis and the new crackdown. But it’s easy to imagine how the American embrace would have emboldened Mr. Assad to consolidate power. If Israel wants to surrender the Golan Heights for a peace with Syria that is its business, though we doubt the majority of Israelis would agree with such a step. At least Israel is a democracy, which is more than one can say for Syria. If the price of “peace” is that supporters of freedom in Syria must rot in Baathist prisons, count us as against it. The real peace we hope for will come only when Syrians have the right to publicly criticize their government and vote to change it the same way that Americans and Israelis do.