Ada'af Al Imaan (Syria In The President's Sleeve)
Dawood Al Shirian, Dar Al-Hayat, 2003/04/15
Until yesterday, the media was dealing with the American threats against Syria as part of the psychological war being waged by Washington, in the context of its war on Iraq. But President George W.Bush cleared all doubts and settled this issue when he openly said: "everything has its time, we are now dealing with Iraq. Every situation requires a specific response," as if he were saying: Iraq today and tomorrow Syria.
Bush's declarations about Syria resemble those repeated by the U.S. administration about Iraq. With the latter, the statements started by accusations against Baghdad of harbouring members of Al Qaeda. These statements took their course toward a war, which Washington justified with hundreds of reasons. According to Washington, Syria represents a fertile soil for threats because it refuses the peace process in its current formula and harbours Palestinian leftist and Islamics groups. In addition, Washington considers the Syrian regime as an extension of the Iraqi Baath, even though many differences exist between them. Thus, American threats to Damascus must be seen as serious and must be dealt with accordingly.
America wants Syria to sit on the negotiations table to discuss the Golan, without any preconditions; it also wants it to stop supporting Palestinian groups that oppose the Oslo Accords, disarm the Hizbullah and turn it into a political party, just like any other on the Lebanese scene, reconsider the Syrian role in Lebanon, stop having a monopole over the interpretation of the Taef Accord, and change its anti-American rhetoric. Without these terms, war against Syria seems probable, despite the Europeans' reassurances and the optimism of some analysts, who see the developments from an emotional perspective and try to push Syria toward free martyrdom, disregarding its domestic problems and the lack of a balancing force between both countries.