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The AP attempts to explain Syria's UN vote supporting the latest resolution on Iraq:
The Syrian vote was "to ease the atmosphere with America and to be in harmony with the European position," said Syrian analyst Jad al-Karim Al-Jubai. He added the U.N. vote could win Syria support from Europe in the event of a confrontation with Israel and the United States.
Syria, whose army is considered weak in the face of advanced Israeli weaponry, has not responded with force to the Israeli air raid on what Israel said was a Palestinian militant base. Syria complained to the U.N. Security Council, where any response is stalled because of the threat of an American veto.
Al-Jubai said Syria did not seek a military confrontation with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (news - web sites), and "went to the United States primarily to circumvent the possibility of military escalation" by Israel.
Syria, in other words, needs to have the US on friendly terms because it can no longer symmetrically threaten Israel. Prior to the first Gulf War, when Saddam was unleashed, Syria could afford to antagonize Israel and stage proxy wars in Lebanon because of its close relationship with Iraq, which had the only military that could match up one-on-one with Israel, or at least come close enough to act as a deterrent. People forget how large the Iraqi military was, especially prior to 1991, and how much power they projected regionally in the Gulf. Before Gulf War I, they were the world's fourth-largest military.
As I posted a couple of days ago, with Iraq's friendly government smashed and no big brother standing behind them, Syria cannot hope to stand up to Israel. Syria needs the US to act as a buffer in order to keep the Israelis at bay, but unless Syria starts cutting ties to terrorists like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, they will find that this US administration will not be terribly concerned about protecting them. If Syria does cut ties to these groups, terrorists will have to fall back to Iran, which will complicate their communication with the Palestinians in the West Bank and in Gaza. If they don't, with every terrorist bombing in Israel they will find the IDF becoming more and more interested in Syrian infrastructure that supports terrorists, to which they will be unable to effectively respond.
People wonder why we took on Iraq; no one really understands that neutralizing Iraq was always the key to dominating the region militarily, and therefore politically as well, for a multitude of reasons -- chief among them, demonstrating that the US has the will to finish what it starts.Sphere It View blog reactions
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