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March 28, 2004
Syria May Be Getting the Message Now

The Australian reports today that Syria, long a haven for Islamic terrorists and a sister dictatorship to Saddam's own Ba'ath regime in Iraq, has approached the Australian government to intercede on its behalf to improve its relations with the US (via Instapundit):

SYRIA has appealed to Australia to use its close ties with Washington to help the Arab nation shake off its reputation as a terrorist haven and repair its relations with the US. Secret talks between the two nations have been under way for months but have become more urgent as rogue nations reconsider their role in allowing terrorists to thrive, in light of the US determination to take pre-emptive military action. ...

Syria's Melbourne-based honorary consul, Antonios Zyrabi, confirmed to The Weekend Australian last night that Syria wanted Australia to help it come in from the diplomatic cold.

As I noted earlier, Syria has been rocked in recent days by demonstrations from ethnic Kurds who see their counterparts in Iraq being freed from the yoke of Ba'ath oppression, and would like the same to happen in Syria. Bashar Assad, the Syrian dictator, also knows that with Saddam out of power in Iraq and the US preparing to transition Iraq to self-rule, American interest in defeating terrorist groups will naturally focus on Iran and Syria.

Iran's mullahcracy has remained defiant in the face of their own domestic turmoil, but Syria faces a much different strategic situation. First, Saddam's downfall has left Syria geographically isolated, as a quick look at the map will demonstrate:

Syria used to rely on the strength of Saddam's Iraq on its eastern border as a smaller kid would rely on his big brother on the playground. Since the US decapitation of the Iraqi Ba'ath regime, however, Syria's eastern border is now dominated by free Kurds and the US military. To its north lies Turkey, a NATO member and a US ally. To its south, it faces Israel and its dominant military forces. Jordan also lies to its south, but Jordan has aligned itself with Washington and at any rate would provide little military assistance if it came down to fighting. Syria's only ally on its borders is its own vassal state, Lebanon, which has drained Syrian military resources for decades as well as complicated its diplomatic posture. Iran lies across a wide expanse of US-controlled Iraq.

In other words, Assad woke up, looked around, and found himself very much alone.

In a nutshell, this explains yet another strategic reason to emphasize the resolution of the twelve-year Iraqi quagmire as a critical step in the war on terror. Prior to last April, Islamofascists could count on a solid geographical block of nations in which to move and hide. With the Taliban ousted from Afghanistan, Musharraf dedicating Pakistani military action to snuff out al-Qaeda assassins, and Iraq removed from the middle of the path, Islamofascists are increasingly caged within smaller geographical territory and unable to hide as easily -- and the governments that support them are now less able to simply shove them across a border when the heat's on.

The jig's up, and Libya and maybe Syria now understand that. Bush, Perle, and Wolfowitz were right.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 28, 2004 10:26 AM

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» Is Syria Getting Serious? from Watcher of Weasels
It looks like Bush might have another dictatorship under his belt.  Bashar Assad has opened talks with the Australians about how to make nice with the United States...  apparently, the Syrian dictator has finally woken up and smelled the coffee... [Read More]

Tracked on March 28, 2004 5:23 PM

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