Author Topic: 'Realism' in Syria - Obama and Hillary campaign advisors in Damascus  (Read 590 times)

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Offline DixieBelle

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What in the world are advisers to both Senators Obama and Clinton doing in Syria in the middle of a presidential campaign — and why are the two campaigns so unforthcoming about the details of the visits? The same week that a terrorist mastermind harbored by the Baathist regime in Damascus was assassinated by a car bomb, both one of Mr. Obama's foreign policy counselors, Zbigniew Brzezinski, a long-time critic of Israel, and one of Mrs. Clinton's national finance chairs, Hassan Nemazee, were meeting with President Assad.

Mr. Brzezinski himself issued a statement to the Baathist controlled press in Damascus, where he was quoted by the official Sana News Agency as saying that the "talks dealt with recent regional developments, affirming that both sides have a common desire to achieve stability in the region, which would benefit both its people and the United States." There was no indication in respect of whether Mr. Brzezinski queried the Syrian regime, officially listed by our own State Department as a terrorist-sponsoring state, about the assassination of Hezbollah's Imadh Mugniyah, who was slain by a car-bomb as, according to the Lebanese Broadcasting Channel, he was leaving a ceremony at an Iranian school in Damascus.

When our Eli Lake, telephoned the Obama campaign to see what it had to say about its adviser's doings in Syria, a spokesman said it was the first they had heard about it. Mr. Nemazee's office would not say anything about the trip, nor would Mrs. Clinton's campaign. When Mr. Lake rang the Four Seasons Hotel in Damascus, he was informed that Mr. Nemazee had left with the delegation yesterday.

Where is the sense of reality about who President Assad is and what his regime is all about? To suggest, as the Syrians report Mr. Brzezinski said, that they share some kind of common interest in respect of "stability" is disingenuous. Mugniyah, whom the Syrians had been harboring, has been among the FBI's most-wanted terrorists since 1983, when he authorized the attack on the American Marine barracks in Beirut. Mr. Assad runs a police state. Dictatorships can only thrive if the population is in constant terror and convinced the state itself is all knowing.

This has lead some to speculate that the Syrian regime itself might have been complicit in the killing of Mugniyah. We wouldn't gainsay the possibility entirely. Terrorists like drug dealers and mafiosos fight over turf all the time. What we would gainsay is that a benign construction could be put onto the role of the Assad family's Baathist regime in Syria. If the assassination of Mugniyah is a sign of anything, it is most likely that the Baathist regime is itself losing its grip on power. After all Mugniyah was a valuable asset for Mr. Assad, who relied on his capabilities to continue to threaten the prospect of a stable Lebanon.

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So where's the "realism" on the part of Mr. Brzezinski and other so-called foreign policy "realists," who have accused President Bush of foreign policy malpractice for downgrading relations with Syria after the Syrians threw in with the Iranians to sabotage Iraq? Why are advisers to Senators Clinton and Obama in the Syrian capital at a time like this? Are they pressing for a separate peace with the regime? It is something on which Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton will be challenged in the coming campaign, we have little doubt. Where do they stand in respect of Syria — and why can't they bring themselves to explain what their advisers are doing in the capital of one of the countries most hostile to America and Israel?
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