Syria Could Be “Phase Three”, U.S. Warns
April 13, 2003
“There will have to be change in Syria, plainly,” Wolfowitz
LONDON , April 13 (IslamOnline.net & News Agencies) – As the U.S.-led
Iraq invasion is almost done, it seems Washington is getting serious
about its “daily” series of threats against Syria . The pretext now is to
“persuade” Israel - the U.S. protégé – to support the U.S.-drafted
roadmap peace plan, a British paper said.
The United States has pledged to tackle the Syrian-backed Hizbollah group
in the next phase of its “war on terror” in a move which could threaten
military action against President Bashar Assad's regime in Damascus , The
Observer reported Sunday, April 13.
It would be part of a deal designed to entice Israel into the so-called
U.S.-drafted roadmap peace package that would involve the Jewish state
pulling out of the Palestinian West Bank, occupied since 1967.
As Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Sunday that the collapse of
the Iraqi regime “could” pave the way for a settlement to the
Palestinian-Israeli conflict and that he was ready to make some “painful”
concessions to that end, Washington has promised Israel that it will take
“all effective action” to cut off Syria's support for Hizbollah, sources
in the Bush administration have told The Observer.
The new U.S. undertaking to Israel to deal with Hizbollah via its Syrian
sponsors has been made over recent days during meetings between
administration officials and Israeli diplomats in Washington .
“If you control Iraq , you can affect the Syrian and Iranian sponsorship
of Hizbollah, both geographically and politically,” says Ivo Daalder of
the Brookings Institution think-tank in Washington .
“The United States will make it very clear, quietly and publicly, that
Baathist Syria may come to an end if it does not stop its support of
Hizbollah,” he added.
The U.S. undertaking dovetails into “phase three” of what President
George W. Bush calls the “war on terror” and his pledge to go after all
countries accused of harboring terrorists.
It also fits into calls by hawks inside and aligned to the administration
who believe that wars on Afghanistan and Iraq were first stage in a wider
war for American control of the region.
U.S. Hawks Fish In Troubled Waters
Hawks in and close to the Bush White House have also prepared the ground
for an attack on Syria by alleging that Syria harbors the remnants of the
U.S. Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld charged that senior Iraqi leaders
were fleeing to Syria , which he claimed was continuing to send military
assistance into Iraq .
And his deputy Paul Wolfowitz - regarded as the real architect of the
Iraqi war and its aftermath - said on Thursday, April 10, that “the
Syrians have been shipping killers into Iraq to try and kill Americans”,
adding: “We need to think about what our policy is towards a country that
harbors terrorists or harbors war criminals.”
“There will have to be change in Syria , plainly,” said Wolfowitz.
Washington intelligence sources claim that weapons of mass destruction
that Saddam was alleged to have possessed were shipped to Syria after
inspectors were sent by the United Nations to find them, the daily said.
One of the chief ideologists behind the war, Richard Perle, warned
Saturday, April 12, that the U.S. would be compelled to act against Syria
if it emerged that weapons of mass destruction had been moved there by
Saddam's fallen Iraqi regime.
Syria , for its part, frequently rejected the U.S. accusations as
unfounded, arguing that the Bush administration wanted to exaggerate
matters concerning the Middle East to show that the security of the
United States was really in danger.