Wednesday, 13 September 2006

An opportunity to make friends - with Syria

Syria, the pummelled

Syria for a while had become the poster child for what is wrong and unsettling about the Middle-East from the American perspective.

Having been implicated in the gruesome and explosive assassination of the ex-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri leading to the reluctant but coerced withdrawal of Syria from Lebanon, then their support for Hezbollah and the brick bats they received with Iran regarding Hezbollah’s attack of Israel, they have every right to be indifferent about American issues.

Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary-General visited Syria recently and extracted a cooperation where Syria would impose an arms embargo on its Hezbollah ally and even allow troops to patrol their border with Lebanon – my point – it is good to talk.

Syria, the brave

So, some cack-handed terrorists poorly executed a plan to bomb the US Embassy in Damascus – Yes, the US is accorded diplomatic recognition in Syria though with no one at ambassadorial level, despite what they have to endure from America – the Syrian security personnel spirited foiled the attack in which one of their number was killed.

Ironically, this “supporter of terrorism”, be it the insurgency in Iraq or the Hezbollah in Lebanon is a fighter of terrorism on its own land even if it pertains to the endangerment of life and property of it chief accuser, America.

America could not but acknowledge with grudging gratitude Syria’s efforts through Condoleezza Rice though that was soured with another comment from the White House that Syria should play a more constructive role in the war against terrorism – take a deep breath of despair.

To Teheran with love

Then switch to Teheran and it is Assyrian/Persian hugs and kisses between Ahmadinejad and Al-Maliki, the Iranian President and the Iraqi Prime Minister respectively.

The Great Satan (America) would be completed miffed with this visit to a possible abode of three – Iran in the Axis-of-Evil.

Despite all the American views about Iran stirring up the Shiite insurgency in Iraq, Iran has offered to cooperate in ensuring Iraq security and stability along with other extensive cooperation deals on oil exploration and export.

With all the American lives being lost in Iraq, the government does have to chart its own way and they are showing that regional cooperation matters regardless of who America counts as friend or foe.

As far as the Middle-East is concerned, Iran and Syria after the Hezbollah skirmish in Israel are the new brokers for regional hegemony in that region with Israel now being exposed as more vulnerable than they thought they were.

Talk and communicate

It is really time to start talking rather that flinging hateful words and vitriol from the White House and State Department like intercontinental precision ballistic missiles.

It is time to try and become friends and talk though your differences, this whole idea of the guarded self-importance of the President of America precluding him from meeting with other people just in case he offers them clout, recognition or legitimacy is self-conceited to the extreme.

It would do well to engage in high-level talks according each other a modicum of respect and courtesy; that said, it is not a team that should include John Bolton even under sedation.

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