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Counter-argument to pressuring Syria

Reader comment on item: Signal to Syria: Straighten Up

Submitted by Jeffrey Sheff (United States), May 13, 2003 at 15:02

Yesterday, I heard (on CSpan) a Syrian prof from George Washington U whose father was the ambassador to the U.S. under Hafez Assad. speak to the "Palestine Center".
His argument is that Syria is split between an anti-U.S. and Arab Nationalist "old guard" and a Syrian-nationalist and pragmatic new group -- which, by implication, he thinks Bashar Assad leans toward.

He, I believe correctly, states that current Syrian policy is confused -- in the case of Al Qaeda, cooperating and making important contributions to the U.S. cause; in Iraq, seeming to want to aid Saddam, even though Syria and Iraq had traditionally been hostile.
His argument is that by pressuring Syria now (especially since the current road map leaves the Golan Heights completely out of future discussions), the U.S. will strengthen the old guard and weaken the pragmatists.
What do you think of his case?
Submitting....

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