Red Countries> Syria

Syria has some how quietly slipped into the “Axis of Evil” in the public and media mind of America without ever being officially declared so. The original “Axis of Evil” nations that Bush announced in 2002 were going to be confronted were Iraq, Iran and North Korea. Since the ‘defeat’ of Iraq, suddenly Syria has appeared as the third nation in the Axis. So now Syria gets hammered constantly in the US media much as Iraq did prior to the war.

The accusations stand that Syria are the main material supporters of the Lebanese Hezbollah faction. Given Syria’s past history with Lebanon this is probably entirely true. On top of this are the accusations of Syria’s involvement in Iraq. Syria is run by a Sunni Baath party much like Iraq was. They are therefore being accused of assisting and arming the Sunni resistance in that country. They are also accused of being the gateway to Iraq for Jihadis travelling there to resist the occupation. If all these accusations have basis and are not just the bluster of the US, as an excuse to attack, then Syria is in fact, siting as a bridge to two sides of Islam that are very seriously fighting on the ground in Iraq. Hezbollah is a Shia faction and of course, the Sunni resistance in Iraq is Sunni. The ‘new’ Middle East is indeed a murky mess.

During the Lebanese conflict there seems to have been pressure from the US for Israel to again wage outright war with Syria, something that has not happened since the Yom Kippur war. Given how the cards are now stacked in the region this would have immediately engendered a counter strike by Iran onto Israel. And the ensuing snowball would have delivered the Neo-Cons their third world war. At the height of the conflict with Hezbollah it seemed that this far more dangerous war would erupt. The Syrians were announcing how far they would tolerate an Israeli advance into Lebanon before they would feel the need to attack and Israel announced that if any Hezbollah rockets hit Tel Aviv this would be cause for an outright strike on Syria. Thankfully, cool heads prevailed back then and this did not come to pass.

Now however, as the Iran War looms again, the war of words has once more erupted between Syria and Israel. The Syrian president has announced that he would like to discuss peace with Israel but under no circumstances will he trust the US. He then also made it clear that a militarisation in the country has taken place to be ready for any future conflict with Israel. The Israelis for their part have said this statement is threatening but have encouraged the Syrian president to visit Israel to discuss peace. The Syrian president however has stated he cannot do this until the Golan Heights are returned to Syria. And so the threatening rumbles begin to build again. Given Iran’s intention to protect Syria should it be attacked, one wonders if it is a reciprocal agreement. If it is an Israeli jet that dumps the first bombs on Iran, it may be that Syria will have to honour agreements with Iran and attack Israel on their behalf.