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Armitage: Syria responsible for regional terror
The Jerusalem Post ^ | 11 Spetmber 2004 | ANINE ZACHARIA AND THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Posted on 09/11/2004 2:24:27 PM PDT by anotherview

Sep. 11, 2004 9:56 | Updated Sep. 11, 2004 23:03
Armitage: Syria responsible for regional terror
By JANINE ZACHARIA AND AP
WASHINGTON

Syria bears some responsibility for the twin suicide bombings in Beersheba on August 31, US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said on Friday, although he stopped short of endorsing an Israeli retaliatory attack on Damascus.

Asked in an interview with Egypt TV if Syria "should be held accountable" for the Beersheba bombings, which killed 16 and wounded dozens, Armitage said, "Why not? Syria holds and houses Hamas. Syria is a conduit of weapons from Iran to Hizbullah. It seems to me that Syria does bear some responsibility."

But asked if that meant the US would endorse an Israeli strike on Syria, Armitage said, "That I didn't say. You asked me should they be held accountable, and I said they bore some responsibility."

It seems to me that President [Bashar] Assad should take a careful look at what his nation is doing and what his government is doing in supporting violence in the territories and decide whether this is in the long-term interest of Syria. I don't believe it is."

Meanwhile, Assistant Secretary of State for the Near East William J. Burns urged Syria on Saturday to withdraw its troops from Lebanon and stop interfering in internal Lebanese affairs, a message delivered in Damascus at a time when Syrian-American relations have been particularly strained.

Burns also said Syria must take "concrete action" in cooperating with the US-led war on terrorism by halting support for Palestinian terrorist groups based in Damascus and preventing anti-US Arab fighters from infiltrating Iraq.

"We underscored our deep concern over Syrian intervention in the Lebanese political process and reiterated that, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1559, Syria must end its interference in Lebanese internal affairs, withdraw its forces from Lebanon, and allow the Lebanese armed forces and government to establish their authority throughout Lebanon," Burns told reporters after a two-hour meeting with Assad.

Burns's visit came at a difficult time for Syrian-US relations, more than a week after a divided Security Council passed a resolution pushed by Washington demanding foreign forces leave Lebanon and a presidential election be held.

The resolution was aimed at stopping Beirut from following Syrian policy and extending the term of pro-Syria President Emile Lahoud for another three years.

Washington has imposed sanctions on Syria under the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act.

The bill accuses Damascus of seeking weapons of mass destruction and not doing enough to prevent militants from crossing into Iraq to fight coalition forces. It also demands Syria, the main power broker in Beirut, withdraw its 20,000 soldiers from Lebanon.

Syria denies the charges and says it cannot monitor all its long, porous borders with Iraq. It maintains that Lebanon requests its troops be based there to maintain peace and stability following its devastating 1975-90 civil war.

Political analyst Haitham Kilani said the statement by Burns, the highest ranking US official to visit Damascus in more than a year, contained "illicit threats" against Syria "at a time the United States is pressuring Syria through" the UN resolution.

Burns arrived amid reports that Syria was planning to redeploy its forces in Lebanon within 48 hours in a move designed to comply with the UN resolution, which called for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Lebanon without delay. No further details were available on the report. Officials could not be reached for comment.

Syria's official news agency, SANA, said Burns and Assad discussed regional issues, particularly the war in Iraq, the Middle East peace process, and international cooperation in combatting terrorism.

Assad told Burns that Syria wants Iraq to maintain its "national unity" and become secure and independent. The agency added that both men agreed "to continue dialogue and consultations... regarding issues of mutual concern."

Burns said US-Syrian relations will improve only if Damascus tries to meet American demands on Lebanon, stop supporting Syria-based Palestinian terrorist groups, and help stabilize the situation in Iraq.

"If Syria takes action on these concerns, our relationship can take a very different course, with positive results for all sides," Burns said.

"But... the time has come for concrete action. Our hope remains that Syria will take concrete actions, as a matter of its own interest and the interest of stability in the region, to address those issues."

Burns said he told Assad that Syria "must take steps to halt the activities of states, individuals, and organizations operating on and from Syrian territory and in Lebanon that facilitate and direct violence and terror."

He did not name those organizations, but was apparently referring to Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hizbullah. All three groups are labeled terrorist organizations by Washington.

Burns reiterated US President George W. Bush's commitment to achieving a comprehensive Middle East peace, but added that "such a peace cannot be realized against the backdrop of violence."

During the meeting, Burns urged Damascus to support Iraq's interim government and not become "a platform to undermine Iraqi stability."

He said he discussed with Assad "practical ways in which our military experts might cooperate with Syrian and Iraqi counterparts on this problem. But we stressed that what is essential now is genuine progress, not rhetoric."


TOPICS: Breaking News; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Israel; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: armitage; axisofevil; beersheba; hamas; israel; napalminthemorning; palestinians; regionalterrorism; richardarmitage; southwestasia; suicidebombings; syria; terrorist
It is about time the U.S. confronts Syria in a direct way. I give a lot of credit to the Bush administration for finally doing so.
1 posted on 09/11/2004 2:24:28 PM PDT by anotherview
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To: anotherview

Meanwhile Saudi Arabia gets a pass?


2 posted on 09/11/2004 2:32:37 PM PDT by joesnuffy (Two Heads Are Better Than One...Unless They're On The Same Person -Andy Sipowicz)
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To: anotherview

They must think we've run out of "Shock & Awe."


3 posted on 09/11/2004 2:34:46 PM PDT by SmithL (Boomer Rider)
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To: joesnuffy

Of course. The Saudis are America's friend. [Cough, sputter]


4 posted on 09/11/2004 2:34:51 PM PDT by anotherview ("Ignorance is the choice not to know." - Klaus Schulze)
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To: joesnuffy
You guys need to read this one. It doesn't give anybody a pass.
5 posted on 09/11/2004 2:37:40 PM PDT by anotherview ("Ignorance is the choice not to know." - Klaus Schulze)
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To: anotherview

We've had Syria on the Hit List here since 9.11, as I recall. At last it is being spoken about openly.


6 posted on 09/11/2004 2:40:45 PM PDT by sarasota
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To: anotherview

I'm looking forward to watching the post Nov 2 timeline with Syria and Iran unfold.


7 posted on 09/11/2004 2:45:04 PM PDT by TADSLOS (Right Wing Infidel since 1954)
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To: joesnuffy

A step at a time. It's been the plan all along, plainly stated for all to see.


8 posted on 09/11/2004 3:08:38 PM PDT by HarryCaul
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To: anotherview

Syria had better tread lightly.


9 posted on 09/11/2004 3:32:09 PM PDT by exnavy
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To: anotherview

Sounds to me like Armitage is audtioning for W, to be Powell's replacement..


10 posted on 09/11/2004 3:33:35 PM PDT by ken5050 (Bill Clinton has just signed to be the national spokesman for Hummer..)
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To: anotherview

Syria knows that there's a spot open on the "axis of evil" three team rotation.


11 posted on 09/11/2004 5:02:11 PM PDT by jriemer (We are a Republic not a Democracy)
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To: anotherview
"We underscored our deep concern over Syrian intervention in the Lebanese political process and reiterated that, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1559, Syria must end its interference in Lebanese internal affairs, withdraw its forces from Lebanon, and allow the Lebanese armed forces and government to establish their authority throughout Lebanon," Burns told reporters after a two-hour meeting with Assad.

Burns's visit came at a difficult time for Syrian-US relations, more than a week after a divided Security Council passed a resolution pushed by Washington demanding foreign forces leave Lebanon and a presidential election be held.
The US removed Saddam without a specific UNSC timetable (there were 20 or so resolutions with which Saddam was not in compliance however). Now that there is another UNSC resolution telling Syria to get out of Lebanon, Assad will take it seriously. However, if he does pull out, it will probably have to be under the cover of some other military adventure, such as an attack on Israel (or Jordan, what the hell, his father did it) in order to avoid his own overthrow.

Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon would benefit Syria more than it would benefit Lebanon because Syrian occupation has drained the country of treasure and its young (they leave the country at age 18 to avoid compulsory national service).

If Israel went in with US material support and removed Syria from Lebanon, and in the process demolished all the equipment the Syrian force has in Lebanon, Israeli-Lebanese relations would improve. The Syrian prestige would be given a fatal blow. Assad would be overthrown and probably his entire family would be liquidated by the Syrians involved in the coup. And if Israel also hit those illegal dams Syria built to cut Jordan's water supply...

12 posted on 09/11/2004 7:31:38 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Unlike some people, I have a profile. Okay, maybe it's a little large...)
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To: Alouette; SJackson; yonif

ping


13 posted on 09/11/2004 7:32:45 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Unlike some people, I have a profile. Okay, maybe it's a little large...)
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To: anotherview

"Syria bears some responsibility for the twin suicide bombings in Beersheba on August 31, US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said on Friday, although he stopped short of endorsing an Israeli retaliatory attack on Damascus."

Isaiah 17:1

"The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from [being] a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap."

This prophecy has not yet been fulfilled, maybe Israel is ready to make it happen.


14 posted on 09/11/2004 10:01:03 PM PDT by Amish with an attitude (If (now a big if )Kerry wins... we all lose.)
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To: Amish with an attitude

I agree. The time is ripe, (and drawing nigh)...


15 posted on 09/11/2004 10:12:45 PM PDT by ZOTnot ("The burden of Damascus." I'll take the side of Israel, thank you.....)
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Yehuda; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; ...
If you'd like to be on this middle east/political ping list, please FR mail me.
16 posted on 09/12/2004 6:37:57 AM PDT by SJackson (I wish they had a delete button on LexisNexis, John Kerry (who served in RVN) via Ann Coulter)
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To: anotherview

I thought we were going after Iran next, but maybe the official rhetoric is pointing toward Syria now?


17 posted on 09/12/2004 6:48:26 PM PDT by Rockitz (After all these years, it's still rocket science.)
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To: anotherview

Good news IMO...


18 posted on 09/12/2004 6:55:41 PM PDT by ApesForEvolution (DemocRATS are communists and want to destroy America only to replace it with the USSA)
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To: yonif; doug from upland; JohnHuang2

PING!


19 posted on 09/12/2004 6:56:41 PM PDT by ApesForEvolution (DemocRATS are communists and want to destroy America only to replace it with the USSA)
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To: anotherview

Syria must be destroyed.


20 posted on 09/13/2004 4:27:23 AM PDT by happygrl
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To: happygrl

Mekhtoub! (It is written!)


21 posted on 09/13/2004 12:55:54 PM PDT by sheik yerbouty
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To: ken5050

"Sounds to me like Armitage is audtioning for W, to be Powell's replacement"

We can all hope.


22 posted on 09/13/2004 1:26:54 PM PDT by priceofreedom (On A Roadmap To Hell)
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