Syria's master plan backfires

Jack Kelly:

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"Whoever orchestrated Hariri's assassination imagined the explosive event would produce results in accordance with a master plan," wrote foreign affairs commentator Frida Ghitis in The Miami Herald. "It is unlikely, however, that the master plan included strengthening the bonds between the United States and France. But closer ties between Paris and Washington will undoubtedly result from the Hariri murder."

"France is working closely with the United States to craft a new U.N. Security Council resolution calling for the Lebanese government to fully investigate the blast that killed Hariri," reported Stratfor, a private intelligence service.

The result could be a Franco-American push for trade sanctions against Syria by the United Nations and the European Union. And given the bad press the United Nations has been receiving from the Iraq oil-for-food scandal, these sanctions likely would be enforced. The diplomatic isolation of Syria would be nearly complete.

As the Baathist regime of Bashar Assad feels the walls pressing in, Syria turned to what may be its one remaining friend in the world. Hitler and Mussolini had their Pact of Steel. Syria and Iran have formed -- renewed, actually -- what might be termed a Pact of Tin, since it is based on mutual weakness.

Iranian mullahs shake their fists and threaten to rain fiery destruction down upon anyone who attacks them or Syria. But their bizarre response to an incident Tuesday near their one confirmed nuclear site indicates their nerves are raw.

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Iran is a dictatorship. The press is controlled. Nothing is reported without the consent of the mullahs. Something is going on, and they can't get their story straight. This is behavior more fearful than fearsome.

President Bush, who, liberals say, is maladroit at diplomacy, is pushing Syria and Iran into a diplomatic corner. But the success of American arms in Iraq provides undergirding. And Bush's willingness to use force to keep Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

As Frederick the Great said: "Diplomacy without force is like music without instruments." (emphasis added) Bush, fortunately, has an orchestra at his disposal.


As another famous German said, "war is a continuation of policy by other means."

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