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“Syria's Clenched Fist”
by Human Mar. 3 2009 - Robert Maginnis (excerpts)   
March 7th, 2009

Syria is building a new chemical weapons factory next to a long-range missile base, hiding evidence of its mushrooming nuclear weapons program and radically increasing military spending on conventional systems. These activities which are primarily funded by Iran suggest Damascus is preparing for war and not -- in President Obama’s unhappy terminology -- unclenching its fist.

President Obama promised “If countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fist, they will find an extended hand from us.” Why then has the president “extended” his hand when Damascus is obviously on the war path?

Last month, Obama sent a congressional delegation headed by Senator John Kerry (D-Ma) to meet with Syrian President Bashar Assad. After that meeting Kerry said there are possibilities for “real cooperation” with Syria but in return Syria must “change its behavior.” Then last week Obama’s State Department hosted talks with Syria’s ambassador hoping to “advance U.S. interests” but immediately President Obama authorized the Commerce Department to approve the export of U.S. components for Syria’s fleet of aging Boeing 747 aircraft.

The export of components for Syria’s aircraft marks a departure from nearly five years of sanctions under the Syrian Accountability Act. Reportedly Syria has used its passenger jets to ferry weapons from Iran to Tehran’s terrorist proxy group Hizballah in Lebanon.

There isn’t a shred of evidence that Syria is about to unclench its fist as Obama wishes. In fact Damascus has become an Iranian pawn, part of the Persian hegemon’s growing empire which has put the entire region in danger.

Syria’s relationship with Iran is widely understood. Last fall, Ali Ibramhim, an Egyptian Member of Parliament and editor of the Egyptian daily Al-Gomhouriyya, labeled Syria “a vassal of Iran.” Even important Syrians admit Tehran’s influence over Damascus. In Dec. 2008, former Syrian vice president Abd al-Halim Khaddam admitted, “Iran has a significant presence in Syria. Iran is involved in the very heart of the regime -- in its security agencies, in its military forces, in its economic [institutions], and in its mosques.”

Iran has taken great pains to establish this special relationship with Syria. A July 2007 article in London’s daily Al-Sharq Al-Swsat outlined a previously secret Iran-Syria agreement that establishes their quid pro quo relationship and explains Damascus’ current militarization binge.

Israel knows Syria is rapidly militarizing and recognizes that their win now, lose later calculus is running on borrowed time. They also see that Obama is quickly removing America from their calculus in favor of their enemies. With Binyamin Netanyahu now at the helm in Jerusalem we seem to be driving Israel closer to attacking Iran and/or Syria unilaterally.

There is no evidence Syria has unclenched its fist. Rather, Damascus is firmly in the clenched grip of Tehran and its hegemonic agenda. President Obama should retract his extended hand and join hands with democratic Israel to stop the Persians and their Syrian proxy.

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