Thursday, October 20, 2005

Busy Day Entry 2: The Drums of War: Syria on the Table?

Speaking of everyone’s favorite yes-woman, here she is again. After covering the news of skirmishes across the Syrian border just a week or so ago, I’m not surprised to see that this is beginning to get a coordinated push at the higher levels. I suppose we don’t need permission to invade anyone or anything anymore, but making it official makes it right, I guess. I'm sure the apologists are spinning this as a move to intimidate Syria, but it's hard to buy that when we're already fighting them. From the International Herald Tribune:

U.S. refuses to rule out Syria strike

WASHINGTON The United States refused on Wednesday to rule out possible military action against Syria but said it had not exhausted diplomatic moves to get Damascus to change its ways over Iraq and Lebanon.

Addressing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said both Syria and Iran were allowing fighters and military assistance to reach insurgents in Iraq.

"Syria and Iran must decide whether they wish to side with the cause of war or with the cause of peace," Rice said at a hearing called to discuss U.S. strategy in Iraq, where more than 150,000 American troops are struggling to end an insurgency.

Pressed by senators over whether the Bush administration was planning military action against Syria in particular, Rice said the United States was still on a "diplomatic course" with Damascus but the military option remained open.

"The president never takes any option off the table and he shouldn't," said Rice when asked about a military option. The Bush administration has accused Syria of doing too little to stop foreign fighters from entering neighboring Iraq. Syria, in turn, says the United States has not done enough to secure the border or deliver technical help it has promised.

Rice declined to say whether the president would present any plans to Congress in advance of starting any possible military action against Syria, saying she did not want to circumscribe his powers.

Her strong criticism of Syria came as the United Nations was preparing to release a report on Friday on the assassination last February of Rafik al-Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister.

The United States, France and others, say they believe Syria might have played a role in the killing of Hariri and 20 others in a bombing in Beirut on Feb. 14 and are calling for strong action if that is the case. President Bashar al-Assad of Syria has said that his country was not involved in Hariri's death, and he reiterated this in an interview with a
German newspaper released on Wednesday, telling Die Zeit that Syria is "100 percent innocent."

Rice was in New York on Tuesday, and she discussed options with the UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan, before the release of the report by a UN team led by a German prosecutor, Detlev Mehlis.

Posted by crimnos @ 8:20 AM