Across the Bay

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Mobsters n' Pals

Not satisfied with his statements to al-Siyassah -- openly laying out that the US "abandon" Lebanon to Syria's tender mercies -- the Oklahoma-based academic, Joshua Landis, clarifies his views further, commenting on a post by David Ignatius:

Although US diplomats claim there will be no "grand bargains," such as Syria's role in Lebanon, but, of course, Syria can ask the Iraqis what they want and then explain that they will do it if the US takes Syria off the terrorist list or drops economic sanctions. At which point, the Iraqi officials will look at the American ambassador and wait for his response. It will help clarify the issues. At least this way, the American public will get a better idea of how interested its government is in stabilizing Iraq and can assess the price Syria and Iran will ask for cooperation. It is a positive turn of events which fits in well with the diplomacy that the US has farmed out to Saudi Arabia. Both Iraq and Saudi Arabia will be able to lobby Washington on Syria's behalf.

Did you get the message, through the typical twists? In essence it's this: the US should give Lebanon to Syria so that it could get out of Iraq, or else Syria will continue killing Iraqis (oh and Lebanese too). Or as he had put it before, "if the US refuses to bend, we will see more violence."

Here's the cynical offer Landis is presenting: Syria will continue to bargain with Iraqis' lives until it can control those of the Lebanese, and you will give it exactly what it wants.

Naturally, there's always humor involved, like Saudi Arabia lobbying Washington on Syria's behalf! Makes you wonder which world these people live in. It also makes you wonder why an American academic is so bluntly internalizing and rooting for a murderous regime with so much Lebanese and Iraqi blood on its hands.

Addendum: A friend and a sharp Syria analyst wrote the following in response to the quote from Landis, echoing a point I've been making for a while: "it is funny that he cannot say what Syria will do for Iraq. And the answer is this: All Syria can do for Iraq is to stop sponsoring a massive terrorist insurgency against it. But of course Landis cannot admit that this is the sole issue at stake between the two countries!"

Also, I should add -- since Ignatius quoted his recent piece -- what Kissinger actually said about Syria, which is of direct relevance to what my friend said. It would help if people quoting Kissinger for authoritative support of their arguments actually read what Kissinger is saying: "The contemporary debate over ending the Iraq war has ascribed an almost mythic quality to the desirability of bilateral negotiations with Syria and Iran as the key to an Iraqi settlement. ... But only a few of the objectives of the United States, Syria and Iran can be fulfilled via bilateral negotiations. Syria's role in Iraq, for better or worse, is limited."

Mythic as in Bashar's "we're the main player in Iraq" or "we have credibility with all the parties in Iraq" and other such fun tales.

The only thing the Assad regime has is terrorism. Period.