Across the Bay

Monday, April 19, 2010

Peace Talks: Bashar's War by Other Means

Here's, belatedly, my piece from last Tuesday on Syria's smuggling of Scuds to Hezbollah:

The Syrian president made a telling remark at the last Arab League summit to the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas. He observed that “the price of resistance is not higher than the price of peace.” And therein lays the problem. Assad has not been made to feel that the costs of continued destabilization can be prohibitive. Instead, all he gets from Washington are weak statements in response to his actions, and rarely from high-ranking administration officials.
Assad’s mantra is that “peace and resistance are two sides of the same coin.” As he sees things, it’s not either peace or resistance. For him the two are simultaneous tools of attrition, with peace talks providing Syria with impunity as Assad pursues “resistance.” In his conceptual framework, the peace process is just warfare by other means.