Tuesday, October 11, 2005
a close call
The ambassador says that while Damascus is still detaining jihadists on its own, it got "fed up" with the Bush administration's public al-Assad bashing, even after Washington had privately lauded Syria for handing over Saddam's half brother, Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hasan, earlier in the year. Moustapha also confirmed an account from a U.S. intel official who said Damascus was angered when Washington exposed one of its operatives. "We are willing to re-engage the moment you want—but on one condition," Moustapha says. "You have to acknowledge that we are helping."the death of rafiq hariri was not enough, it seems, for a bloodthirsty administration to conjure yet another war, despite a massive propaganda effort. their attempts to foment a cedar revolution also appear to have been frustrated, refuting another attempt at regime change, this one along the more subversive lines of indirect ngo financing and the principles of gene sharp that have been employed from venezuela to the former soviet empire. so the next convenient justification -- syrian complicity in the sunni insurgency -- has hit the headlines in the service of neoconservative aims: finally, ultimately, a darkening of the skies all over the world under the horrible and perplexing umbrella of the empire of liberty.
That's not likely to happen. While U.S. officials stop short of accusing al-Assad of actively aiding the insurgency, they say he has permitted jihadist transit and training camps to exist in the open. After the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, warned last month that "time is running out on Damascus," U.S. officials even debated launching military strikes inside the Syrian border against the insurgency. But at an Oct. 1 "principals" meeting, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice successfully opposed such a move, according to two U.S. government sources who are not authorized to speak on the record. Rice argued that diplomatic isolation is working against al-Assad, especially on the eve of a U.N. report that may blame Syria for the murder of Lebanese politician Rafik Hariri.
with american troops facing an unbeatable insurgency in the field within iraq and across the muslim world, it would be foolhardy -- indeed, suicidal -- to yet again expand the field of action by destabilizing yet another middle eastern pocket of order, however recalcitrant. (especially when such a pocket is, from a realist perspective, an eager machiavellian ally against the spread of islamofascism -- as comments quoted above and often cited elsewhere have indicated, much as saddam hussein might have been.)
however, such is the overwhelming delusion of hubris within the american imperial city, so willfully detached from any concession to material reality, that ignorant calls for global holocaust ring ever louder with every failure. no longer would it be enough, for some, even to limit our imperial sins to punitive airstrikes. we must insist, like a gambling addict, in upping the ante to invasion -- and, in so doing, plunge ourselves into the maelstrom ever deeper, seeking affirmation only in death, until finally we immolate ourselves upon our own swords.