johnhall johnhall at
Tue Apr 15 19:18:17 PDT 2003

1. Iraq and a Hard Place

Is Syria next? seems to be the question of the hour. In the wake of the
American victory in Baghdad, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud
al-Faisal rushed to Damascus to talk with Syrian President Bashar
al-Assad about "territorial integrity." That's code for, "What do we do
if the U.S. says it is going to look in Syria for whatever the hell it
can't find Iraq?"
The Saudis' first answer is to have a big meeting. They want Iraq's
neighbors to get together later this week to talk about the region's new
reality: several U.S. divisions primed and ready to roll in a number of
new directions.

The U.S. clearly intends to play up this anxiety by keeping pressure on
Syria. There seems to be little downside to this approach, now that it's
gone to all the trouble and expense of putting a large force in the
field and occupying a member of OPEC. Happy talk won't win it any
friends now.
Besides, one player has already removed itself from the board. If France
had somehow found a way to mute its opposition to the Iraq campaign, it
might now have more standing with regard to what happens in Syria, which
France ran between the world wars. Washington hawks no doubt think that
France can't get too much more upset, so why not ignore its input on
Associate Editor Brian Doherty asks whether invading Syria is worth it:

>From my Reason Mag email

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