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The Syrians Are Clever… And You're Not! - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Yes, the Syrians are clever because they managed to sell illusions to the Arab world. They negotiated on two fronts; one to continue their occupation of Lebanon and to reinforce their agents and Iran’s agents (who are using the Syrians as a card in the meantime), and another to negotiate with Israel.

Interestingly, when Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem officially confirmed Turkish-Israeli statements about negotiations between Damascus and Tel Aviv, much of the Arab media reported it as “Syria and Israeli have unexpectedly announced today that…”

But the Syrian-Israeli negotiations are not out of the blue – except to those who have been deluded and who believed Damascus. When we published the headline “Lebanon is Burning… And Syria is Negotiating with Israel” (14 May 2008), accusations were launched against us because some resort to emotion to judge events – not information.

This is why today I say that Syria has distracted you from the 2006 summer war by resorting to loud-voice policy, and what could be worse than that, without doing anything for the sake of Beirut. And over the past two years, Syria has preoccupied you with the cards: Amal, Hezbollah, and Hamas.

And today we see Syria resuming its saga of accusations, mistrust and insults of Arab states, declaring that the Arab states forfeited the Palestinian cause when they met with [US President George W.] Bush at a time when Damascus was negotiating with [Israeli Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert over the Golan Heights alone – and with that it will have hurled the Palestinian cause into the abyss.

What is truly amusing is the Syrian description of [Secretary-General of the Arab League] Amr Moussa as a burdensome guest in Doha… Moussa who has preoccupied us with talk of the Arab ranks, Arab rights, and the smoothing over of the situation with Damascus!

Syria did not only preoccupy the Arab world with Lebanon; it also preoccupied the Iraqis with their security and caused them great suffering only to present them on a gold platter to the Iranians who are negotiating with the US over Iraq.

Syria presented itself as a resistance state when it is only a deceptive one. There is no fault in Damascus regaining the Golan Heights, but the question remains: In order to regain its land, must Syria occupy and ravage Lebanon and fragment the Palestinian camp and divide it internally?

The Syrians are clever because they have deceived Arab public opinion, which has already been deceived 60 years ago – and willingly. Moreover, Syria has played with its agents in Lebanon and exploited them in the worst of ways to implement its agenda.

At a time when the Iranians and Hezbollah await the results of the investigation into Imad Mughniyah’s assassination, the results of the Syrian-Israeli negotiations have come out.

It is important here to point out that Israeli Housing Minister Zeev Boim, commenting on Israel’s negotiations with Syria yesterday said, “Any agreement must have three preconditions that may have already been expressed in the indirect negotiations: Only if Syria ends all terror activities and stops Damascus from being a center for terrorism, including supporting and arming Hezbollah in Lebanon and giving up its strategic dependence on Iran.”

The Syrians are indeed clever and you’re not because Damascus has decided to deceive the Arab world that was responsive to its deception – and even welcomed it sometimes.

Hatred for Israel has dragged us behind this deception and we have come to hate Tel Aviv more than we love our issues and nations.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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