DAMASCUS, Syria, AP – Syrian President Bashar Assad said Tuesday that the U.S. plan for a “new Middle East” has collapsed following Hezbollah’s successes in fighting against Israel.
Assad, speaking to a journalists’ association in Syria, said the region has changed “because of the achievements of the resistance (by Hezbollah).”
“The Middle East they (the Americans) aspire to … has become an illusion,” he said.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said early in the war between Hezbollah and Israel that any settlement should be durable and lead to a “new Middle East” where extremists have no influence.
Assad said the fighting in Lebanon had been planned by Israel for some time, but the endeavor had failed. “The result was more failure for Israel, its allies and masters,” Assad said.
The Syrian leader said U.S. participation was needed for a peace settlement in the Middle East, but added that peace cannot be achieved under the administration of President Bush.
“This is an administration that adopts the principle of pre-emptive war that is absolutely contradictory to the principle of peace,” he said. “Consequently, we don’t expect peace soon or in the foreseeable future.”