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Syria has little oil itself, but it has long been a pawn in the larger game of great power politics and oil interests in the Middle East. Syria emerged as a modern state after World War I in territories that had been part of the Ottoman Empire. After the war, France crushed an Arab bid for an independent kingdom, installing instead a colonial regime in Damascus that lasted until 1946. When Syria gained independence, it was soon torn by military coups, sponsored mainly by British and US intelligence services competing with one another for mastery over the region's oil. Egyptian and Russian interests soon made themselves felt in Syria as well, while Arab and Syrian nationalism opposed the establishment of Israel.

Syria fought three wars with Israel and it intervened in Lebanon in 1976, staying for a long time in control of Lebanese politics. A Soviet ally during the Cold War, Syria has had conflicted or hostile relations not only with Israel but also with Iraq, Turkey and sometimes Jordan and its relations with the United States have generally been cool. But Syria's tough Baathist rulers, especially longtime president Hafiz al-Asad, played complex games of regional politics and took control of Lebanon with at least tacit Israeli and American approval.

Syria cooperated with Bush the elder in the coalition that drove Saddam from Kuwait in 1991, but the current Bush administration has taken an especially aggressive stance towards Damascus, naming it a member of the "axis of evil," and accusing it of harboring terrorists that operate in Lebanon and attack US forces in occupied Iraq. Washington has ignored Syria's calls for an end to Israeli occupation of the Syrian Golan Heights. Accusing the regime of Bashir al-Asad as being a tyranny, the Bush administration talks about the need for regime change and hints at military intervention. Meanwhile, the CIA has used Syria's tough prisons as a site for extracting information from Washington's "rendition" prisoners. In spite of such shadowy cooperation, Syria appears to be a prime target in a future war to consolidate US interests in the oil-rich Middle East.



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ANND has issued a statement condemning the Syrian regime's military actions that are harming it's civilians but asks for any military strikes undertaken in response to only be advanced after authorization by the UN's Security Council. ANND continues to advocate for a peaceful and political solution in this crisis.

Humanitarian Groups Warn Against Direct Aid to Syrian Rebels (February 27, 2013)

The US is strongly considering providing direct humanitarian assistance to favored opposition groups in Syria. Humanitarian aid organizations are expressing deep concerns about this strategy because their ability to be granted access to conflict situations relies heavily on their political neutrality and strict agenda of responding to humanitarian needs alone. If the US plans go ahead, the Assad government may not only restrict access, but perceive aid agencies as a front for a US military agenda. This has multiple consequences. Humanitarian aid agencies could be blocked from entry, or even become military targets themselves. Also, if aid is selectively given to some groups over others, the aid itself can become a source of conflict, thus fostering more violence. Regardless of political affiliation, children in need of food should be given assistance. This is the principle of humanitarian aid, which can be damaged beyond repair in a situation like Syria, if its apolitical reputation is tarnished by intervening powers. (UN Dispatch)

UN Panel Says Syrian Government, Rebels Should be Tried for Atrocities during Civil War (February 18, 2013)

A recent UN Commission Report has accused fighters on both sides of the civil war of committing “atrocities”, that should be tried for at the International Criminal Court. The 131 page report accuses the Syrian government of crimes against humanity, citing murder, torture and rape. The rebels are accused of war crimes, including murder, torture, looting and hostage-taking. Child soldiers, some under the age of fifteen, are being used by both parties. Syria however, does not recognize the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction. The Syrian case can therefore only have impact if the UN Security Council refers the case to the ICC. Major Powers are still divided on this highly politicized issue. Both Russia and China have used their veto power to block the decision. The US and many European and Arab countries have even refrained from encouraging peace talks, demanding a unilateral surrender of the Assad regime. (Associated Press)

Syria: How We Can End the Bloodshed (January 31, 2013)

Finding a viable political solution in Syria is all the more urgent as the region becomes increasingly destabilized. Israel’s attack on Syria shows the dangerous and unpredictable consequences of continued fighting and a deadlock political situation. The Security Council remains blocked as Western states urge for a “political solution,” which implies the unilateral surrender of the Assad government, while Russia urges for “national dialogue.” However, the situation may be shifting on the ground. The leader of the Syrian National Coalition - which long called for Bashar Al-Assad’s removal as a precondition for negotiations - now advocates for talks with the president, along with the support of Brahimi, the UN/Arab League mediator who is working towards a ceasefire. The non-violent opposition to the Assad government agreed in a meeting in Geneva that, despite skepticisms over his recently renewed offer of a "national dialogue," it is the best option to encourage progress from the current deadlock. (The Guardian)

Over 50 Countries Ask Security Council to Refer Syria to Court (January 14, 2013)

More than 50 countries have asked the Security Council to refer the Syrian crisis to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Given that Syria is not party to the Rome Statute, which established the ICC, Syria can only be indicted if the Council refers the case. The Council is in a deadlock because it cannot agree on how a peace deal may be arranged. The US, UK and France believe that Assad's resignation must be a precondition to any peace deal. Russia and China vehemently disagree, and have vetoed any draft resolutions which seek to impose sanctions on the Syrian regime. Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan stepped down from his position of special envoy for Syria last August, blaming the international inaction on the Council. The letter concludes that the Council must refer the case to rectify the 'accountability gap.' Such referrals from the Council however, compromise the legitimacy of the ICC by politicizing the legal framework on which it stands. (Reuters)


Double Standards, Military Addictions and Syria (August 19, 2011)

The United States has issued a statement calling on President Bashar al-Assad to step down. While affirming the need for an international response to the crisis in Syria, Richard Falk highlights the hypocrisy of the Obama administration’s comments. He argues that it is another attempt to intervene in Middle Eastern affairs and is evidence of the Washington’s addiction to military force and double standards. (Citizen Pilgrimage)


A Case Study of Power and Media: The Washington Post (October 31, 2008)

The US attacked targets inside Syria as part of its counterinsurgency campaign in Iraq. By bombing Syria, the US reemphasizes its global hegemony, setting its own standards of international law, including the definition of terrorism. The author argues that the attacks in Syria were a "textbook case" of illegal state violence and terror. (Countercurrents)


Washington Takes Aim at Syria (May 2, 2007)

This Foreign Policy In Focus article decries the "hard-line" position the Bush administration has taken towards Syria. The author argues that by refusing to open a dialogue with Damascus and criticizing US Congressional leaders who engage with the Assad regime, Washington hinders peace in the region. The article speculates that the administration's hawkish position could mean that it is "considering military action against Syria."

Democracy Languishes, But Neo-Con Strategy Lives (January 19, 2007)

This Inter Press Service article argues that the Middle East strategy presented to the Bush administration by "The Project for the New American Century" (PNAC) – a neo-conservative think tank – remains "very much alive." The author states that the Bush administration's interest in eliminating Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hezbollah – the remaining "hostile" players in the original plan – demonstrates that PNAC's vision for the future continues to dictate US foreign policy.



Hidden Agenda Behind US Interest in Hariri Murder (November 25, 2005)

This Arab View article questions the reasons for Washington's "special interest" in the investigation of the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. It argues that in its quest to secure access to the Middle East's vast oil reserves, the US violates international law by interfering in the internal affairs of both Syria and Lebanon. The article also relates the "imposed siege" on Syria to Washington's attitude toward Iraq before the 2003 invasion.

US Severs Most Contacts with Syria, Officials Say (November 8, 2005)

As part of the Bush administration's policy to isolate the Syrian government, Washington broke almost all ties with Syria. The US cites Syria's alleged involvement in the assassination of the former prime minister of Lebanon, Rafik Hariri, and its support for radical Palestinian groups in the Middle East as the reasons for the break. Syrian officials, however, interpret this confrontation between the US and Syria as a way for Washington to change the Syrian government, and "transform the Middle East." (Boston Globe)

The Security Council Resolution on Syria Is a Pretext for the Bombing and Occupation of Syria (November 2, 2005)

What makes the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri more important than previous high-profile political murders? Why does his death justify a UN investigation? The author of this Center for Research on Globalization article claims that the US is using the Hariri murder as an excuse to bring a regime change in Syria, just as the Bush administration used nuclear weapons as a pretext to invade Iraq.

Bush Threatens Sanctions, Even Force, against Syria (October 26, 2005)

The US, France and Britain introduced a Security Council resolution threatening sanctions against Syria. If the Syrian government does not cooperate in the investigations regarding its alleged involvement in the assassination of the Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, US President George Bush said he would not rule out using military force against Syria. While China, Russia, and Algeria reject these plans, Syria calls the threats a rush judgment by Washington "to push its political agenda through the Security Council." (Los Angeles Times)

Syria: The Next Iraq (October 24, 2005)

This TomPaine article argues that while the US struggles with post-conflict problems in Iraq, it has already put Syria "under the gun." US forces have crossed the Syrian border several times, killing some Syrians. The article warns that Washington's "aggressive" foreign policy aimed to change the regime in the country could lead to a "regional war" in the Middle East.

GI's and Syrians in Tense Clashes on Iraqi Border (October 15, 2005)

The war in Iraq may spread to Syria, as US forces have mobilized along the Syrian border in an attempt to block foreign insurgents from entering Iraq. Though Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has denied that insurgent sanctuaries exist in Syria, the Bush administration has labeled Syria an "ally of convenience with Islamic extremists." Many intelligence experts question the level of foreign fighters said to be entering Iraq. (New York Times)

America Knocks at Syria's Nervous Door (July 6, 2005)

The Bush administration's "systematic refusal" to engage with the Syrian regime at any level threatens to disrupt a fragile process of gradualist reform dubbed the Syrian "glasnost." Increasing attempts by necons in the US administration to "muscle in" on president Bashar Assad's regime are likely to unleash "latent forces of chaos" and "create another Iraq." (Daily Star)

Syria and the New Axis of Evil (April 1, 2005)

In an excellent example of the aggressive and uninformed attitude of many in the US neocon establishment towards Syria, this Washington Post article calls on the Bush administration to "push now and push hard" against the Assad "gang." Portraying Syria as the crucial weak point in an "Iran-Syria-Hezbollah-Hamas-Islamic Jihad axis," and a hotbed of "regional mischief making and terrorism," the author argues for heavy "economic, political and military pressure."

Single Minds, Double Standards, and Plural Societies: One Month on in Lebanon (March 13, 2005)

Although Washington was quick to label Lebanese opposition to Syrian interference as a victory for US Middle East policies, the new order emerging in Lebanon was not "Made in the USA." Beirut's calls for a plural form of democracy are neither in ideological and religious harmony, nor are they aimed at destroying Syria. In order to advance US policies in the Middle East, some western media continue to simplify Lebanese politics and support US double standards. Washington's claim that Beirut cannot hold elections as long as Damascus interferes in its politics sounds "surreal, even hilarious," considering the White House staged elections in US-occupied Iraq. (Electronic Intifada)

The "Noble Liars" Attack Syria (March 3, 2005)

The neo-con "get Syria" movement transfers "noble lies" to the media, which produce "‘evidence' of an ‘enemy' that the public could effortlessly hate," says Progreso Weekly. The authors criticize the Bush administration's "historical amnesia," as officials ignore US-backed Israeli occupations and Syrian post-9/11 assistance. Meanwhile, the US spins the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, which the US blames on Syria, as a need for more "sovereignty" in Lebanon. If the media and public fail to ask questions, Hariri's assassination could become an excuse for US intervention.

The Road to Damascus (March 2005)

The US has threatened Syria in the past for helping Saddam Hussein, supporting Hizbullah, and siding with Iran. Former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri's assassination, for which Washington blames the Syrian government, could provide another excuse for US calls of regime change. This Le Monde diplomatique article questions Syria's role in the assassination, the double standard on troop withdrawal, and Washington's true motives.

Hariri Killing Sure to Bolster US Hawks (February 15, 2005)

The Bush administration's speed in blaming Syria for the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, and the subsequent withdrawal of the US ambassador in Damascus, could signal a renewal in Washington's aggressive stance on Syrian "regime change." The administration has justified the threat of military strikes in the past by arguing that Syria has failed to cooperate with the US-led occupation in Iraq. (Inter Press Service)



Threatened by the US and by Internal Opposition (July 2004)

As the US threatens to make Syria its next target in its "war on terrorism," Syria faces the choice of giving up its military autonomy or defying US demands. In addition to insisting that Syria shelve its weapons program, Washington accuses Syria of being overly "lax" with groups considered by the US as "terrorist organizations". These include Palestinian organizations, the Lebanese Hizbullah and former members of the Ba'athist regime in Iraq. (Le Monde diplomatique)

On the Road to Damascus? Neo-Cons Target Syria (March 8, 2004)

Mired in the political quicksand of Iraq and with Osama bin Laden still unaccounted for, the Bush administration "needs to refocus public attention on another evildoer." The author suggests the likely target will be Syria, with similar offenses to those leveled against Saddam Hussein in Iraq serving as a justification for US sanctions. (CounterPunch)

The Next War (January 5, 2004)

In "An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror," Washington's hawks Richard Perle and David Frum present an agenda for how to proceed in the "War on Terror." The authors propose a US sponsored regime change in Iran, a military blockade of North Korea, and "economic quarantine" for Syria, and state that France should be treated as an "enemy." (TomPaine)



US Eyes Second-Tier Threats in Terror War (October 14, 2003)

Washington expands the "axis of evil" and now turns its attention to Syria, Libya, and Cuba. "The US plans to keep up the pressure on countries it places on the wrong side in the war on terror." reports the Christian Science Monitor.

Is Syria Next on the US Hit-list? (April 14, 2003)

The US Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, has tried to restart an old pipeline that ran from Iraq to Israel during the mid-1980, but all attempts have failed. This article explains why the US needs a "regime change" in both Iraq and Syria. (Hindustan Times)

In the Pipeline: More Regime Change (April 5, 2003)

Israel seriously plans to restart an oil pipeline that once transferred oil from Iraq to Israel. According to an Israeli minister, the US would back this project, but its realization would also require Syria's consent, putting Damascus on the list of US targets. (Asia Times)

Powell Welcomes Pledge by Syria to Curb Militants (May 5, 2003)

US Secretary of State Colin Powell welcomed the Syrian promise to close the Damascus offices of three militant anti-Israel groups, while warning that the failure of Syria to cooperate on a range of matters will have "consequences." (International Herald Tribune)

Assailed by US Rhetoric, Syria Circles Its Wagons (May 2, 2003)

Syrians are angered by Washington's criticism of their country. "It's like we are being ordered to not only drop our guns but to bend down and kiss the Americans' feet as well. And all we get in exchange is a promise of a smile," a Syrian analyst says. (Christian Science Monitor)

Why Syria May Not Welcome Fleeing Iraqi Officials (April 22, 2003)

In spite of Damascus' reconciliation with Baghdad at the end of the 1990s, this article argues that there are many reasons why Syria would not welcome fleeing Iraqi officials. (Christian Science Monitor)

Syria 'Getting Message' on Iraq, Bush Says (April 21, 2003)

After serious accusations from senior US administration officials that the Syrian government is harboring Iraqi leaders, the Bush administration said it believes the Syrian government is ready to cooperate with the US. (New York Times)

Powell Expects Diplomatic Trip to Syria (April 17, 2003)

While Washington accuses Syria of developing chemical weapons, Syria has introduced a draft resolution in the UN Security Council calling for the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. (Washington Post)

Calls to Attack Syria Come from a Familiar Choir of Hawks (April 16, 2003)

Many of the same people who led the campaign for war against Iraq signed a report released three years ago calling for military force to disarm Syria of weapons of mass destruction and to end its military presence in Lebanon. (Foreign Policy In Focus)

On to Syria? (April 16, 2003)

The fires in Baghdad were still burning when the Bush administration turned the propaganda machine against Syria. According to the Progressive, one of Washington's motivations for attacking Syria would be extending the US empire throughout the Middle East.

Phase Two of Operation Reshape the Middle East Now Underway (April 16, 2003)

Hawkish members of the Bush administration have pushed for military action against Syria. This Yellow Times article suggests that since Washington has no clear motives for an invasion, it will deal with Damascus through political and economic pressure.

US Officials Soften Criticism of Syria (April 16, 2003)

Hours after the Prime Ministers of Spain and the UK declared that there would be no military action against Syria, US Secretary of State Colin Powell, softened the critique against Damascus, stating that "there is no war plan" against Syria. (International Herald Tribune)

American Warnings to Syria Get Serious Attention in the Region (April 15, 2003)

Few Syrians understand why Washington is coming after them as their government cooperated with the US in the war on terrorism and went against Syrian public opinion to back the 1441 resolution. (Associated Press)

Bush Vetoes Syria War Plan (April 15, 2003)

According to the Guardian, the Pentagon has not succeeded in convincing the White House of taking military action against Syria.

More Wars Ahead, Americans Think (April 15, 2003)

According to a New York Times/CBS News Poll, a majority of US citizens thought it was "very or somewhat likely" that the Bush administration would turn its military forces on North Korea, Syria and Iran.

US Threatens to Impose Penalties against Syrians (April 15, 2003)

Washington says it will consider economic and political penalties rather than military action, if Syria continues to offer safe haven to Iraqi leaders. "It is up to Syria to decide whether to become a part of the new Middle East that we are shaping," an administration official said. (New York Times)

Talking Points on Recent Concerns Raised by Bush Administration Officials Regarding Syria (April 14, 2003)

Stephen Zunes of Foreign Policy In Focus argues that there is no evidence that Syria has developed chemical weapons, obtained weapons of mass destruction from Iraq or aided Iraqi leaders to escape.

Syria Could Be Next, Warns Washington (April 13, 2003)

The US has pledged to tackle the Syrian-backed Hizbollah group in the next phase of its "war on terror." According to the Observer, the move is a part of an effort in Washington to persuade Israel to support a new peace settlement with the Palestinians.

US Takes on Syria in War of Stern Words (April 11, 2003)

US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has accused Syria of supplying military equipment to Iraq. According to a former CIA operative, the US has "pretty much decided to go after Syria," taking advantage of the presence of US military forces in Iraq. (Christian Science Monitor)

Syria Now Top US Target for 'Regime Change' (April 8, 2003)

Although the US State Department firmly opposes Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's hardline stance on Syria, hawkish neoconservatives enjoy increasing influence within the White House. (Telegraph)

Practice to Deceive (March 27, 2003)

This Washington Monthly article argues that the Bush administration sees the invasion of Iraq as a first move to reorder the power structure of the entire Middle East. Undersecretary of State John Bolton, said that after defeating Iraq, the US would "deal with" Iran, Syria and North Korea.

Perle: US Also Seeks Regime Change in Iran, Libya, Syria (February 25, 2003)

Richard Perle, one of the architects of the Bush administration's policy of toppling Saddam Hussein, says that Washington will seek regime change throughout the Arab world. After Iraq, the US will use different tactics to oust the regimes of Iran, Libya and Syria. (World



US Aims New Attack at Libya, Syria, Cuba (May 6, 2002)

The US accuses Libya, Syria, and Cuba of "pursuing weapons of mass destruction and warned it would take action to ensure they do not supply terrorists with such arms." (Reuters)



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