Friday, July 14, 2006

Syria: Part of the Axis of Evil

It is fashionable in elite circles to ridicule President Bush for his comments some years ago in which he labeled certain countries as part of an axis of evil. I have been thinking of those comments in the last few days as I listen to the Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations speak about the current crisis. As the Ambassador would have it, the crisis did not begin with the abduction of Israeli soldiers, and the solution is not the return of those soldiers. Rather, the solution is to end the Israeli occupation. Of what occupation is he speaking? Israel has withdrawn from southern Lebanon and the Gaza strip, and it was preparing to withdraw from much of the West Bank. Is the Syrian Ambassador expressing frustration with the speed of those withdrawals? I think not. In the Syrian Ambassador’s own words, the Israeli occupation began 60 years ago. That is about the time when Israel became a state. So, the Syrian Ambassador is calling for the end of Israel as a state.

That puts Syria clearly on the side of Hamas and Hezbollah, neither of which wants peace with Israel. They wish to eradicate it. Iran's president has said as much since being elected. Even those who claim to be more sophisticated by virtue of their supposed ability to judge in a more nuanced (less black-and-white) fashion must admit that there is a line after which something is clearly evil.

Syria, Iran, and their stooges in Hamas and Hezbollah are willing to use the people of Lebanon and Palestine as pawns in a deadly winner-take-all game. They are not interested in compromise. They are only interested in winning at the price of sacrificing others. The Syrian government is evil, and it should fall.

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