Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ambassador to Syria?

Michael Rubin
National Review Online
26 April '10

Increasingly, it seems the State Department is grasping at straws as it tries to explain why it needs to send ambassador to Damascus. (I took some of these on a bit earlier.) The latest is that the Syrian ambassador to Washington isn't passing accurate messages back to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, something the Washington Post hints at.

It's absolute nonsense — as other Arab diplomats based in Washington will acknowledge — that the Syrian ambassador isn't relaying messages. Ambassadors for authoritarian dictatorships relay information frequently and accurately. When the authoritarian dictators do not respect the seriousness of the administration nor do they believe that the White House will take any serious coercive action, they sometimes choose not to listen. Bashar al-Assad was convinced he could get away with murder (literally) as Congressional Democrats (and, at the time, Arlen Specter) tossed aside the multilateral isolation imposed in the wake of Rafik Hariri's murder. We increased our groveling for relations after Syria's secret nuclear plant was exposed and destroyed. We sent senior State Department and NSC officials to Damascus after it was already apparent that Syria had rearmed Hezbollah with tens of thousands of rockets.

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