Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Splitting Syria from Iran

Michael Rubin, The Corner:
A lot of ink is being spilled about the idea of splitting Syria away from Iran. Michael Ledeen is right—it isn’t going to happen.

Forget Syria’s track record of deceit. Forget the fact that Iran could outbid us. What interest does Syria have to re-enter the Arab fold? Bashar al-Assad believes he can outlast Bush. Bush tends to say the right things, and the White House has handled the current crisis well. But, there’s a pattern in this administration of saying the right things, waiting a couple weeks, and then backtracking, if not doing the opposite. So why should Assad concede? More importantly, it’s not just about us. By defying the international community, Bashar al-Assad can claim the mantle of Arab nationalist leadership. Historically, there has always been a competition for cultural and political leadership of the Arab world among Baghdad, Damascus, and Cairo. For Bashar al-Assad to split from Iran would mean, by default, for him to subordinate himself in influence to Hosni Mubarak. That’s diplomatic fantasy.