Syria Looks To Europe
Vol: 25 Issue: 28 Tuesday, October 28, 2003
The US House of Representatives recently voted 398 to four on a bill to impose economic and diplomatic sanctions against Syria for harboring terrorist organizations.
The proposed legislation is expected to be approved by the Senate and President Bush. The legislation would give the White House a range of options for penalizing Syria, from restricting US exports and business investment to downgrading Washington s diplomatic representation.
It would also ban the exportation of dual-use technology, and allow Washington to freeze Syrian assets in the United States and restrict overflight rights for Syrian planes inside US air space.
The bill likewise provides for imposing travel restrictions on Syrian diplomats in the United States.
Industry sources say several US commercial giants have offices in Syria, such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Compaq in the IT sector as well as General Electric for medical products.
In the oil sector, Exxon-Mobil has joint ventures with Syrian businessmen for the production and sale of lubricants.
At the Islamic summit in Malaysia, Syria s President Bashar Assad condemned members of the Bush Administration as fanatics and warmongers.
The 18-member Bureau for the Boycott of Israel, an Arab League body based in Damascus, has expressed solidarity with Syria against the threat of US sanctions.
All the countries taking part in this meeting stand in solidarity with Syria against the US bill, called the Syria Accountability and Lebanon Sovereignty Act , Ahmad Khazaa, the bureau s chief, said in a statement .
The fact that Syria is a proved terrorist state doesn’t seem to faze the European Community, however. Foreign fighters are not the only ones providing aid and comfort to the enemies of Iraqi reconstruction.
And as more Syrian links to attacks in Iraq are exposed, the European Union is expanding its economic links to Syria. Bashar Assad hosted King Juan Carlos of Spain recently, to discuss opening up EU-Syrian trade.
For the past six years, Syria has been negotiating a partnership accord with Brussels due to be signed at the end of 2003, after President Assad ordered discussions to be accelerated.
The accord would attract much-needed investment to modernize Syria s infrastructure and stimulate its economy, which remains under state control, as well as lead to the creation of a free trade area by 2010.
Assad, for his part, called on Spanish businessmen accompanying the royal couple to invest in Syria. We hope that our Spanish friends will find Syria an appropriate place for economic activities and investment .
There were big opportunities for Spanish-Syrian cooperation in tourism, textiles, transport, information technology and banking, the president added, stressing that his country was open to cooperation and would work to overcome difficulties .
That the Syrians sponsor terror is beyond question. The Europeans know it. There are ten terrorist organizations who openly maintain offices in Damascus. Syria openly supports Hezbollah with money, materiel, training and permits it to maintain terrorist bases in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley.
That Syria remains dedicated to Israel’s destruction is also an indisputable fact of which the Europeans are no less aware than we are.
In the most recent attacks in Baghdad, one of the attackers was carrying a Syrian passport, and a number of Palestinian fighters have entered the country from refugee camps in Syria and Lebanon, according to US intelligence.
The Syrian government has supported attacks against Israel and against US forces in Iraq and the Europeans know all this.
It is equally clear that this European coddling of Syria is a direct response to the American sanctions. One Syrian analyst, quoted yesterday by the Financial Times, removed any doubts. “Syria is rushing to deflect U.S. pressure,” he said. “A closer relationship with Europe will help our government feel more secure.”
“History has shown us that they were not effective and created more problems than they solved,” said French President Jacques Chirac about sanctions. The French are behind the EU’s policy to increase trade with Damascus.
The French and Germans together with much of the EU, played the same game with Saddam Hussein, stepping in to fill the economic void created by UN sanctions. And US-imposed sanctions are much easier to circumvent, since they don’t carry the UN’s imprimatur.
It is fairly clear that Assad is destined to share Saddam’s fate — either at Israeli hands or the Pentagon’s. That will further atagonize and alienate Europe and drive a deeper wedge between the US and its European allies.
The Bible says that in the last days, its’ all about Europe.
The revived Roman Empire, according to Daniel, will host the rabidly anti-Semitic government of the antichrist. There is no mention of the US in Scripture for the last days, but there is plenty of mention of Europe.
US-European relations are at an all-time low.
America and Israel stand alone against the world.
“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:28)