Dahr Jamail: Fury Grips Syria Over Lebanon Attacks


Richard Moore

Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2006 11:50:01 +0300
From: •••@••.•••
Subject: Fury Grips Syria Over Lebanon Attacks

** Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches **
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      Fury Grips Syria Over Lebanon Attacks

Inter Press Service
Dahr Jamail

*DAMASCUS, Jul 21 (IPS) - The daily Israeli bombardment of Lebanon and the 
floods of refugees pouring in have set off a wave of anger through Syria.*

"How can people watch this destruction in Lebanon and do nothing," Hassan Majed 
Ali, president of the Union of Engineers in Damascus told IPS. "What is 
happening in Lebanon is opposed by 100 percent of us here in Syria."

Ali, who heads a union of 19,000 engineers, said "the Israelis have not complied
with any of the UN resolutions since 1949. Why hasn't the world forced Israel to
comply with UN resolution 224 which told them to withdraw from Arab lands? And 
now nobody is forcing them to stop their destruction of Lebanon."

This will also be Israel's loss, he said. "The Lebanese, our brothers, have now 
lost everything. And now the Israelis have lost what friendship they may have 
had left with the Arab world."

Maher Skanderani, a 37-year-old merchant in downtown Damascus said everyone is 
furious over what is happening in Lebanon. "And everything which is happening 
illustrates the main problem -- which is Israel invading Palestine and taking 
Palestinian land."

Anger is spilling over against the U.S. government - and its citizens. Ola 
Saleh, a 25-year-old civil rights volunteer from Latakia said: "In Syria people 
used to differentiate between the Bush regime and the American people. But now 
not only do Syrians not respect the Bush regime, they no longer respect the 
American people for allowing this to happen."

Few believe that the Israeli attack is a reaction to the abduction of two 
soldiers. "Israel has a political and military strategy, they do not react," 
said 60-year-old Ibrahim Yakhour, information and communications advisor at the 
State Planning Commission in Damascus.

"They understand the region very well and know how to exploit it. When they lose
two soldiers they exploit this for their own interests."

Syria could become involved in the conflict, he said. "It just depends if they 
(Israel) have this in their plans."

Yakhour said Israel has "used American actions in their own interests," and has 
in the past "pushed Arab states to reactions which they can exploit for their 
own interests."

Others, like 45-year-old literary critic Emad Huria, believe that Syria will 
inevitably become involved in the conflict. "The whole region is now involved," 
he told IPS. "If not today, then tomorrow."

Hamad al-Khatib, 26-year-old owner of a mobile phone shop told IPS that "Israel 
doesn't care about law, and eventually they will involve Syria in this disaster.
But Syrians will always resist the plans of the Israeli government, because we 
have our dignity."

Ali from the Union of Engineers said Syria has been put in a difficult situation
already by the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq.

"If we had said the invasion of Iraq was democratic, Bush would support us. We 
in Syria opposed Saddam, but we are not with this destruction and killing of 
Iraqis in Iraq. I don't know anyone in the world who supports what is happening 
in Iraq."

Ali finally told this correspondent: "We welcome you to Syria. We welcome you to
Damascus. But don't kick me from my house."

(c)2006 Dahr Jamail.

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