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January 27, 1984 - Image 22

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-01-27

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

22

Friday, January 21, 1984

.C.
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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

U.S. Perception of Syria on Withdrawal Is Aired

WASHINGTON (JTA) —
The Reagan Administra-
tion believes that the Sy-
rians want to negotiate a
withdrawal of their troops
from Lebanon, but on their
terms.
The Jewish Telegraphic
Agency has learned that
this is the feeling of the
Administration despite the
lack of progress made dur-

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ing special Mideast repre-
sentative Donald
Rumsfeld's 31/2-hour talk in
Damascus with Syrian
President Hafez Assad.
Rumsfeld reportedly told
the Israelis later that
chances for an agreement
had "decreased."
Assad has made it clear
that he wants Lebanon to
abrogate its May 17 agree-
ment with Israel and for Is-
raeli troops to pull out of
Lebanon before he will con-
sider the withdrawal of Sy-
rian troops from that coun-
try. At his meeting with
Rumsfeld, he reportedly
added the condition that the
United States withdraw its
troops too.
The Administration be-
lieves that a major con-
cern of Syria with the
May 17 agreement is that
it will make Israel the
protector of Lebanon.

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Syria sees itself as the
protector of Lebanon.
The U.S. does not believe
that Syria wants to absorb
Lebanon, something that is
believed in Israel. Instead,
the Administration noted
that when Lebanon and
Syria were removed from
the control of the French in
1946 the Syrians agreed
that they were two coun-
tries, but one people.
At the same time, the Sy-
rians maintained that they
will not let Lebanon be used
as a base or corridor for an
attack on Syria.
The U.S. has accepted
that Syria has long played
in influential role in Leba-
non. It is believed here that
Syria wants stability in
Lebanon and that is one of
the reasons its army first
went into the country in
1976 at the request of the
then Lebanese government.
But the Administration
is arguing that the secu-
rity arrangements that
are now being negotiated
between the various fac-
tions in Lebanon will
provide the beginning of
national reconciliation in
Lebanon and thus stabil-
ity. Syria is believed be-
hind the groups opposing
that agreement.
However, Syria opposes
the May 17 agreement as
part of what it sees as its
role as the leader of the
Arab world. They want to
derail Egypt's peace treaty
with Israel and the Camp
David process. They believe
that the Arabs can get more
from Israel united than
negotiating separately and
do not want to see Lebanon'
go the way of Egypt.
The Administration has
both publicly and privately
supported the agreement,
which after all, came about
through the personal medi-
ation of Secretary of State
George Shultz. But it has
been stressing that it is not
a peace treaty and that
Lebanon rejected many Is-
raeli demands. Instead, the
agreement is a "delicately
balanced package of corn-
promises," is the way it is

army, it can be trusted to
keep it.
The problem is that no
one in Washington seems to
know how to get Syria to
come to an agreement.

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The Administration has
also stressed that it is the
only agreement existing so
far for the withdrawal of
foreign troops from Leba-
non. However, there are
hints that the Administra-
tion Mideast experts stress
that negotiations with
Assad are long, detailed and
tough. After all, it is noted,
then Secretary of State
Henry Kissinger met with
the Syrian leader more
than 30 times to reach the
1974 Israel-Syrian dis-
engagement agreement.
At the same time, it is
being stressed that when
the Syrians made an
agreement, whether for-
mally as they did with the
Israelis in 1974 on the
Golan Heights or infor-
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