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August 02, 1985 - Image 24

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-08-02

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

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24. - ThIlay,-AtIgust 2; 1985

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

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ANALYSIS

U.S. Praise, Commitment
To Syria Is Questioned

BY VICTOR M. BIENSTOCK

Special to The Jewish News

President Reagan has paid the
first installment of a heavy price
to Hafez al-Assad, the Syrian dic-
tator and overlord of Lebanon, by
excluding him from his scorching
denunciation before the Ameri-
can Bar Association of the re-
gimes of the world which are
actively promoting terrorism.
The absolution by omission was
quickly followed by lavish praise
for the Syrians for what Adminis-
tration officials described as "a
growing convergence of views on
the desirability of trying to curb
extremist actions in Lebanon" by
Hezbollah, the Khomeini-
inspired Party of God. This faction
is held responsible for the TWA
hijacking as well as the bombing
of the American Marine barracks
and the U.S. Embassy in Beirut
with such heavy loss of American
lives.
Assad's failure to deliver up the
seven American hostages seized
by the terrorists over a period of a
year and a half, was defended as
"a particularly complicated and
sensitive issue." The Syrians
feared, a senior State Department
official asserted, that if they
pressed too hard, "they will be re-
turning seven dead bodies."
The officials made no reference
to the fact that these terrorists
could not be operating in Lebanon
in the first place if they had not
been permitted to do so by the Sy-
rian regime and given assistance
and facilities, including protected
safe havens in the Syrian-
controlled Bekaa Valley. from
which to conduct their lethal op-
erations.

Hafez Assad

old Middle East hands in the
foreign policy field.
Joseph J. Sisco, former Under
Secretary of State for Political Af-
fairs, believes that this prospect
should be thoroughly. explored.
He urged this recently in an arti-
cle in the New York Times which
he prefaced with a pointed warn-
ing that "gratitude is not a basis
for foreign policy. Self-interest
is."
America and Israel, he says,
have accepted Syria's preponder-
ant role in Lebanon and there is
no realistic alternative if we wish
to avoid a radical, Shiite-
dominated Lebanon. The inter-
ests of the United States, Israel
and Syria, he holds, "lie instead in
a pragmatic arrangement in
southern Lebanon with Nabih
Bern, head of, the Amal Shiites."
The security zone issue has al-
It was a big obligation that Mr.
Reagan incurred with his plea to ready stirred violend debate in Is-
Assad to secure the release of the rael with Defense Minister Itzhak
Rabin, Chief of Staff Moshe Levy
TWA Flight 847 hostages. It is,
apparently, an equally big price and other defense officials calling
that Assad expects him to pay — for maintenance and full support
no less than the conferment of in-
of the South Lebanon Army which
ternational respectability on one' Israel set up to control the secu-
of today's most skilled practition- rity zone along the border.
ers of terrorism.
Critics of this policy warn that
With that new-found respecta- Amal, which unlike Hezbollah,
bility would come an important has no anibitions outside Leba-
voice in the efforts to settle the non, cannot impose its authority
Palestine-Arab question and es-
on the extremist groups as long as
tablish peace between Israel and there is an Israeli presence or
its Arab neighbors. That added proxy force on Lebanese soil. Both
voice will strengthen the power sides adgree that Berri is not a
Assad already has to negate most free agent and must obey Damn- .
of the tentative moves on the Arab cus. But since the Syrians believe
side to establish a negotiating it to be in their interest to have
base.
the Israelis out of Lebanon, it is
One journalistic voice was argued, they would support Berri
quickly raised in caustic criticism In pacifying the frontier zone.
of Mr. Reagan's whitewash of
"Above all," Sisco stresses,
Assad and it came from one of his "President Assad is nationalistic
strongest supporters, Suzanne and realistic. He is taking all the
Garment, Wall Street Journal military assistance the Soviet

columnist, In a biting comment,
she recalled that from the outset
of the Reagan Administration it
"has been making the case that
terrorism against us is not the
product of random crazies but the
result of policy made by powerful

nations, One country on the Ad-
ministration's list of •eertlitable
agitators of terrorism haseen
Syria, ruler of the Lebanese terri-
tory where Amal operate!'
A role for Syria in the Middle
East peace process 'is already
betas discussed in Washington. it
is beim; strongly advoceted by le

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