Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Syrian Regime Never Makes Lasting Peace or Real Compromises, Still Claims Territory From Its New "Friend" Turkey

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By Barry Rubin

Ha! Syria now proclaims itself a good friend of Turkey and vice-versa. No problems, right? But go to the official website of the Syrian Ministry of Tourism and guess what? There's a map in which the Syrian government claims the Turkish territory of Alexendratta (Iskanderun), which was passed to Turkey back in the 1930s. At several points in recent times, the Syrian government told the Turks it was dropping the claim.

But, of course, the Syrian regime never gives up on its goal of dominating the Arabic-speaking world and incorporting all of Lebanon, Israel, and Palestinian-ruled territories into its empire. When they are feeling in a good mood they sometimes throw in Jordan, as well as Iraq as a sphere of influence.

Meanwhile, the United States courts Syria, ignoring for all practical purposes its involvement in massive terrorism in Iraq and Lebanon. Yet the idea that Syria's regime is going to change its direction and become moderate is an illusion. They haven't even moderated in real terms toward their new friend, Turkey.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). His new edited books include Lebanon: Liberation, Conflict and Crisis; Guide to Islamist Movements; Conflict and Insurgency in the Middle East; and The Muslim Brotherhood. To read and subscribe to MERIA, GLORIA articles, or to order books. To see or subscribe to his blog, Rubin Reports.

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