Syria can get away with murder (literally)

Israel Insider (www.israelinsider.com) has an article that asks some good questions about Syria and its presence in the UN Security Council.

Syria, driven by the idea that Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine (also known as Southern Syria), are part of Greater Syria, has worked for almost three decades, unhindered, to pacify Lebanon, and make it vanish as an independent state. Daniel Pipes in "Greater Syria: The History of an Ambition," has written extensively about the Greater Syria ideology that drove Bashar Al-Assad's father and continues to motivate the new Syrian president.

Where are all the cries of occupation? Why doesn't the world seem to care about the poor Lebanese? I know that many Lebanese (at risk of death) have protested against the Syrian occupation. I met Lebanese activists in Israel, asking for our help to promote a Free Democratic Lebanon, before Barak's election in 1999 (and subsequent withdrawal from southern. Lebanon). Yet the world is silent.

I copy the full article below.





Syria, UN resolution 520, and the Security Council
Israel Insider - Ariel Natan Pasko - July 9, 2002

Gee, I just don't get it. When Israel ignores a UN resolution, condemnation, or sanction, we're criticized or worse. When Syria does so, it is 'bumped upstairs.' That is, it gets seated on the UN Security Council and then is rewarded with the council presidency. I just don't get it.

Since last January, Syria has been a member of the Security Council. In June, Syria was appointed Head of the Council, in its rotating Presidium. The appointment to the Security Council is for two years. The rotating presidency lasts for one month, and is soon to be over. If that sounds as strange to you as it did to me, well, the little bit of good news is that Syria, as agenda-setter for the Council, has yet to begin to use its power to persecute Israel anymore than the usual Arab persecution in the UN. Yet I ask myself, "How can Syria even be on the Security Council?"

Since September 17, 1982, Syria has been in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 520, demanding that "all non-Lebanese forces" leave Lebanon. Syria has occupied Lebanon since 1976, when it initially intervened in the Lebanese civil war. Syria has killed hundreds of Lebanese leaders since the early 1980s and then it systematically absorbed Lebanon into itself.

Syria, driven by the idea that Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine (also known as Southern Syria), are part of Greater Syria, has worked for almost three decades, unhindered, to pacify Lebanon, and make it vanish as an independent state. Daniel Pipes in "Greater Syria: The History of an Ambition," has written extensively about the Greater Syria ideology that drove Bashar Al-Assad's father and continues to motivate the new Syrian president.

Where are all the cries of occupation? Why doesn't the world seem to care about the poor Lebanese? I know that many Lebanese (at risk of death) have protested against the Syrian occupation. I met Lebanese activists in Israel, asking for our help to promote a Free Democratic Lebanon, before Barak's election in 1999 (and subsequent withdrawal from southern. Lebanon). Yet the world is silent.

There seems to me to be a double standard here. The world gets all bent out of shape over the 'Palestinians' and yet ignores the plight of the Syrian-occupied Lebanese (people from a real country). Where are all the bleeding hearts claiming violations to the 4th Geneva Convention? Syria you see, has moved over 1 million of its citizens into Lebanon, a clear violation. Many came for jobs in the drug fields of the Bekaa Valley, where they were protected by the Syrian Army commanded by Rifat Assad (Hafez's younger brother). They played their part in a multi-billion dollar drug operation set-up in Lebanon. And yet, all this time, for almost 20 years, Syria has flagrantly violated resolution 520, and has refused to leave Lebanon.

If that was all, it would be enough to put Syria in the category of Israel (according to the bleeding hearts). But it gets much worse. Syria you see, HARBORS AND SUPPORTS TERRORISTS! Over 10 different groups (according to none other than Foreign Minister Shimon Peres), work out of Damascus. These groups include Islamic Jihad and Hizbullah, organizations that arrange weapons transfers to Lebanon and issue terrorist commands. Syria still appears on the U.S. State Department's list of terrorist states, first appearing in 1979. At this time, when there is an official 'War on Terrorism' and 'Political Correctness,' I can't see how Syria can sit on the Security Council. I just don't get it.

If Syria is Head of the Security Council, does that make the UN a terrorist-supporting entity? Rep. Tom Lantos of California, the senior House International Relations Committee Democrat, wrote to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan last month and accused UNRWA of being complicit in terrorism. If Syria's occupation of Lebanon and support for terrorism isn't enough to disqualify them from the presidency of the Security Council, or even from sitting on it, what about its violations of UN sanctions against Iraq?

Under the UN oil-for-food plan, revenues from Iraqi oil sales are deposited in a UN account, out of which monies are paid to suppliers for food, medicine and a host of other goods that Baghdad orders. This was done to prevent the Iraqi regime from spending the money on weapons.

But oil industry sources say Syria has been pumping more than 100,000 barrels of Iraqi oil a day since November 2000, bypassing the UN system and paying revenues straight into Baghdad's pocket.

Britain challenged Damascus on the pipeline in January, after Syria became a member of the Security Council and the Sanctions Committee, saying it was a flagrant breach of sanctions. But members took no action.

Daily flights between Syria and Iraq have been going on since February of this year, according to announcements by Iraq, and according to listings on the Syrian Airlines Web page. The Security Council's sanctions committee has been divided as to whether the flight embargo against Iraq bans passenger flights. Some countries, such as the United States and Britain, say they are banned and the panel has to authorize them. Others say operators must notify the committee and provide a manifest, so that the planes can be inspected by UN personnel for contraband material once they land. But Western committee members say Syria has not given notification of any flights. At the same time, members apparently have not pressed the issue although they have approved some 250 flights to Iraq in the past year. So Syria continues flying to Iraq.

So here we have it, a member state at the UN - Syria - occupies and absorbs its neighbor, in clear violation of UN Security Resolution 520. It harbors and supports terrorists, clearly undermining the international communities' 'War on Terrorism.' Syria violates UN sanctions on Iraq, pumping Iraqi oil, giving them cash and allowing flights to Iraq. But instead of being condemned and castigated by the world (like Israel is, all the time), Syria is elevated to a position of honor and power. First, it sits on the UN Security Council, and then it presides over it as President.

How can the world tolerate this? Gee, I just don't get it. Do you?

Views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect those of israelinsider.
Posted by David Melle
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