September 1, 2006

Syrian Arms Smugglers Agree to Police Themselves

Marc Comtois

Dave Schenker reminds us that:

On August 15, Syrian president Bashar Assad gave a lengthy speech to the Syrian Journalists Association condemning the Bush administration, disparaging the United Nations, declaring support for Hezbollah and regional “resistance,” and calling for the removal of the democratically elected government of Lebanon. The address and subsequent interviews with Assad in the Arab press highlight the absence of any foundation for fruitful discussions with Damascus. Indeed, given the context and the content of Assad’s recent remarks, it would be difficult to interpret the Syrian position as anything less than a resounding rejection of dialogue with Washington.
Assad also threatened any U.N. troops should their deployment conflict with the policies and sovereignty of Syria. Hence, U.N. Sec. General Kofi Annan went to Damascus to barter with Assad. Apparently, Annan's efforts have been a success.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Friday that Syria would step up border patrols and work with the Lebanese army to stop the flow of weapons to Hezbollah.

Syria will increase its own patrols along the Lebanon-Syria border, and establish joint patrols with the Lebanese army "when possible," Annan said after meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus.

Assad made no public comments after their meeting...[bu] Annan said Assad informed him that Syria would "take all necessary measures" to implement paragraph 15 of U.N. resolution 1701, which calls on countries to prevent the sale or supply of weapons to entities in Lebanon without the consent of the Lebanese government or U.N. peacekeepers.

Annan has achieved a diplomatic coup by bringing Syria on board. Who better to police illegal arms smugglong to Hezbollah than those who have been coordinating them for two decades?
Iran and Syria are still trying to smuggle arms to Hezbollah across the Syrian-Lebanese border, Miri Eisin, a spokeswoman for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said yesterday. The weapons include Russian-made anti-tank missiles, Syrian and Iranian-made rockets and Iranian rocket-launchers, she said.
Ahhh, twenty-first century diplomacy, you gotta love it!