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Monday, August 27, 2007

Sanctioning Syria: Will Pelosi play along?

One week ago, I blogged an article from the Wall Street Journal in which independent Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut laid out a case for taking action against Damascus' international airport, which has become a terror base. At the time, I thought that it would be better to let Israel shut down the airport militarily, rather than trying to get our allies to go along with sanctions. In fact, my idea was not entirely original: Max Boot raised it in a piece written for Commentary Magazine's blog in July. My contribution was to suggest that Israel do the dirty deed rather than the United States.

Lieberman is now trying to introduce legislation in the US Congress to shut down Damascus Airport through economic sanctions.
Congressional sources said House and Senate members were discussing sanctions against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. The sources said Congress has been briefed by U.S. military commanders who said Syria continues to serve as the main conduit for volunteers for the Sunni insurgency in neighboring Iraq.

"There is a feeling that something has to be done," a senior congressional staffer said.

Officials said about 80 volunteers per month have been processed and trained in Syria before being sent to strike Shi'ite and U.S.-led coalition targets in Iraq. They said most of the volunteers, who meet their handlers in Syria, were assigned suicide bombing missions in Iraq.

"Syria refuses to tighten its visa regime for individuals transiting its territory," Lieberman said.

"Syrian President Bashar Al Assad cannot seriously claim that he is incapable of exercising effective control over the main airport in his capital city," Lieberman wrote in the Wall Street Journal. "Syria is a police state, with sprawling domestic intelligence and security services. The notion that Al Qaida recruits are slipping into and through the Damascus airport unbeknownst to the local Mukhabarat [intelligence agency] is totally unbelievable."

The proposed legislation, expected to be introduced in Congress in September, would ban Damascus International Airport to international carriers. The sources said the sanctions could affect the U.S. activities of airlines that violate the proposed sanctions.

Alitalia, Air France and British Airways conduct regular flights to Damascus. U.S. carriers do not fly to Syria.
Much as Lieberman's heart is in the right place, I don't see this happening for two reasons. First, I doubt the Dhimmicrats in Congress, led by Nancy Pelosi (pictured above in her hijab during her trip to Damascus in April) will go along with it. Second, even if it passes Congress, can anyone really see British Airways, Air France or Alitalia being barred from flying to the US for violating the sanctions? If anything like this passes Congress it will be a watered down version without teeth and it won't be effective. The military route strikes me as the only one to help. And that has to happen soon - before Syria's Russian anti-aircraft batteries are in place.


At 12:50 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

we cant sanction Syria..Nancy and Bashar are like Romeo and Juliet or is it Bonnie and Clyde?


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