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memri
September 16, 2009 No.
2519

Following August 19 Baghdad Bombings, Syrian Daily Teshreen Warns Obama: The Syria-Iran Alliance, Which Is Cultivating the Resistance, Has Won a Great Victory – And Will Not Wait Until Hesitant Obama Reaches a Decision

In an August 22, 2009 article in the Syrian government daily Teshreen, Nasser Qandil, a former Lebanese MP who is close to Syria, wrote that some in Washington were acting to worsen the security situation in Iraq. Their aim, he said, is to extend the U.S. military presence in the country, which will harm U.S. President Barack Obama in his next election campaign; to promote the Biden Plan to partition Iraq into three regions; and to sabotage the relations among Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran.

Qandil warned that although Syria and Iran had shown openness to the possibility of dialogue with the U.S., this was in now at risk due to the hesitancy that characterizes the Obama administration.

Following are excerpts from his article:

The Violence in Iraq Is Meant to Prevent U.S. Withdrawal, Harm President Obama

"The escalation of violence and bloodshed in Iraq in recent days came as the Americans were beginning to prepare for their 2011 troop withdrawal, and as the commanders of the U.S. forces tried to draw up understandings with the countries neighboring [Iraq], particularly Syria, to increase coordination at the border...

"Anyone who is following conditions in Iraq knows that the bloody operations against Iraqi civilians are designed to [reinforce] the call for U.S. forces to remain [in Iraq], and perhaps even redeploy in the cities that they have already left. The excuse given is that if the forces withdraw according to the timetable, the security situation could explode...

"These attacks took place just as many articles and studies were being published by the American and Israeli press, and by several institutes researching the Middle East, about the need to extend the U.S. forces' presence for another four years - or at least until after the next U.S. presidential election in 2012 - so that Obama will not be able to use the withdrawal as a card in his election campaign, and will not be able to claim that he kept his promises from his [first] campaign.

"Other studies link the demand to keep [U.S.] forces [in Iraq] to what they call 'the requirements for negotiating with Iran and guaranteeing Israel's security' prior to the U.S. military pullout. Still other studies hint at the possibility of a war on Iran or of an Israeli war on Lebanon - which, according to this approach, requires U.S. willingness to give Israel this opportunity prior to the [U.S.] troop withdrawal [from Iraq]...

"American research institutes are saying that the safest option for Iraq is a return to the three regions theory, presented by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden when he headed the [U.S. Senate] Committee on Foreign Relations. According to this model, encouragement of this track will help provide the safety net required for a troop withdrawal, [by keeping] Iraq stable."

"This Reveals Two Opposing Lines Among the Influential Circles in Washington"

"It was against the backdrop of this American political and media atmosphere that the recent attacks in Iraq took place. This reveals two opposing lines among the influential circles in Washington. While the president's team is acting slowly and hesitatingly on the negotiations track, and opening a window to cooperation with the countries neighboring Iraq - as he started to do with Syria and is about to start with Iran - there are those who are acting to worsen the Iraq security situation, so as to reopen the door to an extension of the [U.S.] troop presence in Iraq, and also to encourage the option of partitioning the country."

The August 19 Attacks Were Aimed at Sabotaging Assad's Syrian-Turkish-Iraqi-Iranian Cooperation Plan

"...It seems that the [August 19] attacks were aimed at [sabotaging] Syria-U.S. contacts by fomenting suspicion between the allies Syria and Iran; at stopping the progress that had been made in Syria-Iraq relations on the security and economic level when the Iraqi prime minister visited Damascus; and at complicating the Syrian-Turkish-Iraqi-Iranian cooperation plan, proposed by Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad as a future strategic plan, to which he is devoting much attention, time, and effort...

"Those engaged in escalating regional conflicts - those who lose by, and are harmed by, the American openness to the new reality - are racking up achievements against the Obama administration - because it is hesitant, slow, and irresolute in translating this openness into making the required bold decisions, and because it continues to give the Israeli leadership the right of veto in security and political resolutions regarding the region.

"Further hesitation by the Obama administration would mean another blow to the hopes for change that were pinned on it following the U.S. presidential election... Indeed, there could be Israeli war adventurism, or increased bloodletting in Iraq. But the biggest loser of an escalation in the destruction and blood[shed] would first and foremost be President Obama - they [i.e. those who act against him] want him to end his first term exhausted, without the confidence of the voters or of any of those with whom he promised to turn over a new leaf."

"The Syrian-Iranian Alliance... Will Not Wait Until Those Who Hesitate Reach a Decision"

"The region can tolerate no more experiments with the blood of its sons. Thus, the Syrian-Iranian message was clear and resolute, when President Assad visited Iran - that many, from near and far, must read well the meaning of what is happening in the region. The meaning is that the Syrian-Iranian alliance, which is cultivating the resistance movements, has won an historic, significant victory. Despite its openness to the dialogue option, this alliance will not wait until those who hesitate reach a decision."