A new think tank report calls on the Bush administration to make Syria
its next target in the war against terrorism.
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy released a report that has been endorsed
by a range of high level former senior U.S. officials. The report outlined a proposed
blueprint for the continuation of the U.S.-led war against terrorism.
The report called on the administration to focus on Iran and Syria and ensure
that the two nations understand the lesson of the demise of
"The leaders of both Syria and Iran, for example, should not miss the
message that countries that pursue Saddam's reckless, irresponsible, and
defiant behavior could end up sharing his fate," the report said.
"Conversely, countries that verifiably end their rogue behavior will reap
Entitled "Winning the Peace in the Middle East: A Bipartisan Blueprint
for Postwar U.S. Policy," the report said the main test for Syria will be
whether that country severs its links with terrorist groups and weapons of
mass destruction. The report cited Syria's harboring of Hizbullah, backed by
"For Iran, the main test will be to recognize that its continued pursuit
of WMD, especially nuclear weapons, detracts from its security rather than
enhances it," the report said. "Throughout, the United States must persist,
in concert with its allies, in the vital work of combating terrorist
networks that operate in and from the Middle East, disrupting terrorist
financing and logistical support, and denying terrorists the political
succor of those who would distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable
forms of terrorism."
On Sunday, President George Bush sought to ease tensions with Syria.
Bush said the regime of President Bashar Assad has responded to U.S.
requests to stop the flight of Saddam aides to Syria.
"There's some positive signs," Bush said. "They're getting the message
that they should not harbor Baath Party officials, high ranking Iraqi
officials. When we think there is somebody there or know somebody is there,
we of course will pass on the name and fully expect the Syrian government to
hand the person over."
The report, authored by former State Department official Dennis Ross and
senior researcher Robert Satloff, was endorsed by a range of former senior
officials from Democratic and Republican administrations. They included
former secretaries of state Alexander Haig and Lawrence Eagleburger, former
defense secretary William Perry, former House speaker Newt Gingrich, former
Democratic senator Robert Kerrey, former Republican senator Fred Thompson
and former CIA director James Woolsey.
The Bush administration was also urged to use the U.S. victory in Iraq
to support democratic forces in Iran and the Arab world. The report said the
promotion of democracy is the best way to help the Middle East and bolster
the stability of U.S. allies.
"This will be the moment to assist their fight for greater freedom, not
draw away from them," the report said. "Tactics will differ throughout the
region, but this principle, to be credible, should apply to friendly and
adversarial regimes alike."