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Author`s name Michael Simpson

"Israel Benefits by Iraqi and Palestinian Events"

The tension in the relations between Syria and Israel is perfectly evident
A sword-play between the political leaderships of Syria and Israel is going on. This time, Syria President Bashar al-Assad who has been until recently in the shadow, has made a harsh statement. He said, Israel "is the only country that turns the situation in the Middle East, Iraq and Palestine particularly, to its advantage."

The Syrian president made the statement on Sunday, during his meeting with the delegation of pubic, political and religious figures of Iraq headed by Chairman of the Nationalists Party Vashid Jamal Nizami that was on a visit to Syria. At that, Bashar al-Assad did not evolve his idea and concentrated attention on discussion of Iraq's present-day problems. It would not make any sense to evolve the idea further. The tension in the relations between Syria and Israel is perfectly evident.
At the beginning of October, planes of the Israeli Air Force delivered attacks against the Syrian territory for the first time over the past twenty years. The Israeli authorities insist that it was a base of Palestinian terrorists from the Islamic Jihad organization that was attacked. Syrians, in their turn, declare that there are no terrorist bases on the territory of the country; the Israeli Air Force delivered an attack against a village near Damascus.

It could have been even a bigger scandal if the UN Security Council had voted for adoption of a resolution condemning the attack by Israelis submitted by Syria. However, nothing of this kind has happened. The UN Security Council has not even considered the resolution mostly because a US representative made other members of the Council understand that if there was voting on the resolution the US would veto the document. Under these conditions, majority of the UN Security Council members arrived at a conclusion that it made no sense to waste time on discussion of the Syrian resolution. On the one hand, this spirit of conciliation is bewildering, on the other hand - the conflict has been settled quietly. However, this fact does not ensure at all against repetition of the attack.

The harshness of the statement is not typical of Bashar al-Assad and was provoked by the fact that within the past month Syria has suffered another failure on the diplomatic scene. It is known that Damascus would not support a new resolution on Iraq submitted by the US for consideration of the UN Security Council. Syria changed its mind at the last moment. It is not ruled out that the country changed its mind under the pressure of other Arab nations (Syria is the only Arab nation represented in the UN Security Council).

It is unlikely that the US and Israel will pay much attention to the undiplomatic statements of Bashar al-Assad. After all, it has become nearly good manner for Arab leaders to allow harsh criticism in the address of the Israeli policy at their meetings. In any case, the words are seldom carried out in practice. If all members of the US-controlled provisional governing council make statements that Iraq will never recognize Israel, there is nothing to say about the Syrian president.