I will be presenting this paper at the International Studies Association Conference in NY Feb 2009
Isolating Syria Strategy, Is it Isolating America in the Middle East?
When former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice coined the term “The New Middle East” in Tel Aviv in 2006, it was an extension of an ongoing preemptive/deterrence policy towards what was perceived as rogue elements and states in the Middle East. As much as the word “new” inspires hope, the concept as a whole encompassed the consistency with which the Bush doctrine and the National Security Strategy were upheld as the drivers of Middle Eastern-US foreign policy from 2000 through 2008. By the end of the July 2006 Israeli war on Lebanon, a new dynamic had emerged that contrasted with what was demanded by “The New Middle East” concept. A new Middle East began to take shape, one that was not guided by the proposed US foreign policy but rather as a regional reaction to it. Proactive power relations started to emerge that have increasingly sidelined American influence and hence may jeopardize vital American interests in the future.
This paper will try to reclaim the US “New Middle East” concept by formatting that approach within an internationalism understandinggrounded in dialogue and reengagement, optimizing regional stability aims, and supporting progressive elements in the region. This paper will consider the case of the US policy of isolating Syria, which began extensively during 2003. It will demonstrate the severe lack of regional understanding that prompted this policy and examine how it affected the ease of US regional maneuvering at the time it was most needed, specifically in the case of Iraq and Lebanon.
This paper will start with a detailed account of Syrian foreign policy from 1970 to the present. It will also describe the ability of the Syrian government to stabilize its domestic front consistently and project its influence beyond its borders. This chronological reading of Syrian and US foreign policies will try to debase isolation arguments by reevaluating assertions, such as projecting irrationality onto the states that resist American influence. Furthermore, this paper will demonstrate the negative impact of simplifying and reducing intricate geopolitical realities to mischievous projections onto Syrian foreign policy.
At its conclusion, this paper hopes to arrive at a renewed and optimized understanding of the “New Middle East” concept. Achieving this will be accomplished by dismantling the arguments that supported the isolation strategies and constructing a reasonable argument for recognizing the interests of regional power holders. Advancing and protecting US interests in the Middle Eastern region is a vital priority. Breaking the isolation mold that mitigated the impact of US foreign policy in the region will decrease the oppositional advantage held by countries like Syria and Iran. Furthermore, it will increase the operational opportunities for US foreign policy makers, optimize stabilizing strategies, and bolster progressive movements in the region.
Syrian Foreign Policy, 1970 to the Present:
When Hafez al-Assad seized power in 1970, Syria had been under Ba’athists rule since 1963. The breakdown of the old ruling class was well underway because of the imposed land reform and internationalization actions. The Ba’ath party gained some legitimacy due to its advocacy of Arab nationalism and populist reforms (Devlin 1976, Petran 1972). Syrian foreign policy between 1963 and 1970 was a dysfunctional manifestation of internal struggles and domestic factionalism leading to defeat in the 1967 war as an embodiment of the foreign policy turbulence in Syria at the time.
Syria’s bitter defeat in 1967 paved the way for the realization of Israel as a possible permanent entity in the region. Moreover, the 1967 war ushered in new leadership that would unite the regime and state, and that would adapt a realist foreign policy (Hinnebusch 1997). Hafez al-Assad would be able in 20 years’ time to transform Syria from an artificial entity with limited natural endowments to a regional middle power, by focusing a realist’s understanding of security, stability, and economic pragmatism.
The internal front was consolidated and stabilized through a number of authoritarian means, hence allowing for reasonably autonomous foreign policy maneuvers. Hafez al-Assad created a loyal economic base through massive employment in state bureaucracies and public enterprises. The secret service apparatus was a critical part of a strictly vertical hierarchical system of command. The loyalty of the army throughout his presidency diminished the constraints of party ideology. Limited economic liberalization also fostered a new economic elite that was state dependent and loyal to patrimonial and clientele compositions (Hinnebusch 1997, Perthes 1995).
After 1970, Syrian foreign policy was not subordinated to the task of state building as described by Goode (1962). Nor did it subordinate itself to settling internal power struggles. Syrian foreign policy became an extension of a calculated strategy that lacked consistency in many respects but was never seized upon to prioritize Syrian national interests—even if the cost was credibility in the eyes of its temporary allies. Syria’s relation with the PKK (Kurdistan Worker’s Party) would be one example demonstrating this feature in Syrian foreign policy. The PKK remained a sore point in Turkey-Syrian relations for much of the last quarter of the 20th century. Syria’s main complaint was Turkey’s assertion of sovereignty over the Euphrates. Handing over Abdullah Öcalan to Ankara in 1998 was done in exchange for much needed attention from Turkey regarding Syrian complaints about water, among other logistical accommodations. A closer relation between the two countries was also facilitated by the Iraq war and the rise to power of Ordogan and Gul. Prioritizing Syria’s access to natural resources over its alliance with the PKK is one example that demonstrates the lack of ideological penetration into Syrian foreign policy and the steadfastness with which Syria tackles its transitory alliances with respect to its national interests.
Foreign policy processes in Syria during the 1970s incorporated geopolitical realities, namely the threats and opportunities of the external environment, and they sold the notion of Syria being at the forefront of the fighting for Arab rights. This role allowed Syria to define Arab national interests while prioritizing Syria’s military and security needs under the slogan of “what is good for Syria is good for the Arab nation.” This stance brought in a constant flow of Arab aid, which sustained a reasonable upward trend in Syria’s economy during the 1970s (Perthes 1995, 50). Al-Assad, allied with the USSR, Egypt, and pro-Western Arab oil states, tried to regain the Golan Heights in 1973. By challenging the Israeli status quo, al-Assad was able to recognize relative political success and responded positively to Kissinger’s shuttle diplomacy at the time. Once the Golan disengagement was signed in 1974, it was observed diligently (Ehteshami, 1997). In parallel, once in power, Hafez al-Asad scaled down Syria’s objectives in favor of a more realistic yet optimistic approach to containing Israeli hegemony within its pre-1967 borders. He advocated “land for peace” under UN resolutions 242 and 338.
A trend of realpolitik emerged under al-Assad. Despite the fact that he wanted to be perceived as a champion of Arab nationalism, he was able to compound the rhetoric of populists and nationalists using an ad hoc and relatively autonomous Syrian foreign policy strategy. Consolidating the power base and being unconstrained by domestic consent to his raison d’etat, al-Assad was able to build up Syria’s military power aiming at strategic parity with Israel in order to stabilize any peace agreement that might be reached. Meanwhile, al-Assad lobbied and pressured other Arab countries away from accepting any separate peace deals with Israel (Seale 1988) that might have jeopardized Syrian negotiation terms, and he achieved relative success in that regard. In particular, al-Assad was able to influence and at times control Palestinian affairs.
When the Lebanese civil war broke out, Syria saw an imminent security and spillover threat at its doorstep and intervened in 1976. Nesting logistical resources including its secret service, military checkpoints, and general economic and security interests in Lebanon, allowed for “real-time” oversight of not only Lebanese and Palestinian affairs but also Arab and Western interests in Lebanon.
What made Syria’s clear entrenchment in Lebanese affairs in the 1980s even more remarkable was the internal economic and social turmoil Syria experienced in the early 1980s. The flow of Arab aid deteriorated during that decade with the dramatic downfall of oil prices, a general global economic slowdown, coupled with the surfacing of inefficiencies in the public industrial sector, all of which exacerbated social discontent in Syria. The violent suppression of the Islamic revolt of the early 1980s is well known. What might be of interest here is recognizing this expansion of Syrian influence into Lebanon as a critical economic and security expansion that would support Syrian economic interests during the 1980s and 1990s (Deeb 1980).
The Israeli war in Lebanon in 1982, which aimed at eliminating Syrian presence in Lebanon, expelling the PLO, and striking a Lebanese-Israeli accord saw fierce Syrian resistance. Syria was able in a short time to change its strategic alliance with Lebanese Maronites and utilize Lebanese Muslim grievances to resist Israeli hegemony over Lebanon. Again, apart from having an ideological theme inherent in its processes, Syrian foreign policy was both flexible and highly adaptive to the environmental constraints. This was not a mere reactionary force, but as a proactive, focused foreign policy process with a reliable track record of minimizing threats and maximizing the realization of Syrian national interests. Lebanon signed the Taif agreement in 1990, supported by the US and Saudi Arabia, which solidified Syrian presence in Lebanon.
Syria lost a number of allies upon the conclusion of the Cold War. The dissolution of the USSR and the ever-shrinking communist bloc heightened the pragmatism already evident in Syrian foreign policy. As an ardent supporter of the status quo, Syria supported the Gulf states and the Western allies against Iraq. This period also saw a return of Arab and European aid and investments to Syria (Perthes 1995, 65).
The positive turnaround of the global economy during the 1990s and the emergence of the United States as the sole super power allowed American foreign policy to initiate the rules of the game as far as international dynamics were concerned. Syria saw itself increasingly on the sidelines of globalization during the 1990s despite serious economic liberalization initiatives (Infitah) and receiving 25% of all Arab aid. There was a push to get “Syria on board” according to Madeline Albright and according to the constructive engagement principle, although Syria remained on the list of countries supporting international terror. Peace negotiations were well underway between Syria and Israel after the Oslo peace accord until 1996, when Israel broke them off after a number of terror attacks in Israeli cities.
US Foreign Policy from 1992 to the present:
Three points are of special interest in the period 1992 to 2000. One is that the Clinton administration had a perfect opportunity for brokering a lasting peace deal with an ailing Syrian president, who did everything possible to leave the Syrian house in order within the grip of the Ba’athists. Yet the US accommodated Israeli security concerns regarding contentious demilitarization provisions and criticized Syrian officials for insisting on implementing UN resolutions 242 and 338. The second is that although Syria lost its control over the PLO and the official Palestinian authority, it started to close this security gap by engaging in closer relations with regional resistance actors, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, both of which had intense Islamic undertones. This dramatic reemergence of the Islamic resistance movement compelled the Syrian government (secular in principle) to reconcile its popular rhetoric with a strategic realignment with Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran, and began reclaiming and adapting Islamic symbolism for freedom and dignity, a sociopolitical trend that paid off twice. It worked as a cohesive social agent on the domestic front during the transitional period when Bashar al-Assad assumed power and again on the regional scene during the intense isolation policies of the Bush administration.
The third relevant point is the Clinton doctrine and the strategic conceptualization of key terms, such as “rogue states” during the 1990s. The United States’ entitlement to resort to “unilateral use of military power” to ensure “inhibited access to key markets, energy supplies, and strategic resources” was part of a regional containment strategy that defined acceptable international behavior. The term rogue states was ambiguous, subjective, and did not deter Iran, for example, from acquiring nuclear capability. One can argue to the contrary that this labeling carried an implicit threat to countries like Iran and Syria, which in turn mobilized their efforts to look for alternative strategies to ensure regional dominance. Iran Syria axis counterbalanced the pro western alliance of Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Both defiant countries, although headed by two moderates at the time—Khatemi (1997) and Bashar al-Assad (2000)—mobilized geopolitical, cultural, and economic resources to arrive at a congruent understanding that both will be able to insure their national security and guide political developments within their respective spheres of influence. This realist foreign policy strategy paid off during the Iraq war in 2003, the Israeli war on Lebanon in 2006, during the political uproar against the Lebanese Seniora government in 2007, and again during the Israeli siege and subsequent war on Gaza in December 2008.
Why Isolating Syria Isolated American Foreign Policy in the Middle East:
After President Bashar al-Assad assumed power in Syria in July 2000, the country engaged in intense diplomatic efforts. In order to strengthen Syrian resolve and leadership in the Middle East with respect to the Arab-Israeli conflict, a regional middle power alliance with Iran started to take shape. One can clearly contrast the Iranian Syrian alliance with the Egyptian Saudi Arabian alliance as two opposing ends of a power tug. Syria was keen on improving diplomatic and economic relations with Europe and pro-Western Arab countries, such as the Gulf states, Jordan and Egypt. Even Syrian-Turkish relations saw considerable improvement, thanks to Turkey reconsidering its non-interventionist policies regarding the Middle East.
With the announced American war on terror after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, a number of policy recommendations continued the unilateral action approach announced during the Clinton era. The National Security Strategy and the Bush Doctrine afterward minimized the ability of US foreign policy makers to produce practical arguments for reengaging states accused of aiding terror. The relevance of international norms with regard to “middle ground negotiations” were minimized when contrasted with the perceived security threats emanating from states such as Iran, Syria, and North Korea. The gradual maturation of the argument imposing isolation on Syria had a historical precedent but it materialized officially when Syria vocally opposed the war on Iraq in 2003.
The security threat this war represented to the Syrian regime was multifold. The domino effect and the democratic overhaul of the region as advocated by the Bush administration was less of a concern than the forceful regime change that took place in Iraq. Sidelining Syria at the beginning of the war accelerated Syrian resolve to synchronize Syrian-Iranian efforts to utilize the fallen parts of the Iraqi government. This was evidenced from the Ba’athists and Islamist fighters crossing the Syrian borders into the Anbar region to the relative easy absorption of Iraqi refugees and the abundance of intelligence they brought. Counterbalancing American ground presence in Iraq meant manipulating the security and intelligence weaknesses of the invading party—with relative success. Once the Maliki government was in place, the only way Iraq was able to gain better intelligence on foreign and domestic oppositional groups was after Maliki’s visit to Syria in August 2007, which came after similar visits to Iran. Although criticized by the American government, the elected Iraqi government had a deeper understanding of how regional power volatilities might creep into their domestic front and fuel instability when ignored.
“Either with us or against us” statements, often repeated within the security and political context for the Iraq war build up, categorized Syria in the “against us” camp for opposing the Iraq war along with aiding conventional terrorism. In addition to multiple provisions in the Syrian Accountability Act signed by President Bush on December 12, 2003 pertaining to Lebanese sovereignty, in May 2004, President Bush issued an executive order banning all US exports to Syria except for food and medicine. This economic ban did not have a real effect on Syrian commerce due to diverse Syrian trade relations. The symbolism of this executive order marked the departure from relative accommodation towards Syria’s control over Lebanon and its law defying oil trade with Iraq, and commenced the systematic attempt to deplete the impact of US foreign policy in the Middle East.
Political turmoil was brewing in Lebanon in 2004 as Syria pushed for a presidential term extension for pro-Syrian president Emil Lahud. International political pressure from the US and France, and discussion about the UN Security Council resolution cornered Syrian foreign policy makers. The Iranian-Syrian-Hezbollah regional alliance thus began to crystallize. The systematic institutionalization of pro-Hezbollah politicians within the Lebanese political scene started to bear fruit. Contentious and problematic issues started to flare up in Lebanon beyond the presidential extension for Lahud, namely the Shiite presentation in parliament and Hezbollah arms. The issue of Palestinian resettlement and the largely non-existent Christian majority in Lebanon, and the ramifications of power delegation among ethnic and religious factions, was also brought into question. In a real sense, the Syrian military withdrawal from Lebanon, which was brought about by UN Resolution 1559 did not reduce Syrian influence. In contrast, it heightened its strategic alliance with Christian Lebanese politicians, General Aoun among them, who would be able in the coming years to fulfill the Syrian view.
The assassination of Rafiq al-Harriri on February 14, 2005 shook the Syrian boat once again. A concerted international uproar demonized the Syrian government, which denied the allegations. What is of interest here is the ability of the Syrian government to manage its web of interests even during looming existential crises. The Syrian alliance with Hezbollah took an official tone supported by an expanding and politically mobilized Shiite constituency. The expanding influence of Hezbollah, not just as a mere resistance group operating within a legitimized context but as an increasingly stronger political actor able to mobilize the constituency on election days, played perfectly into Syria’s predictions for the region.
Syria’s alliance with Hamas on the other hand served six purposes: it reduced the sting of a purely Shiite coalition consisting of Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah. It legitimized the Hamas election victory and subsequent takeover of Gaza. It hindered any brokered peace negotiation between the Palestinian Authority and Israel due to the lack of PLO control over Hamas and its rockets. It was an added pressure point against US policy implementation in the region. It played fairly well with increasing Arab and Islamic calls for unity and support for the oppressed in the occupied territories. It also enhanced Syria’s mediation role between the Palestinian factions on the one hand and the Palestinians and Arab countries on the other.
The military and strategic surprise of the 2006 Israeli war on Lebanon bore the fruits of a calculated defiance championed by Iran and Syria. The results of the war as far as the internal Lebanese power balance was concerned, tipped the power scale towards the Hezbollah-General Aoun coalition. The election of General Suleiman as the new Lebanese president and the subsequent reinstatement of diplomatic relations between Syria and Lebanon in 2008 are but a few results of the new strategic realignment between Syria and a number of Lebanese factions. The events leading to normalizing relations between Lebanon and Syria in 2008 took place in the absence of American influence. This normalization strengthened and legitimized Syrian support of Hezbollah even further.
The Israeli siege on Gaza starting in 2007 aimed at weakening Hamas authority over Gaza and thereby stopping the rockets from reaching Israeli towns and settlements, de- legitimizing Hamas in the eyes of Gazans and delivering Gaza to the PLO. Gaza remained loyal to its elected leadership despite tremendous economic hardship and political pressure form President Abbas and the international community. Again, Syria and Iran provided more than symbolic support for Hamas. Khalid Mishal, the Hamas spokesperson in Damascus, rallied Palestinians and declared unrelenting resistance to the occupation, even just a few months before the start of the Israeli war on Gaza in December 2008.
During the Israeli war on Gaza, Arab diplomacy reached an unprecedented peak when the Hamas leadership was called upon to represent Palestinians in the Doha conference on January 16, 2009 with the attendance of Iranian President Ahamdinajad and Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan. Meanwhile, an economic conference with an agenda focused on Gaza was in preparation in Kuwait. The Kuwait conference on January 19, 2009 surprised many spectators when rifts between Egypt and Syria, and Saudi Arabia and Syria were mended. Furthermore, during the conference, the Saudi king threatened to withdraw the Arab peace proposal that had been on the table since 2002, thereby undermining Israeli claims that moderate Arabs were supporting their policies in Gaza. Again, with this dual strategic attendance—the one in Doha and the one in Kuwait—Syria was able to strengthen its strategic alliance with Hamas and minimize the allegations of Iran being a security threat to the Arab countries.
Simplifying geopolitical realities on the ground in order to project irrationality onto Syrian or Iranian foreign policy has served only to cripple and minimize the United States’ stance and influence in the region. Imposing isolation strategies on Syria has simply fortified Syrian resolve to look elsewhere for support of their national interests and national security while increasing their oppositional advantage. The Iraqi and Lebanese governments understand the geopolitical, cultural, and historic realities of the region and are bound by rationality to be part of the power realignments between Iran/Syria and Saudi Arabia/Egypt. The stabilizing component of this configuration is to let it play out in coordination with an active American internationalism policy.
Stability in the region must be encouraged by the United States. Interfering with regional power configurations will only delay and complicate the projection of American interests in the region. Stability can be advanced by allowing the power tug between Syria/Iran and Saudi Arabia/ Egypt to take its course with a minimum of US interference, assuming that this settlement period adheres to international conventional norms. Clearly, post-Iraq war geopolitics and the progress of Arab-Israeli peace negotiations are determinants that will play into the strategies of both alignments.
The current reconciliatory atmosphere among the Arab states, especially between the moderate and the resistance camps—though far from being a reliable trend—is emerging as a regional reaction to the preemptive/deterrence policies of the United States and its indelible bias towards the rights and interests of the state of Israel. The rift between US foreign policy projections in the Middle East and the realities on the ground must be reassessed in order to project an effective and assertive foreign policy. This can not be a US foreign policy that will forgo the advancement of its own interests because of its isolation strategies. Indeed, these have blurred the image of America in the region as being a beacon of hope amidst the bolstered Syrian/Iranian argument about American imperialism in the region.
A new Middle East is indeed emerging. What is of interest to the United States is to reclaim the concept by seizing it on the grounds of reengagement. Championing the ideals of progressive and reform movements in the region is a long-term strategic interest of the United States, which is a vital component of a foreign policy that is based on internationalism. To understand the current political changes that are shaping regional strategic alliances between Syria and Iran is to tap into the future regional determinants.
Acknowledging the interests among the central players in the region demands a worldview congruent with an internationalist understanding of world affairs. Arriving at mutual interests is a second step to viewing the other as equal and sovereign, with rights to strive for security and influence. This acknowledgment will allow for a practical negotiation approach in which the advancement of economic interests, the return of the Golan Heights and regional anatomy are perceived as stabilizing components. Moreover, a dialogue with Syria will enhance the flexibility of US foreign policy makers to adjust their negotiation package in response to direct contact. A direct and official dialogue with Syria is more results oriented than an unofficial one that includes no commitment repercussions. A Syrian American dialogue will undercut notions of American imperialism in the region. In addition, it will condition Arab and Islamic perception of American ideals as being friendly and further enhance the chances of implementing a peace deal with Israel.
 A detailed analysis on former secretary of state’s visit to Tel Aviv on July 2006 can be found on http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=3882 retrieved on May 29th, 2008
 Internationalism understood as a policy of cooperation among nations. A critical component being
perceiving the “other” as equal and recognizing the interests of other countries.
 Also known as the” Libya Model” . Foreign Policy In Focus ran an article advocating the application of
the Libya model on Iran and Syria in 2004 http://www.fpif.org/commentary/2004/0410libya.html
retrieved November 10th 2008
 For a detailed account on the power consolidation process in Syria under Asad consult Hinnebusch, 1997
Syria and Iran: middle powers in a penetrated regional system,p.60-p.86.
 Further information on the water tension between Turkey and Syria, and Abdullah Öcalan can be found
on http://www.mideastnews.com/water001.html retrieved June 15th, 2008
 A concise analysis on Turkish Syrian relations as Erdogan ‘s Legacy can be found
http://www.setav.org/document/Policy_Brief_No_25_Sami_Moubayed.pdf retrieved January 10th, 2009
 This Syrian role conception is discussed in detail in Ehteshami, Hinnebusch 1997 p.59-p.60
 Syria’s economic and security interests in Lebanon is discussed in the Christian Science Monitor article
dated August 1st, 1995, by John Battersby titled Why Lebanon follows the Road to Damascus.
 An in-depth look into Syria’s economic crises of the 1980s can be found in Perthes, 1995 The Political
Economy of Syria under Asad p.53-p.58.
 For further discussion on this topic consult Perthes, 1995 The Political Economy of Syria under Asad
p. 186 . Also see Syria’s Troubled Economy by Eliyahu Knavsky , June 1997 VolumeIV, Number 2
http://www.meforum.org/article/347 retrieved May 30th, 2008
 Perthes, 1995 p.33-p.34.
 A principle used effectively with Egypt in the 1970s. This policy was used by the Reagan administration to oppose UN economic sanctions and isolation imposed on the apartheid regime in South Africa, it was also supported by Margaret Thatcher at the time.
 For selected articles on these attacks see Israeli Foreign Ministry website published Dec.12th 1996 http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Archive/Articles/1996/TERRORIST%20ATTACK%20IN%20BEIT%20EL%20-%20SELECTED%20ARTICLES%20 retrieved November 10th 2008
 A comprehensive analysis of the peace talks article published September 27th, 2004 by Yoram Peri titled Peace with Syria http://www.mideasti.org/scholars/editorial/peace-syria
 Hamas is predominantly Sunni and Hezbollah are Shiite. Another clear demonstration of a practical
Syrian Foreign policy that utilizes opportunities and forms alliances under a resistance ideology to
American penetration of the region.
 For further information on the reemergence of Islamic conservatism in Syria see Joshua Landis’s article dated Jan.19th 2005 http://faculty-staff.ou.edu/L/Joshua.M.Landis-1/syriablog/2005/01/islamism-in-syria.htm retrieved Jan. 15th, 2008
 Encyclopedia of American Foreign Policy, Post Cold War Politics are discussed with an emphasis on Isolating and Punishing Rogue States http://www.americanforeignrelations.com/O-W/Post-cold-War-Policy-Isolating-and-punishing-rogue-states.html retrieved Jan15th, 2008
 For an insightful and entertaining take on “rogue state” definition read The Bush Doctrine and Rogue States by Christopher Preble dated October 2005, Foreign Service Journal http://www.afsa.org/fsj/oct05/Preble.pdf retrieved May 20th 2008
 Ehteshami, Hinnebusch, 1997 p.87-p.116
 For the definition of regional middle power alliance see Ehteshami, Hinnebusch, 1997 p.21
 On the regime change and the Iraq war see Fawn, Hinnebusch 2006 The Iraq War: Causes and Consequences
 Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki first Official visit to Syria August 2007 http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/895424.html retrieved Nov. 20th 2008
The role of ethnic lobbying groups in Washington is evident in this case.
The Syrian Accountability Act http://www.fas.org/asmp/resources/govern/108th/pl_108_175.pdf,
retrieved on May 12th, 2007.
 The economic effect of the isolation strategy in addition to an in-depth economic overview see Economic News about Syria dated Sep.3rd 2008 by Phil Sands and Lina Sinjab http://joshualandis.com/blog/?p=857 retrieved on Dec 30th 2008
 The intense international pressure is depicted in the 2004 archieve of Syria Special Weapon’s News at http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/news/syria/2004/index.html retrieved Dec. 20th 2008
 It is widely believed that the Christian majority has ended in the 1930s in Lebanon. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Lebanon . Adding to this complication are the 400,000 Palestinian refugees (UNRWA March 2005).
 UN resolution 1559 http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2004/sc8181.doc.htm retrieved May12th, 2007.
The Syrian view of electing a Lebanese president, General Suleiman, who is on a good standing with
Syria. This election was a compromise between the majority and opposition, brokered by Qatar.
 A news report stating Syria’s denial of involvement in the Harriri assassination http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4362698.stm retrieved May 30th 2008
 For an interesting take on Hezbollah’s heavy involvement in Lebanese politics read Zvi Bar’el piece titled Price of Quite in Lebanon is Hezbollah in Power Dated May 26th 2008 http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/986902.html retrieved Dec 10th 2008
 On General Aoun historic visit to Syria which forced him into exile in 1990 read
http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2008/12/03/61286.html retrieved Dec 10th 2008
 Further analysis of Aoun closer relations with Syria read Zvi Ba’rel article dated Dec 17th 2008 Neighbors/ Showtime for General Aoun at http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1047308.html retrieved Jan 15th 2009
 On the Normalization of Syrian Lebanese Ties read article dated Oct 15th 2008 http://www.aljazeera.com/news/newsfull.php?newid=171766 retrieved Jan 15th 2009
 Hamas leader thanking Iran and Syria for support during the Gaza crises in Dec 2008. Article by Thomas Erdbrink Feb 3rd 2009 , retrieved Feb 5th 2009
 On Hamas attending the Doha conference read article published on January 16th 2009 http://archive.gulfnews.com/region/Middle_East/10275675.html retrieved Jan 25th 2009
About the economic conference in Kuwait read this article by Michael Slackman titled At Arab Gathering on Development the Talk is about Gaza dated Jan21st 2009 http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/22/world/middleeast/22arab.html?_r=1&n=Top/Reference/Times%20Topics/People/M/Moussa,%20Amr retrieved Jan 30t 2009
On the Arab peace proposal and the subsequent Israeli reaction read Israel Hears Arab Peace Proposal dated July 27th2007 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6914893.stm retrieved Jan 30th 2008