News Release

Syria on Fire, and the U.S. and Russia Have “Turned up with Flamethrowers”


CHARLES GLASS, charlesmglassmail2003 at
A noted journalist, Glass was ABC News Chief Middle East correspondent and recently wrote the pieces “The Country That Is the World: Syria’s Clashing Communities” and “Syria’s Many New Friends are a Self-Interested Bunch,” which states: “The Syrians are now surrounded by more new-found friends than a lottery winner. … How did Syria become so popular that almost half of the members of the UN are scrambling to save it? What other country can claim more than 100 sovereign friends? What inspired this rush of affection for Syria? Where have these friends been hiding for the past 50 years? What were they doing in 1967 when Israel seized the Syrian Golan? …

“Would it be churlish to suggest that Syria’s friends want something from Syria for themselves? George Bush was eyeing Syria when he left the White House, and, as in so much else, the Obama administration is taking the policy further.”

Glass cites investigative reporter Seymour Hersh writing in 2007: “To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the administration has co-operated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hizbollah, the Shiite organisation that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.”

Glass states: “Syria is a house on fire, and the U.S. and Russia have turned up with flamethrowers.”

Winstanley has been following Syrian oposition groups and wrote the piece “The Syrian Observatory: The Inside Story.”

Zunes is professor of politics at the University of San Francisco and a contributor to Foreign Policy in Focus. He said today: “Unlike the ousted regimes in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, and Libya, the Syrian regime … is an oligarchy with a sizable (albeit shrinking) social base. The failure of the nonviolent wing of the movement challenging Assad, then, is not a result of his ruthlessness as much as the way the fact that the structure of Syrian society requires a more protracted struggle. Unfortunately, armed struggle challenges the government where it is strongest, and foreign intervention would play right into the regime’s hands, which has so deftly highlighted the West’s hypocrisy and manipulated the country’s deep nationalist sentiments.” Zunes wrote the piece “U.S. in No Position to Condemn Alleged Russian Transfer of Helicopter Gunships to Syrian Regime.”