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The Problems Arising from Syrian Dictator Assad's Hatred of Jews

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They [Zionists, Israelis, Jews] tried to kill the principles of all religions with the same mentality in which they betrayed Jesus Christ and the same way they tried to betray and kill the Prophet Muhammad. ï Basher al-Assad, in May 2001 speech welcoming Pope John Paul II to Syria.


ï ï Basher al-Assad, the 41-year-old dictator of Syria, is the latest in a long line of totalitarian despots who have repressed all manner of freedoms and imprisoned or executed dissenters. He arose to his position as leader of Syria through the nation's army, attaining the rank of colonel before taking control of the government. Though he has at times promised social and economic reform, he has failed to make good on such promises. Through his Baath Party he exerts rigid control of the Syrian parliament as well as the country's army, he suppresses political opposition and freedom of speech, and he continues to subjugate Lebanon to his policies regardless of the ballyhooing over the removal of the Syrian army from that neighboring state. Instead of controlling the military operations within Lebanon through Syria's army, he effects it through Hezbollah, which he continues to arm with rocket launchers and long-range missiles.

ï ï There are now reports from the Israeli and Jewish media that Assad has allowed Hezbollah to fire missiles from rocket launchers from at least one site in Syria, and that the operators of the launchers are either Syrians or Hezbollah personnel who are guided by Syrian and Iranian technicians. If these reports turn out to be accurate, it will be no surprise. For a long time Assad has supported Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad in their goal of destroying Israel.

ï ï It is not clear whether Assad derives his hatred of Israel and Jews in general from Islamic teachings or some kind of ethnic bias or rage at Israel's ability to defeat Arabs in war after war and occupy territory which Assad views as belonging to Arabs. Whatever drives him, it is clear that he is outraged at the attempt of other Arab country leaders to negotiate a peace with Israel and to recognize Israel's right to exist as a nation. At the recent Arab League of States meeting called to discuss what can be done about the Israel-Hezbollah conflict, as soon as it became apparent that Hezbollah was being blamed for the conflict and the majority of the Arab leaders want to end the conflict by cooperating with Israel instead of joining the cry to "destroy the Jews," Assad ordered his foreign minister to walk out with a blistering attack on the positions being advocated.

ï ï Assad presents an enormous problem not only for Israel, but also for Arab leaders trying to find a way to end the Israel-Hezbollah conflict before it escalates any further. The question is what is going to happen if Israel, now being shelled daily with missiles that are killing and wounding more and more Jews along with Arab citizens of the country, finally becomes fed up with Assad's providing Hezbollah with rocket launchers not only situated in Lebanon, but also in Syrian territory, and decides to attack Syria as well as Lebanon.
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