Since Rick Warren has made some new powerful friends in Syria that he thinks want peace, I thought it may be time for a tiny history lesson concerning recent Syrian antics.
Syria has occupied and controlled most of Lebanon since 1976, when they intervened in the Lebanese civil war. Syria has assassinated hundreds of Lebanese leaders since the early 1980's and has systematically absorbed Lebanon under it's control.
Syria believes that Lebanon, Jordan and parts of Northern Israel (Ignoring the UN charter of 1948, it is referred to as Southern Syria by Syrians), are part of "Greater Syria" and has worked for 30 years to control Lebanon and negate their independence.
Many people do not know that Lebanon used to be referred to as the 'Paris of the Middle East'. Beruit was a metropolis that attracted vacationers and business people from all over the world. Lebanon was also home to many Christians who have mostly fled since the late 1970's. Many came to the states and some are my friends today.
Many Lebanese used to protest against the Syrian occupation. But they were ignored by the world even as they were assassinated for speaking out. There seems to be a double standard between how we react to the "Palestinian" problem yet ignore what has happened to Lebanon as it has been ravaged by the Baathist Syria for 30 years! Where are all the arguments claiming violations to the 4th Geneva Convention?
Over the past 30 years, Syria has moved over 1 million of its citizens into Lebanon, a clear violation and an obvious occupation tatic. Many came for jobs in the drug fields of the Beka Valley. They are protected by the Syrian Army, commanded by Rifat Assad (Hafez's younger brother). This is a billion dollar drug operation set-up in Lebanon. All of this is a direct violation of UN Security Council Resolution 520. Yet no one seems to care except some in the United States and of course, Israel.
In addition to the occupation of Lebanon, Syria, supports international terrorist organizations with safe harbor, weapons and money. Over 10 different terrorists groups work out of Damascus today, such as, Islamic Jihad and Hizbullah, who both receive money and weapons from the Syrian government.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad just shrugs off U.S. pressure to cut ties with Lebanon's Hizbollah and expel radical Palestinian groups we regard as "terrorists." In an interview published in the Al-Liwaa daily on July 1, 2002, he said: "Syria supports the Lebanese national resistance (made up of occupying Syrians, too) , including Hizbollah,...in resisting Israeli occupation and liberating land, politically and in the media because the brothers in the Lebanese resistance do not need military support from Syria." (Big, huge lie. Syria is where they get their money and weapons)
"As for the Palestinian groups...their work is limited to political and media activities, and their offices in Damascus provide political representation to the 400,000 Palestinians living in Syria and who look to attain their rights and return to their land," he was quoted as saying. The remarks were Assad's first public comment on those groups since President Bush demanded in his Middle East policy speech on June 25, 2002 that Syria cut backing for Hizbollah and expel militant Palestinian groups it hosts. Wonder why Assad does not make these 'Palestinians' living in Syria citizens? After all, before the 1950's and the rise of Yasser Arafat, these 'Palestinians' referred to themselves as 'Syrians'. But they make too great a pawn for terrorist activities.
Damascus hosts 10 Palestinian terror groups, including the Islamist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which have carried out a series of suicide attacks on Israelis since the start of the Fatwah uprising. Syria also defends Hizbollah, which waged a war of attrition that helped end Israel's 22-year occupation of a safety zone in south Lebanon in May 2000, as legitimate national resistance.
In a reference to Israeli warnings in recent months that the Jewish state would respond to Hizbollah attacks on its troops in a disputed area by hitting Syrian targets, Assad told Al-Liwaa that Syria would defend itself against any Israeli action. "If the Israeli government involved itself in waging aggression on Syrian territories, naturally Syria would defend itself," the newspaper quoted Assad as saying.
Israel holds Damascus responsible for attacks by Hizbollah! And rightly so as Israel knows who is behind the attacks in Lebanon.
The Damascus International Airport has become the primary transit hub for al Qaeda operatives traveling back and forth through the Middle East. Bashar Assad in Damascus and the Hizballah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, in Lebanon are keeping a wary eye on the White House. Back in 2004, the Syrian President was told his double game was no longer acceptable; he must decide between cracking down on the terrorist organizations in his country, including al Qaeda, or expect American retribution. Now we are trying to make friends with this guy?
In the battle for Jenin a few years back, al Qaeda as well as Hizballah terrorists, were fighting against the Israeli Defense Forces on the Palestinian side. Also, al Qaeda fighters are able to move between Tehran, Damascus, Beirut and the Palestinian refugee camps of south Lebanon, with logistical support from Hizballah.
Syria is a Baathist Regime. A Dictatorship who supports and aids terrorists. Why is that not a big deal to you? Rick thinks because you met this man, a friend of his neighbors, that he cannot be all that bad. If you read history, Rick, you would know that Hitler was quite charming when he wanted to be, too. Can you ignore facts?
And this, Rick Warren, is just a small piece of recent Syrian history. I have not even written about Syria's propaganda campaign to promote hatred of the United States and Israel.
With friends like these, who needs enemies?