From FOX News: Bush: Pelosi Meeting With Syria's Assad Sends Wrong Signal.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's trip to Syria to meet President Bashar Assad sends a signal that the rogue nation is part of the international mainstream when it is not, President Bush said in a Rose Garden address Tuesday.
Pelosi, D-Calif., arrived in Syria earlier that day, leading a Congressional delegation on a trip that the White House has criticized.
“It’s one thing to send a message,” Bush said. “It’s another thing to have the person receiving the message actually do something. Sending delegations hasn’t worked, it’s simply been counterproductive.”
Pelosi, who was met at Damascus airport by Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, is the highest-ranking American politician to visit Syria since relations began to deteriorate in 2003.
The United States accuses Syria of interfering in Iraq and Lebanon and sponsoring terrorists — charges that Damascus denies. A White House spokeswoman has described Pelosi's visit to Syria as a "really bad idea."
Pelosi has shrugged off the criticism, pointing out that Republican members of Congress have also visited Syria. During a visit to neighboring Lebanon Monday, she said she considers the visits to be an "excellent idea" and was hopeful of rebuilding lost confidence between Washington and Damascus.
And IBD Editoirals: Mrs. Chamberlain.
We've seen how well Iran plays with others, capturing 15 British sailors in what in earlier times would have been considered an act of war. It is killing U.S. troops with advanced armor-piercing IEDs it supplies Iraqi jihadists. It plays host to Muqtada al-Sadr, whose Mahdi army has tried to destabilize Iraq's infant democracy.
Still, Pelosi insists we follow the ISG's advice. Come, let us reason together. But we've seen Iran's response to the ISG and to the international community that has rightly sanctioned Tehran for building weapons of mass destruction.
Syria and Iran were partners in crime in Hezbollah's unprovoked attack on Israel and used the democracy of Lebanon as a human shield as it helped provide weapons that rained death and destruction on civilians in Israeli cities and towns. It acted as a conduit for arms flowing to Hezbollah from Iran used in Hezbollah's attacks.
Syria has been linked to the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri and a host of other anti-Syrian political leaders as it works to destabilize the country it occupied for over two decades. Pelosi won't be able to talk to Lebanon's former industry minister, Pierre Gemayal. He was assassinated as part of Syria's and Hezbollah's plan to destabilize Lebanon.
UPDATE I: From CNN: Pelosi receives warm welcome in Syria.
Pelosi stood by the U.S. assertion that Syria supports groups that the United States considers terrorist organizations.
"Of course the role of Syria in Iraq, the role of Syria supporting Hamas and Hezbollah, the role of Syria in so many respects -- we think there could be a vast improvement," she said. "We think it's a good idea to establish the facts, to hopefully build some confidence between us. We have no illusions, but we have great hope."
UPDATE II -- April 4: With its headline, CNN seems to be trying to help Pelosi seem tough on Syria: Pelosi pushes Syria on Hamas, Hezbollah links. "Pushes"? Here's what the article says:
Pelosi said she and her delegation "expressed our concern about Syria's connections to Hezbollah and Hamas" and discussed the issue of militant fighters slipping across the Syrian border into Iraq. "These are important issues not only in the fight against terrorism but important priorities for us for peace in the Middle East," she said. ...
In the talks with Assad, the delegation raised the issue of Israeli soldiers kidnapped by the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and the Palestinian group Hamas and conveyed "the importance of Syria's role with Hamas in promoting peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis," Pelosi said.
"Expressed our concern" and "raised the issue" -- I don't see any pushing going on, particularly when Pelosi suggests that Syria has an interest in promoting peace in Israel, a notion shown as ludicrous by the next paragraph:
Syria hosts the exiled leadership of Hamas, as well as other Palestinian radical groups, and is a major patron of Hezbollah. But while the United States regards Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist groups, Syria insists that Hamas is a legitimate resistance movement working for Palestinian freedom and Hezbollah is a regular Lebanese political party.
It's impossible to have a "dialogue" about peace with an intransigent and bloody state sponsor of two groups who openly want to destroy the free state of Israel. This is the mess that Pelosi and her ilk refuse to see.
UPDATE III -- April 5: A surprisingly spot-on editorial from The Washtington Post: Pratfall in Damascus; Nancy Pelosi's foolish shuttle diplomacy.
HOUSE SPEAKER Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) offered an excellent demonstration yesterday of why members of Congress should not attempt to supplant the secretary of state when traveling abroad. After a meeting with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, Ms. Pelosi announced that she had delivered a message from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that "Israel was ready to engage in peace talks" with Syria. What's more, she added, Mr. Assad was ready to "resume the peace process" as well. Having announced this seeming diplomatic breakthrough, Ms. Pelosi suggested that her Kissingerian shuttle diplomacy was just getting started. "We expressed our interest in using our good offices in promoting peace between Israel and Syria," she said.
Only one problem: The Israeli prime minister entrusted Ms. Pelosi with no such message. "What was communicated to the U.S. House Speaker does not contain any change in the policies of Israel," said a statement quickly issued by the prime minister's office. ...
"We came in friendship, hope, and determined that the road to Damascus is a road to peace," Ms. Pelosi grandly declared.
Never mind that that statement is ludicrous: As any diplomat with knowledge of the region could have told Ms. Pelosi, Mr. Assad is a corrupt thug whose overriding priority at the moment is not peace with Israel but heading off U.N. charges that he orchestrated the murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri. The really striking development here is the attempt by a Democratic congressional leader to substitute her own foreign policy for that of a sitting Republican president.
Meanwhile, Pelosi's trip was further discredited by praise from a Hamas supporter: Carter backs Pelosi's trip, despite Bush's rebuke.
UPDATE III: More praise from the wrong sources, as reported by Ynet News: Terrorists endorse Pelosi's 'good policy of dialogue'.
Abu Abdullah, a leader of Hamas' military wing in the Gaza Strip, said the willingness by some lawmakers to talk with Syria "is proof of the importance of the resistance against the US. "The Americans know and understand they are losing in Iraq and the Middle East and that their only chance to survive is to reduce hostilities with Arab countries and with Islam. Islam is the new giant of the world," he said.
UPDATE IV -- April 9: A Union Leader editorial: Pelosi's diplomacy: She speaks only for herself.
Posted by Forkum at April 3, 2007 05:03 PM