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Bush-era regime remnants never give up

January 22nd, 2011 · 8 Comments · Writers' Hall of Shame

Richard Grenell, a man who calls himself “America’s longest serving spokesman at the UN”, has written a scrappy and misleading article for the Huffington Post, which deserves deconstruction.

Grenell is angry at Obama’s decision to send an ambassador to Syria. His argument is that it rewards Syria at a time when the country needs to be punished for supporting Hezbollah and Hamas. It’s a line we’ve heard time and time again from Israel’s apologists in Washington. But it fundamentally misunderstands the role of diplomacy.

Diplomats are sent around the world to feed information back to the US, and to communicate America’s policy to the host government. Ambassadors don’t exist as a present, to send to a foreign capital as a thank you gift. They act as America’s eyes and ears on the ground – they are needed in hostile countries more than they are in friendly states.

But that’s Grenell’s opinion. Fine. The real trouble with his HuffPo piece is the factual inaccuracies littering his writing. His point is that Syria is a bad country because it killed Rafiq Hariri.

UN investigators and foreign intelligence over the last several years, however, have consistently pointed to senior Syrian and Iranian officials’ involvement.

Well, no. They haven’t. In the Detlev Mehlis years of the UN investigation, Syria was widely blamed (I’m not aware of Iran being accused at all). But Mehlis relied on a number of false witnesses, who have now been thoroughly discredited. Syria seems to be off the hook, as far as the UN investigation is concerned.

The indictments that have been issued at the STL are widely thought to finger Hizbollah, not Syria.

Later, he makes statements that collapse on even a simple reading:

Irrefutable evidence compiled over the last six years proves that top officials in Iran, Syria and Hezbollah conspired to kill Hariri and the 22 others in order to gain greater control over Lebanon’s future.

What irrefutable evidence? From where? Give me quotes.

And really? Was Hariri killed to give “greater control over Lebanon’s future”? Well, if that’s the case, it completely backfired. Syria withdrew all its troops from Lebanon within weeks of the killing.

There’s more:

Although the initial UN probe in 2005 accused four pro-Syrian Lebanese generals of taking orders from neighboring Syria and Iran while working for the Lebanese military, the four were held for roughly four years but, sadly, never charged and eventually released.

Yes! Because there was no evidence to continue holding them.

The Obama team must now justify Syria’s continued support for Hezbollah and Hamas and its hatred for Israel.

I completely agree. It would be incredible if Obama would “justify” Syria’s “hatred” for Israel. He could make a speech telling the world that Syria hates Israel because Israel has been illegally occupying Syrian land for 44 years.

With the U.S. Ambassador already sitting in Damascus, little incentive remains for Syria’s cooperation.

The terms for Syria’s “cooperation” are simple: get Israel back to the negotiating table and start talking about the ongoing illegal occupation and breach of UN resolutions by the Tel Aviv regime. Until that happens, maybe the US should withdraw its ambassador to Tel Aviv, because Israel clearly doesn’t deserve such a “reward”.

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