Friday, March 5, 2010

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Persian Purim Summit in Damascus

by David Bedein

JERUSALEM - Purim festivities throughout Israel last week celebrated the defeat of a Persian politician who sought to rally the world to murder every Jew on earth and also to stifle the return of the Jews to Jerusalem 2400 years ago.

Middle East headlines of the past week seemed tailor-made for Purim, as the president of Iran - the modern day Persia - arrived in Damascus to meet with the president of Syria, and the secretary general of Hezbollah met on Thursday in Damascus with today’s Persian politician opening their summit with a declaration that he looked forward to “a Middle East with no more Jews.”

The meeting between Hezbollah Secretary General Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah and Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was one of the rare occasions that Mr. Nasrallah left one of the safe-houses he uses in Lebanon.

Mr. Nasrallah told the media that he began the meeting by outlining a number of scenarios in which Israel might begin an attack on Hezbollah.

He said he believed that the chances of that happening were slim, but noted, “We have to be ready and prepared for any possibility.”

Mr. Nasrallah and Mr. Ahmadinejad were joined by Syrian President Bashar Assad, who invited them to dinner in the palace.

The three leaders said that they discussed the level of Hezbollah’s readiness and military preparations, the ties with the Lebanese army and the level of training being given by the Iranians in Hezbollah training camps.

The Iranian president capitalized on his visit to the Syrian capital to meet with the leaders of the ten Palestinian factions that have offices in Damascus-the “rejectionist front”-first and foremost, Hamas Political Bureau Director Khaled Mashal.

A Hezbollah spokesman announced that Mr. Ahmadinejad gave everyone their own job in the event of a war with Israel: “Syria is ready for any attack by Israel, either large or small. It has a commitment for full Iranian backing and support.”

Abed Albari Atwan, the editor of the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi, described the summit meeting as a “war council.” “Not since the great wars against Israel,” he wrote, “has there been a meeting of this magnitude and of this power... This is Assad’s answer to Hillary Clinton’s demand of Syria, on the eve of Ahmadinejad’s visit, to weaken its ties with Iran.

Assad informed her, for all intents and purposes: I’ve given up on the American axis, which is a joke, in my opinion, and hasn’t given me anything. I have no intention of dismantling a 30-year-old strategic alliance with Iran. As far as I’m concerned, Syria can continue to live without an American ambassador in Damascus.”

See this story in the Philadelphia Bulletin
See this report at Israel Behind the News

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