‘Coordinated non-touch dancing’

Barack Obama has decided to renew economic sanctions against Syria, describing it as continuing to pose ‘a continuing unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States’. His policy of engagement with Syria seems to be stalled, with Assad making few moves towards a warmer relationship and criticism mounting in America at any signs of rapprochement, such as the outcry over Obama’s proposed ambassador to Damascus. Despite Syria’s strategic importance, the Obama administration seems committed to a policy of isolation, as Damascus’s ties with Iran and Hizbollah show no sign of weakening. Tensions were recently ratcheted up even further by allegations that Syria had transferred Scud missiles to Hizbollah. One Syrian analyst described the US-Syria relationship as ‘coordinated non-touch dancing’, and it is unlikely that this will improve any time soon, given the domestic criticism faced by Obama, the Israeli-Palestinian impasse, and Syria’s warm relations with some of America’s betes noires. Joshua Landis points out that fundamental US incomprehension of the Syrian position will also prevent cooperation – neither Obama nor Clinton see the occupation of the Golan Heights as significant, and are effectively asking Syria to give them up. Furthermore, in a view marked by its ‘inverted logic’, they see Syria as posing a direct threat to Israel, when in fact it is Israel who are better armed and enjoy ‘military hegemony’.

The Syrian government has, unsurprisingly, denounced the renewal of sanctions, claiming it keeps the region ‘in a state of hostility’. None of this comes as a shock to Syria, given that the situation has been gradually worsening for months, yet they are still ‘disappointed’ at the news.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

One response to “‘Coordinated non-touch dancing’

  1. Good post. That is quite an image: “non-touch” dancing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s