Tuesday, August 15, 2006

In the face of Bush's lies, it's left to Assad to tell the truth

By Robert Fisk

"In the sparse Baathist drawing rooms of Damascus, reality often seems a long way away. But it was a sign of the times that President Bashar al-Assad was able to bring the great and the good of Damascus to their feet by the simple token of telling the truth - which no other Arab leader has chosen to do these past five weeks: that the Lebanese Hizbollah guerrilla army has, in effect, won this round of their war with Israel.

However, it is clear that President Assad now sees himself back at the centre of Arab power after his army's humiliating retreat from Lebanon last year. There was no more need for defeatism among Arabs, he said - a sentiment widely held in the real Arab world but quite absent from President Bush's fantasy Middle East.

The fact that Syria could bellow about the "achievements" of Hizbollah while avoiding the destruction of a blade of grass inside Syria suggests a cynicism that has yet to be grasped inside the Arab world. But for now, Syria has won."

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