By Sami Moubayed
Until a proper explanation comes out of the US, it is safe to assume that there are people in the outgoing US administration who are angry with the moderate behavior Syria has shown in the past seven months, and want it to change course towards radicalization. Logic says that radicals cannot deal with moderates; it makes them uneasy.
When Israeli leader Ariel Sharon, a radical, was confronted with Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat carrying a an olive branch, this made the Israeli premier uneasy as he would have rather dealt with someone like Hamas political chief Khaled Meshaal, another radical, who wanted confrontation with Israel.
Likewise, the Americans were pleased at the rejectionist policies of Syria in 2003-2005, using them to push for more sanctions, confrontation and possibly regime change in Syria. When Syria cooperated on Iraq and Lebanon, the radicals in the US administration felt that they could no longer make proper arguments against Syria. They were worried that the State Department was engaging the Syrians over Iraq and indirect peace talks with Israel. To bring all of that to a halt, they fabricated the Abu Ghadiyah story, attacked Syria, wanting Syria to retaliate with more radicalization, which would lead to confrontation.
So far, the Syrian response has been symbolic, through protests by hundreds of thousands of people on October 30, and closure of the American school, and substantive, through the severing of diplomatic relations with Iraq, but not with the United States - the Syrians are betting on Democratic Senator Barack Obama as the next president [COMMENT: What else do you expect of the Rabbit Punching Bag?] . "