A Zionist Friendly, Right-Wing Texas Islamist to Lead Syria?
by Franklin Lamb
DAMASCUS -- For the past year, a plan C or D, depending on how one numbers the failed
US-Israel projects in Syria was badly needed for those presuming to topple the Assad
And this week, according to Congressional staffers, both Tel Aviv and the White House
are pinching themselves in disbelief over their good luck with installing republican
leaning conservative Dixie businessman, the congenial, Ghassan Hitto, as Syria's new
interim Prime Minister.
Securing the key position for Mr. Hitto, a decision made last year, was not so easy and
had to be approached gingerly. But finally, after weeks of sometimes intense debate
within Syrian opposition circles, Washington, Ankara, Doha and Tel Aviv among others,
managed to appoint their preferred guy. "The White House thought Hitto was the best of
a bad lot", one Congressional committee source, whose work load includes Syria,
explained to this observer. "Bottom line, he's an American, nearly thirty years here
makes Ghassan one of us. And who cares if he came here as young man to dodge military
service in Syria. Many of us dodged our draft during Vietnam and what's important is
that we can count of him!"
And just as some Americans were beginning to believe that our government may be
afflicted with a congenital incapacity to learn from our past mistakes, installing
Hitto, "should keep hope alive and we should not give up", according to our
Ambassador in Beirut, Maury Connelly. "Look what we achieved in Libya" she lectured a
visiting delegation recently. After the meeting, one participant deadpanned, "Good
lord! If that woman had not been Jeff Feltman's office favorite for whatever reason, she
might still be serving coffee to State Department visitors at 2201 C St NW, Washington,
DC!" Having quoted that snide comment, Maury, dear readers, is reputed to be a lovely
lady. Just ask her frequent visitor, Samir Geagea of the Lebanese Forces, who is reputed
to be her special confident these days.
One recalls how Washington installed nearly one dozen Libya ex-pats during the uprising
just as the NATO no-fly zone was being launched. Most of them knew foreign countries
better than their birth country and some needed to get their hands on a US supplied
"non-lethal weapon" i.e. a GPS and a National Geographic map to find the places in west
Libya which they were meant to govern. Not to drop names, but in late June 2011, Saif
el-Islam, now locked up in Zintan west of Tripoli, told this observer, referring to the
influx into Benghazi and Misrata of "Team USA-UK" as Saif referred to those NATO chose
to form an alternative government so they could be recognized quick as the "sole
legitimate government"of Libya, "Franklin, you know Libya better than these foreigners
Mr. Hitto's "election" solves several immediate Syria problems for the White House. Or
so they are hoping. At minimum, Hitto will be an American 'potted plant' who can be
recognized and around whom NATO can corral an implant some of the desperate factions
vying for power. Ghassan appears willing to take orders and is now involved in a
crash-course to learn what he needs to know about Syria and how to implement the game
plan. One congressional aide who helped vet Mr. Hitto clams he has "spunk and can be
tough. And we think he will play ball."
One proposal that Hitto has reportedly agreed to is the Dennis Ross/AIPAC idea for a
"political isolation law." If adapted by the Hitto provisional government, this decree
would ban nearly the whole ruling class in Syria from having any role in government. Its
intension is to eliminate anyone who worked with either the Hafez or Bashar Assad
regimen from 1970 until today. "We need a clean break in Syria", Ross reportedly told
fellow conferees at the recent AIPAC convention.
Washington has also encouraged Hitto to reject dialogue with the Government of Syria
because neocons in Congress are insisting that "negotiations" with the Assad government
will drag on interminably and allow the current regime to eradicate pockets of
resistance and bring in more help from Russia and Iran. Citing negotiations with Iran,
Arizona Senator John McCain recently told Fox News that "if you try to negotiate with
these people (Iran's government) you will lose. And we did. We need action!" Some in
Congress are telling the White House that the same is true with the Syrian government
and it appears Mr. Hitto agrees that dialogue is a bad thing. . . .
It appears Washington, Doha and Tel Aviv has got their man in place. What the Syrian
people will think of their selection will likely be known soon.
Franklin Lamb is doing research in Lebanon and Syria and can be reached c/o firstname.lastname@example.org
Gen. Wesley Clark, Commonwealth Club, October 3, 2007
[It has grown to include more than 160 military cargo flights by Jordanian,
Saudi and Qatari military-style cargo planes landing at Esenboga Airport near Ankara,
and, to a lesser degree, at other Turkish and Jordanian airports.--C J Chivers and Eric
Schmitt, "Arms Airlift to Syrian Rebels Expands, With C.I.A.
Aid," nytimes.com, March 24, 2012]