By Greg Palast
The New York Times today reported that, at the meeting of nations on the Mideast’s future held in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt, Syrian foreign minister Farouk al-Sharaa criticized the US occupation of Iraq. In comments made Tuesday, the Syrian denounced the US attack on Fallujah in which Sunni civilians died and mosque minarets were toppled by American forces.
Reached today by phone, the Syrian spokesman elaborated on his objections to US actions in Iraq. Allowing some civilians to escape Fallujah was a precedent that concerned the Syrian. The foreign minister noted that, in Februrary 1982, his nation’s military attacked the Sunni stronghold of Hama and successfully slaughtered 20,000 civilians, leaving almost no buildings standing.
Al-Sharaa also disapproved of the US setting timetables for elections in Iraq and promising to remove occupation forces at some date in the future. He noted that, by contrast, his nation’s leaders would never permit holding elections nor consider ending Syria’s military occupation of Lebanon.
Correction: After re-checking my records, it appears that the Syrian minister did not, in fact, speak with me.