Commerce Department unilaterally lifts some sanctions against Syria

Hezb'allah has an office right in the center of Damascus. Radical Palestinian terrorists have several training and base camps set up on its territory. And the President is closely allied with the Iranians.

Throw in the fact - now confirmed by the IAEA - that they were surreptitiously trying to build a nuclear reactor that Israel bombed out of existence and what do you have?

A terrorist state - Syria - that the US just dropped some sanctions against.

Claudia Rosette in Forbes:

News emerged this week that the U.S. Department of Commerce has just approved a license allowing Boeing (nyse: BA - news - people ) to go ahead with major overhauls of two 747 jetliners belonging to Syria's state-owned Syrian Arab Airlines. The administration itself has been coy on the subject. In response to my query, a Commerce spokesman e-mailed a statement that such license requests are granted on a case-by-case basis, and Commerce cannot comment on specific instances.

More eagerly, Syria's state news agency hustled out an announcement on Tuesday, Feb. 10, saying that the "U.S. Trade Department agrees to provide spare parts for rehabilitating Syrian Airlines."

Boeing spokesman Tim Neale confirmed to me by phone on Wednesday that while the request for a license had been pending since last summer, Commerce finally approved it on Feb. 2--which is to say, within the first two weeks of the Obama administration. The planes will be overhauled by a Saudi-based Boeing-Saudi joint venture, Alsalam Aircraft Co.

What kind of a fool gives something away without getting anything in return? We are dropping some sanctions against Syria not because of any change in the regime or any indication at all that they have changed their behavior but because, frankly, the appeasers in the State Department are so anxious to prove Bush wrong that they are willing to cater to terrorists.

You will recall Obama's inaugural speech where he said, "We will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist."Well, Baby Assad still has his fist balled up and is likely to hit US ally Lebanon with it unless someone puts the fear of God in him.

Not likely with this crew - which is why when Lebanon holds elections in June, the chances are very good that the friends of Syria will be able to buy, cheat, and threaten enough votes to win and take power from the moderate pro-western government of Prime Minister Siniora.

The disaster this would represent would be incalculable. Iran and Hezb'allah with their very own base to strike out at Israel and US interests in the region A solid bloc of Lebanon, Iran, and Syria with access to the Med and presenting Israel with a huge strategic problem . And all because the silly, stupid, Obama state department thinks that "change" is more important than hard headed, realistic action.

The Syrians are delighted, of course. They have turned the gesture into their own propaganda victory - as to be expected. It has strengthened Assad and dealt a blow to the few Syrian democrats not in jail. And it has probably terrified Lebanon who sees any rapproachment between Syria and the US - quite rightly  as a sell out of Lebanese democracy.

I will repeat: If I lived in the Middle East, I would get busy building a bomb shelter.


Hezb'allah has an office right in the center of Damascus. Radical Palestinian terrorists have several training and base camps set up on its territory. And the President is closely allied with the Iranians.

Throw in the fact - now confirmed by the IAEA - that they were surreptitiously trying to build a nuclear reactor that Israel bombed out of existence and what do you have?

A terrorist state - Syria - that the US just dropped some sanctions against.

Claudia Rosette in Forbes:

News emerged this week that the U.S. Department of Commerce has just approved a license allowing Boeing (nyse: BA - news - people ) to go ahead with major overhauls of two 747 jetliners belonging to Syria's state-owned Syrian Arab Airlines. The administration itself has been coy on the subject. In response to my query, a Commerce spokesman e-mailed a statement that such license requests are granted on a case-by-case basis, and Commerce cannot comment on specific instances.

More eagerly, Syria's state news agency hustled out an announcement on Tuesday, Feb. 10, saying that the "U.S. Trade Department agrees to provide spare parts for rehabilitating Syrian Airlines."

Boeing spokesman Tim Neale confirmed to me by phone on Wednesday that while the request for a license had been pending since last summer, Commerce finally approved it on Feb. 2--which is to say, within the first two weeks of the Obama administration. The planes will be overhauled by a Saudi-based Boeing-Saudi joint venture, Alsalam Aircraft Co.

What kind of a fool gives something away without getting anything in return? We are dropping some sanctions against Syria not because of any change in the regime or any indication at all that they have changed their behavior but because, frankly, the appeasers in the State Department are so anxious to prove Bush wrong that they are willing to cater to terrorists.

You will recall Obama's inaugural speech where he said, "We will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist."Well, Baby Assad still has his fist balled up and is likely to hit US ally Lebanon with it unless someone puts the fear of God in him.

Not likely with this crew - which is why when Lebanon holds elections in June, the chances are very good that the friends of Syria will be able to buy, cheat, and threaten enough votes to win and take power from the moderate pro-western government of Prime Minister Siniora.

The disaster this would represent would be incalculable. Iran and Hezb'allah with their very own base to strike out at Israel and US interests in the region A solid bloc of Lebanon, Iran, and Syria with access to the Med and presenting Israel with a huge strategic problem . And all because the silly, stupid, Obama state department thinks that "change" is more important than hard headed, realistic action.

The Syrians are delighted, of course. They have turned the gesture into their own propaganda victory - as to be expected. It has strengthened Assad and dealt a blow to the few Syrian democrats not in jail. And it has probably terrified Lebanon who sees any rapproachment between Syria and the US - quite rightly  as a sell out of Lebanese democracy.

I will repeat: If I lived in the Middle East, I would get busy building a bomb shelter.