American Relations with Syria: Point of No Return?

Since the invasion of Iraq, American-Syrian relations have worsened dramatically; harsh Syrian rhetoric was countered by vehement American accusations of assistance to Iraqi insurgents. Washington slapped sanctions on Damascus for supporting ‘terrorism’, and even rashly allowed Israel to strike targets within Syria, after thirty years of relative calm. Has Syria properly handled unreasonable American-Israeli pressure? Or has it ultimately achieved its own isolation by alienating powerful friends with risky meddling in Lebanon?

The World Today Published 1 November 2004 Updated 19 October 2020 6 minute READ

Rime Allaf

Describing United States-Syrian relations as tepid is an understatement at the best of times, and even a misstatement when the volatile relationship seems to have reached the point of no return.

Things were much more pleasant in the nineties, a decade most Syrians remember rather fondly. Having chosen to oppose Iraq – while the world mostly supported it – after it launched an eight-year war on Iran, embroiled in a difficult Lebanese civil war and fighting an internal Islamic insurgency, Syria lived the eighties like a recluse, its economy crumbling and its people suffocating.

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