April 04, 2003

Rummy/Syria Update Rumsfeld was again

Rummy/Syria Update

Rumsfeld was again asked about Syria at yesterday's Pentagon briefing:

Q: Have you seen any indications from Iran or Syria that they've heeded your warning, or are ignoring your warning? And please be as specific as possible. And Gen. Myers, your thoughts on progress on the friendly fire front. Is it better or worse this time around, or about what you expected?

Rumsfeld: I have no way of knowing what Iran's reaction was, but I have not seen anything recently on the part of Iran that was -- I don't know if you have, either -- that is terribly disturbing. We do -- we have seen that Syria is continuing to conduct itself the way it was prior to the time I said what I said.

Q: So what's next --

Rumsfeld: Oh, that's -- that's for others to decide.

Others? The President? Dick Cheney? Powell? I think Rummy was told by Bush via Condi to tone the Damascus talk down a notch or two.

UPDATE: The WaPo has a story up on Rummy and Syria.

Money quote:

"What Rumsfeld did was basically to deliver a shot across the bow of Syria and Iran in the heat of battle in Iraq," said Edward P. Djerejian, a former U.S. ambassador to Damascus who is now director of the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University. "He was looking at the progress of the war plan and expressed concern and nervousness about what was happening across the border." Djerejian described Rumsfeld's statement as "a preemptive public diplomacy strike at both countries" and not as a prelude to "what's next after Iraq."

Posted by Gregory at April 4, 2003 09:47 AM
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