Charles Krauthammer
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WASHINGTON -- Say what you will about Bashar Assad, dictator of Syria and perhaps the dimmest eye doctor ever produced by British medical schools, but subtle he is not. Since the huge street demonstrations against his occupation of Lebanon, three terror bombings have occurred there, all in heavily Christian, anti-Syrian neighborhoods. Only slightly less subtle was the nearly half-million-man Beirut rally demanding Syria's continued occupation staged by Syria's Lebanese client, Hezbollah, followed by the ``spontaneous'' demonstration Assad orchestrated for himself in Damascus.

     Then there is this week's public admission by a captured Hamas terrorist in Israel that he was trained in Syria. This is the first direct account of such active involvement by Syria, although everyone knows that the Palestinian terror groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad are headquartered in, and assisted by, Syria. Everyone also knows that Syria is abetting the terrorist insurgency in Iraq.

     Syria made its intentions unmistakable when Assad sent his prime minister to Tehran to declare an alliance with Iran when world pressure began to build on Damascus following the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.

     All this regional mischief-making is critical because we are at the dawn of an Arab Spring -- the first bloom of democracy in Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Palestine and throughout the greater Middle East -- and its emerging mortal enemy is a new axis of evil whose fulcrum is Syria. The axis stretches from Iran, the other remaining terror state in the region, to Syria to the local terror groups -- Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad -- that are bent on destabilizing Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and destroying both Lebanese independence and the current Israeli-Palestinian rapprochement.

     Iran is the senior partner of this axis of evil. Syria is the crucial middle party allowing a non-Arab state to reach into the heart of the Middle East. For example, Hezbollah receives its weapons from Iran, shipped through Syria. And Iranian Revolutionary Guards are stationed today in the Bekaa Valley, under Syrian protection.

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Charles Krauthammer

Charles Krauthammer is a 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner, 1984 National Magazine Award winner, and a columnist for The Washington Post since 1985.

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