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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 February 2005, 09:27 GMT
Iran-Syria alliance: Your views
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, left shakes hands with Syrian Prime Minister Mohammed Naji al-Otari, as Iran's Vice-President, Mohammad Reza Aref, stands at right
We discussed Lebanon and Syria in our global phone-in programme Talking Point.


Iran and Syria have pledged to form a "united front" against foreign threats as both countries face increasing pressure from the US.

"We are ready to help Syria on all grounds to confront threats," Iranian Vice-President Mohammad Reza Aref said after meeting Syrian PM Naji al-Otari.

The US has accused Tehran of seeking nuclear weapons and has withdrawn its ambassador to Damascus.

US tensions with Syria increased following the killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri last week, although Washington has not directly accused Damascus of responsibility.

What do you think about the pact between Syria and Iran? How serious is the rift with the US?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.


The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

What is really going on is just a manoeuvre to oblige the Syrians to go through peace talks with Israel
Abu-Haider, Bahrain

What is really going on is just a manoeuvre to oblige the Syrians to go through peace talks with Israel. This is where the US sees it is now time for, as a final settlement in the region. Iran is also part of the game where gestures of intimacy are readable in all American messages and threats.
Abu-Haider, Bahrain

I am an Iranian American who hoped after September 11 that America would begin to find the root of anger in that part of the world. So far the story that this administration shows along with the media's help is not the right one.
Saedeh, Los Angeles, USA

From BBCArabic.com: The Syrian people still can't - or don't dare - face up to reality. Syria is isolated, its economy down, and unemployment skyrocketing. Secret police are everywhere and all sources are controlled by a specific group of people. President Assad is moving from isolation to more isolation, while his state doesn't have enough leverage, save for the rhetoric.
Mussa Salim, Oman

From BBCArabic.com: The Iran-Syria declaration would help Syria much to stand in the face of the US hegemony. Iran today is not like Iran of 1979. All Muslims, especially Shias will stand by this alliance. We hope it would succeed to serve as an example of defiance against the US. Some Arab and Muslim leaders have already given in - they make a point to keep on the good side of America and not to risk its displeasure.
Mohamed Sabri, Amman, Jordan

From BBCArabic.com: I think the Syria-Iran declaration is a rather positive development, though it won't thwart the American threats towards both countries. America is ignoring the whole world, just as it did in Iraq. As an Arab and Muslim nation, we ought to unite to be able to limit these threats, or America will take us one by one.
Imad Darmoush, Yemen

From BBCArabic.com:I reckon Syria and Iran will lead their peoples to ruin, just as it has been the case in Iraq. I frankly wish that to happen, as both these states have played their act in destroying Iraq and financing terror.
Issam, Baghdad

My only hope is that a few other countries join
Aneel Chowdhary, Canada
The only way for militarily weaker countries to be able to defend themselves against the kind of madness that the US unleashed upon Iraq is to form such alliances. My only hope is that a few other countries join. This is the only deterrent left against the US, who can destroy the world 13 times over with its own nuclear arsenal but wishes to rid the rest of the world of WMDs to make it safer. If Iran was pursuing nuclear weapons, honestly with an enemy like the US, can you blame them?
Aneel Chowdhary, Calgary, Canada

I think this alliance is amusing at best. The US military could topple both governments simultaneously if it wished. If it comes down to it the US can make those governments obey for fear of regime change. The US does not have to stay to rebuild, it has no obligation to do so. So, for all of the entertaining comments posted on this page remember that war does not require the conquering nation to build the defeated back up.
Brian Quinn, Pittsburgh, US

So what if Iran and Syria have an alliance, how many alliances does the United States have for self serving purposes? This threat is just a smokescreen for the Bush administration to distract the public. Why is it this country's priority to police the entire world when we don't even feed our own children?
Mariah, Michigan, USA

Please note this so-called "united front" is built to protect dictators and not the oppressed people in these two countries. After the fall of Saddam, the most murderous regimes in the Middle East, Iran and Syria, have realized that their days are numbered. These unelected rulers are well aware that they cannot sustain any pressure from outside because of their nearly zero popularity among their own nations.
Mahmoud Kermani, London, Canada (Iranian)

Our weapons do not make us the standard bearer
George Laposaly, Warenton, VA
If Syria and Iran would allow the US to control their countries and follow the dictates of Washington then life would be grand. We in the US assume that all peoples should follow our form of government and do as we do. This is a big world and the US is only a small part of it. Our weapons do not make us the standard bearer and other nations have rights just as we do. Who can blame Syria and Iran? If the shoe was on the other foot the US would do the same.
George Laposaly, Warenton, VA

All you Western apologists should be expelled en masse to live in Iran and Syria since you all seem to prefer Sharia law and intolerance over your individual freedoms. It is time the decent West (obviously does not include old Europe) denounce you as traitors to liberty and human rights.
S Lofagus

The USA is an international bully. The best way to deal with bullies is to gang up against them. Good for Iran and Syria. More nations should join their anti-bully club.
Des Currie, Umdloti, South Africa

To Des Currie, Umdloti, South Africa : Yes we're the "international bully". You're right. You don't see Syria "occupying" another country... oops, sorry, forgot about Lebanon. At least you don't see Iran bullying the Middle East with nuclear weap... oops... forgot they are. OK you go ahead and cheer Syria and Iran (with proven links to terrorists over the years) and the ongoing wave of violence these countries bring about.
Anon

Of course they have an alliance. Syria and Iran have been the greatest supporters for terrorism for at least the last 20 years. Iran wants the big one so terrorists will have a better weapon to attack civilians with.
Rafik, USA

The US and UK have an alliance and used it to invade Iraq on evidence that proved bogus. So we are the only ones that can have allies? Both Syria and Iran share borders with Iraq. Both Bush and the Israelis want a pipeline opened through Syria now we have control of Iraq's oil. Those of us who were paying attention in the US feared Bush would find an excuse to aid Israel in this. Bush withdrew our ambassador to Syria over the killing in Lebanon without any proof Syria was involved, but I am sure he will 'find' some.
KC, USA

We pushed them to do so with our double standards
Sami, Kansas City, USA

I think Iran and Syria have every right to do so because we pushed them to do so with our double standards allowing Israel to do what it wants. Look at the history books and learn Mr Bush - countries have pride and they have every right to protect themselves and it does not make them bad because they disagree with you.
Sami, Kansas City, USA

Iran and Syria have a right to form such pacts, and, honestly, they seem like logical entities for a coupling. How serious is the rift? Iranians have been chanting "Death to America" for decades. I don't see how the rift is any worse today than it was before I was born. What I can't stomach is the irrational demonisation of my country in this and other forums.

I don't support Bush at all - but I can't stomach the hate that's being directed at America. If so many of you truly believe that Iran and Syria represent equality, freedom of choice, and freedom of expression, and America represents nothing but misery and deserves nothing but its own destruction, then the world is already lost.
Christian Helbling, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Or that people here are actually siding with these two despotic countries against one of the world's oldest democracies
Jonathan, Pittsburgh

Nice to see charter and junior members of the Axis of Evil painting targets on their backs. I'm not sure what is more amusing - that Syria and Iran actually formed the alliance that many American policy makers have been predicting for years over the predictions of the naysayers, or that people here are actually siding with these two despotic countries against one of the world's oldest democracies.
Jonathan, Pittsburgh

I'm not at all surprised at their alliance. I'm thoroughly disgusted at how my country has conducted themselves in foreign affairs. We point the finger at countries running nuclear programs, but look at the defence programs we sponsor. Wake up Americans! This administration isn't protecting us from terrorism - they are putting us in the crosshairs of danger. I've been a faithful servant of this country, but I'm getting my purse and leaving!
AB, USA

The United States will have to reinstate the draft if they want to take Iran.
Darren, Canada

Personally, I'm not surprised the countries of Egypt and the Saudi Kingdom have not joined the Iranian-Syrian pact. In President Bush's inaugural address, he hinted at undermining Middle Eastern states that currently are not standardized in the sense of democracy.
JB, Austin, Texas

If you consider economic activity, frank speech, and withdrawing an ambassador bullying you have misaligned standards
Mike, Atlanta, USA

I'm totally disgusted by the accusations of bullying. We are discussing withdrawing our ambassador, and economic action against Syria, not invading. Isn't that exactly what we're supposed to do? Otherwise one is left with making a lot of noise and complaining about something, but not backing it up with anything that is significant to the nation against which one is complaining. If you consider economic activity, frank speech, and withdrawing an ambassador bullying you have misaligned standards.
Mike, Atlanta, GA, USA

Syria had no interest to kill Hariri at this moment since the majority in Lebanon want the Syrians to stay to help confront threats from Israel.
Hassan, Lebanon

As the US becomes more strident about imposing its form of democracy on the rest of the world, they can expect more countries to form alliances against it.
William Burt, Melbourne, Australia

I think the pact is strategically a brilliant move. It will be interesting to see what other bedfellows are created in the wake of Bush's disastrous and lamentable foreign policy. I only pray that the rifts created by the Bush administration can be closed by sound, reasonable, and peaceful international relations once his regime ends.
Michael, Madison, USA

For Iran and Syria this alliance makes sense. They both are under scrutiny of the US and they know it. But, I believe the time has come for the international community to stand up to all the rhetoric coming from the Iranian theocracy and silence it before they possess the ultimate terror weapon - nuclear weapons. The world cannot afford to allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. I just hope the other European nations, other than the UK, will grow up and face the realities facing the world and deal with them before we have another disaster on our hands.
Larry, Washington, DC

The latest developments are nothing more than manoeuvring by both sides
Tony Hiller, Syracuse, USA
The USA hasn't the spare forces to do so, nor is there enough political support at home for a second war. The latest developments are nothing more than manoeuvring by both sides. Curiously, several comments from the UK pointed out that Blair has an election coming up and supporting the US and Bush will lose him votes. - I would urge those that feel animosity towards Bush and Blair to recognize that Blair did what he did to preserve the strength of the alliance. The US British alliance is more important than either Bush or Blair and will be going strong after both men have left office.
Tony Hiller, Syracuse, NY, USA

Well the first thing that comes to mind is that if half the people talking about Iran and Syria ever travelled there? How would they know if their governments are corrupt? I'm a Iranian and I'll tell you this much we live in peace and are very happy. Of course we have problems just like the rest of the world. I love my country, if any one threatens it I will defend it with my life.
Amin Shamloo, Edmonton (Iranian)

I have no problem with Iran-Iraq alliance or with nuclear weapons for Iran. US, Israel, UK and France have nuclear weapons to defend themselves and I see no reason why Iran shouldn't have the right to defend itself. Relations with these two countries are a US problem not an international problem.
N Gilbert, Paris, France

We are not talking about the weapons that were used in World War II here. We are now looking at weapons that could damage, or worst, destroy all of us! Now is not the time for rhetoric and threats, but diplomacy and talks. If there is another world war or invasion, in the long run, no one would win. Today's weapons are just too powerful. I hope, that before world leaders enter into another conflict, they will consider the effects these new weapons would have upon future generations that may survive, on either side.
Anon

If people around the world wish to preserve some semblance of the freedoms previously possible in the USA, UK, Germany, France and other industrialized nations; they need to start backing anyone and everyone who poses a threat to the current US administration/legislative government.
Jane Marie Palmer, Ukiah, CA, USA

Every country has a right to protect themselves
Korrina, Australia

I believe every country has a right to protect themselves and in this case Iran and Syria. Power should not be dealt by one country or empire alone. History has shown the bigger you are the harder you will eventually fall.
Korrina, Australia

The Iranians and Syrians are getting prepared and who would blame them. As per usual, instead of constructive negotiation, the US proceeds to have a verbal war with enemies that won't have any problems justifying defending themselves and who, whatever the outcome, will proclaim themselves victims. A new dawn in US foreign policy? No. Same oul' so-so.
Jason Robinson, Dublin, Ireland

An alliance between these two rogue regimes at odds with the sane world and especially their own people is not surprising. What is surprising is that many here naively welcome it in blind opposition to the US, stupidly hoping these countries succeed and even get the nuclear weapons they're after. When that day comes, we'll see who's suddenly a friend of the US again.
Sean, Norman, OK, USA

Why are Iran and Syria so scared that they have to form an alliance?
Ryan, New Orleans, USA

Why are Iran and Syria so scared that they have to form an alliance? You don't see any other Middle Eastern countries joining them, and you don't hear the US making as much of a fuss over too many other countries in the Middle East. So what's Iran and Syria got to hide, I wonder.
Ryan, New Orleans, USA

Support for Islamic Fundamentalism needs to be put in check by western nations. The US and Europe should ensure that politicians in countries that politicise issues based on principles of fundamentalism understand that they are on a path that will lead them to lose all their powers and potentially spend the rest of their lives behind bars like Saddam Hussein.
Ali Shahid, Saint Louis, USA

Iran and Syria, two authoritarian corrupt states, are protecting each other since they don't have their people behind them. An invitation should be sent out to North Korea. America is on the right track.
Peiman Irani, Vancouver, Canada

The pact between Syria and Iran is a good thing for peace. I hope some other big nations join in too, for example, China and Russia. After all, someone has to stop the UK/US alliance. The US is the biggest threat to world peace since.... God knows when!
Pete, London, UK

Obviously a lot of people have forgotten 9/11. I'm not the over-patriotic type that waves the flag, but I do realize the importance to protect the US if not the world from terrorism. I realize that the US has acted badly in the past, but to let countries that sponsor terrorism develop nuclear programs just doesn't sound like a smart thing to do.

I voted for Kerry in the election (like it would have made a difference) just to help relations with the rest of the world, but I would bet he wouldn't let a situation like this pass without a second glance. Just remember the US is held responsible for every action it commits to, and terrorists are not the easiest to blame, as we saw from Iraq.
Robert Meaney, Houston, TX

The elections in Iraq, contrary to common belief are a threat to Israeli and American interests in the Middle East. People who view this election as a success for America are wrong. To balance out the geopolitical power in that region, some modifications have to be made. Namely, the removal of different buffer zones and spheres of influence, which in this case is Lebanon.
Kaveh, Tehran, Iran

I certainly hope this alliance doesn't provoke the US as there is nothing I want more than for the US to return to its isolationist past
Ari, Atlanta, USA

I certainly hope this alliance doesn't provoke the US as there is nothing I want more than for the US to return to its isolationist past. Let the Europeans dominate the globe, as has always been their desire, perhaps this time they won't plunge the globe into any further world wars.

Just remember Europe, all that which you complain about in the US is a direct by-product of your own inadequacies. Europe was incapable of dealing with the Kaiser, incapable of dealing with Hitler and begged for assistance in dealing with the communists for 50 years. Now they beg for Americans to buy their products, to prop up their economies with their high levels of unemployment.
Ari, Atlanta, GA, USA

I think the pact is an important one although it sounds to be an extremely evil act between the two countries. It is about time that someone in the Arab world and the Middle East stood up to unchecked American hostilities in the region even if the rift is a big rift it has more global implications.

The US has gone unchecked for a long time now and the international community has to come together to re-enforce international law meaning implying the law on all counties. This means that if US wants Syria to comply with the UN resolutions then so must Israel. Everything has to work both ways.
Ramzi, Amman, Jordan

Why should Iran not protect itself by having a nuclear weapon? US and UK are not even thinking of bullying North Korea which certainly has a much more nasty regime than Syria, Iran and previously in Iraq? Is it safer to accept that the only country who used the nukes on civilian population should have several hundreds of them?

The policies of bullying are wrong... we have marched many times to claim this and now maybe the warmongers in the US and the UK will start to see that dropping bombs does not bring peace. It is not the American people that are wrong, it is the neo-cons who seek to achieve the hegemony of the world under their rule.
Lilian Levesque, London, UK

If we can have coalitions than surely Syria and Iran has every right to do the same.
Scott Peck, Tucson, AZ

I never thought I'd be happy to see the day but I am. Why? America needs to be told that they don't rule the world. Come on the EU; please join them!
Al, Essex

About half the people writing in here seem not to have a problem with Iran getting nuclear weapons, but also actually rooting for it. Makes a lot of sense. If the US is the only country in the world willing to stop it, so be it. Call us bullies all day long, just keep nukes out of Iran's hands.
Michael, Chicago, IL, USA

I am tired of falsely being made the bad guy. While I don't agree with Bush 100%, certain things need to be done to protect a certain way of life. You deal with problems when they start, not when they are threatening..
Joseph Wojciechowski, New Jersey, USA

Syria and Iran being dictatorships are threatened by the successful elections in Iraq
Randy, Tennessee, USA
Syria and Iran being dictatorships are threatened by the successful elections in Iraq. This alliance is a desperate attempt to convince their own people of an external threat so they will not notice the growing prosperity and democracy in Iraq.
Randy, Tennessee, USA

I'm not impressed really. We've heard grand pronouncements of this sort before in the Arab world, and more often than not they come to nothing in the end. Without the Soviet Union to hold them together, they will be back to bickering amongst themselves in no time. I think that Iran's people will eventually overturn their rotten regime with no help from us, but Syria might just end up as the North Korea of the Middle East.
Zach Smith, Bloomington, IN USA

Again, the Americans try to force their own will on the rest of the world. For goodness sake America, mind your own business!!
Chris M, Edinburgh, Scotland

Rafik Hariri was assassinated and Syria and Iran have allied with each other, my question is who cares? If these countries want to become "friends" then let them do so as long as they aren't hindering my life. Besides didn't Europe and the US ally with each other to counter the Soviet threat during the cold war? This is just another case of things getting blown our of proportion and the Bush propaganda machine gearing up for more war.
Alan, Washington DC, USA

Oh no! Not Syria and Iran! Run away! Next thing you know, Greenland will join the alliance and throw its military juggernaut into the mix.
Shane Watts, USA

Two terror sponsoring regimes have an alliance what is so new about it? Undemocratic ayatollah's government and Syrian Baathist regime - if they did not have an alliance that would be real news.
Regina Epshteyn, London, UK

The policy towards 'axis of evil' countries is more uneven-handed than ever
Daniel, New York
Only last week the Bush administration was putting on a new face with Ms Rice tramping around Europe with smiles. How long did we think that would last? Bully tactics are nothing new. The policy towards 'axis of evil' countries is more uneven-handed than ever.
Daniel, New York

Iran Syria alliance will be more effective in the future if it becomes Iran, Iraq and Syria alliance, the road map in that Shia part of the world seems to be heading that way. The danger will become more clear as these forces unite with common objectives that will be a threat to Israel and the US interests.
Ahmad Hmoud, Jordan

I think it is logical for Syria and Iran to form an alliance when they are both facing imminent threat from a madman at the helm of affairs in the most powerful nation on earth!!
Shashi Rao, Princeton, USA

President Bush will bring peace to the world by squandering US military power in a war it cannot win.
Thomas , CT, USA

A tricky moment for Tony Blair is approaching. Does he back the USA on this if there is a military intervention or not, with an election imminent?
Karl Mabert, Beckenham, England

I think they have a right to defend their borders against American aggression, I hope things will resolve peacefully, but if Americans have their way.....And by the way, since when is English the main language in Beirut?? All the protestors were carrying signs in English. Is there American influence to stir up things??
Erik R, Groningen, NL

If Tony Blair sides with America this time - my vote will definitely go elsewhere.
Shaun Stoker , Edinburgh

It's a paper tiger alliance. Syria is so militarily weak the alliance amounts to nothing.
Dan, London

Keep your eyes on the ball...whoops where's it gone now? A magnificent attempt by the US spin doctors to draw the world into a new perceived threat and then hopefully forget the ongoing disaster in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Martin Phillips, Oxford, UK

Economic sanctions will surely play into the hands of the militants
Geoff Payne, London, England
Left to their own devices, the UK, France and Germany would be making good progress in improving relations with Syria and Iraq. The US on the other hand is undermining their good work and appears to be spoiling for a fight. But they are in no position to do so, now they are bogged down in Iraq at great expense, and would have few allies if they did.

So what are they thinking of? Economic sanctions will surely play into the hands of the militants and improve the prestige of Syria and Iran in the Islamic world. The European approach is the only sensible course of action to take.
Geoff Payne, London, England

The US may be throwing its weight around in the world today, but to call crazy states such as Iran and Syria "democratic" just plain silly.
David , Canada

An irrelevance! Iran is in no position to assist Syria, and it is doubtful that Syria would even welcome their support. We're in for interesting times.
Mark M. Newdick, US/UK

This alliance is great opportunity for other self-respecting nations i.e., India, Russia and China in particular to form a common front against this Anglo-American imperialism. We need alternative power structure to challenge this menace.
Bikram, Canada

As Ms. Rice said in front of congress that it is not clear who killed Mr. Hariri, how can the US blame Syria for his assassination?
Lisa, NJ, US

The Iran-Syrian entente is just the tip of the iceberg. The president's own hand-picked director of the CIA recently testified before congress that Iraq now represents the world's most dangerous breeding ground for anti-western terrorism. It would appear that this new "Crusade" we have decided to sponsor against the Islamic world will be as successful as its original counterpart.
Rpy Scott King, Austin, TX

Middle East isn't the property of US. Therefore Syria and Iran both being democratic nations has full right to come together for their nations' personal security.
Shib Sen Chowdhuri, Calcutta, India

Iran Syria alliance is a problem for the international community, not just America's problem. These two countries have done everything in their power, to halt Middle East progress, going back to the early 1960's. This has nothing to do with 9/11.
Ralph Kimball, USA

After the illegal attack on Iraq, this is a realistic response to a real threat to world peace
John, Hemel Hempstead, UK
After the illegal attack on Iraq, this is a realistic response to a real threat to world peace. Hopefully more countries will join this alliance. If enough do it might make America think twice before it attacks yet another country and kills tens of thousands more civilians.
John, Hemel Hempstead, UK

Obviously these two states have missed the point completely. They have a responsibility not to the US but to the international community to stop supporting terror and in the case of Iran, discontinue enriching uranium to make nuclear weapons.
Mike, CT, USA

Following Iraq and the WMD fiasco, The US has absolutely no credibility to support any accusation whether true or false against any other sovereign state. It's about time Mr Bush understood that winning a US election doesn't give him the right to enforce his administration's doctrine on others. Anyway how many nuclear weapons programmes are currently running in the US?
Munsel, Citizen of a non-aligned country

If this alliance was intended to intimidate the US, then they have picked the wrong President. Bush will see this as a challenge and will not allow himself to be seen backing down. There may be trouble ahead.
Lee Spence, Kufstein, Austria

I wouldn't be surprised if China joins the alliance. After all, US and UK should have expected getting counter-rivals.
George Blair, Liverpool, England

I think the USA is at its best being a world's bully, who is taking advantage of Rafik Hariri's assassination as an excuse to put more pressure on Syria, deliberately withdrawing its ambassador to pressure Syria into obeying. Same old tactics of Bush administration.
A Knight, New York, USA




SEE ALSO
US increases pressure on Damascus
17 Feb 05 |  Middle East
Iran to aid Syria against threats
16 Feb 05 |  Middle East

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