Syria: U.S. Relations and Bilateral Issues [Updated July 27, 2006]   [open pdf - 90KB]

"Since the outbreak of fighting between Israeli military forces and the militant Lebanese Shi'ite Hezbollah organization on July 12, 2006, U.S. officials have increased their criticism of Syria's political and logistical support for Hezbollah. On July 22, President Bush commented that '[f]or many years, Syria has been a primary sponsor of Hezbollah and it has helped provide Hezbollah with shipments of Iranian-made weapons.' Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, speaking to reporters on July 26, rejected comments that the United States and Syria lack diplomatic channels for communication, pointing out that there are existing diplomatic channels that can be used when Syrian leaders are ready to talk. A Syrian official, however, said 'Syria is not going to help while it is being isolated and President Bush is attacking Syria all the time.' She was quoted by Reuters News Wire on July 26 as saying that Syria should not be allowed to return to Lebanon and influence events there, and neither should Iran. Also, on July 26, Secretary Rice warned Syria and Iran not to 'torpedo' any attempts to stop the fighting between Hezbollah and Israeli forces and expressed the hope that the two countries would 'behave responsibly.' Meanwhile, news reports indicated that Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah met with Syrian President Bashar al-Asad on July 27, possibly to discuss resupply of Hezbollah."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL33487
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