- BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syria
has warned the United States it would be a "fatal mistake" to
make Iraq or any other Arab country a military target in its anti-terror
- The comments come a day after U.S. President George W.
Bush demanded that Iraq allow international arms inspections to resume,
saying Washington's war on terrorism also targeted those who made weapons
of mass destruction "to terrorise the world".
- It was the most explicit linkage yet of Iraq to the war
sparked by the September 11 attacks on U.S. cities and joined hints from
some U.S. policymakers that countries like Syria and Iraq could become
targets in Washington's campaign.
- Asked about Bush's comments on Iraq, Syrian Foreign
Farouq al-Shara said: "Threats to any Arab country are rejected, and
an attack on any Arab country is going to bring about endless
- "America knows this, Europe knows this, and I
it would be a fatal mistake to encroach on any Arab country."
- Shara was speaking to reporters in Beirut after a meeting
with Lebanon's president and prime minister, during which he said both
countries rejected Washington's definition of "terrorism"
the attacks on New York and Washington.
- Syria and Lebanon have both condemned the September 11
attacks, but say Washington's anti-terror war should not target Lebanon's
Hizbollah guerrillas and militant Palestinian factions, which they see
as staging legitimate resistance to Israel.
- Washington believes Hizbollah was behind the 1983 suicide
bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241 people, and
earlier this month added it to a list of "terrorist" groups
to stringent financial sanctions.
- Shara said Syria, which hosts militant Palestinian groups
that reject a negotiated peace with Israel, would stand firm on its
between "terrorism" and resistance.
- "What happened on September 11 is terrorism; what
happens against Israeli occupation is resistance," Shara said.
is something on which Syria, Lebanon and all Arab countries
- "Countries that don't (distinguish between
and terrorism) give political cover to real terrorists and give them a
sort of legitimacy," he said.
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