Syria Warns US It Would Be A
'Fatal Mistake' To Strike Iraq

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 campaign.
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 Minister Farouq al-Shara said: "Threats to any Arab country are rejected, and an attack on any Arab country is going to bring about endless problems."
"America knows this, Europe knows this, and I believe 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" following 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 subject to stringent financial sanctions.
Shara said Syria, which hosts militant Palestinian groups that reject a negotiated peace with Israel, would stand firm on its distinction between "terrorism" and resistance.
"What happened on September 11 is terrorism; what happens against Israeli occupation is resistance," Shara said. "That is something on which Syria, Lebanon and all Arab countries agree."
"Countries that don't (distinguish between resistance and terrorism) give political cover to real terrorists and give them a sort of legitimacy," he said.
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