Thus was posed the crucial question which was to underlie Middle East politics as the decade of the 1980s drew to a close: could Israel get its way without first dealing with Asad’s Syria?
…Asad strove to break out of the shackles of the damaging terrorist charge which he claimed in a fighting speech in May 1987, was designed to compel the Arabs to yield their territory and force Syria to renounce its role in the world.
‘They plotted against us in Lebanon, they plotted against us in an economic siege, and they plotted against us through the Muslim Brotherhood … Finally they came up with the idea of terrorism … Do we surrender, do these big powers frighten us? They do not!’
His resentment that Syria should be singled out was expressed later:
‘Had British policy really been against terrorism, Mrs Thatcher would have taken hasrsh measures against the Israelis who tried to kidnap a Nigerian minister in a coffin and who abducted [the dissident Israeli atomic technician] Vanunu.’
Put these quotes into perspective and into the right context. Now look at what is happening in Syria today, and draw your own conclusions.