In his July 18 recommended diary, “Syria: The Next Cambodia?,” Steven D warns of U.S. talk about “regime change” in Syria and its plans to defend against a hyped Sunni counterinsurgency to be launched from Syria. This morning, Al Jazeera reports:

Syria says US forces fired on troops

Syria has said its border troops have been fired on by US and Iraqi forces and accused Washington, London and Baghdad of a lack of cooperation in preventing fighters infiltrating into Iraq.

It was the first time Syria, which has a 600 km desert border with Iraq, had reported cases of US troops firing on its forces. […]

US officials accuse Syria of not doing enough to stop the fighters from crossing into Iraq to fight US …

Amarji – A Heretic’s Blog, a Syrian blogger, writes: “[T]he Syrian regime is currently trying to acquire some new cards to play with and avoid reaching the Breaking Point: the chaos in Iraq and the Islamist specter, two things that Syrians simply don’t want to see in their country — including the “mayhem card as the assassinations in Lebanon are showing.”

Of note: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made a surprise visit to Lebanon this morning., linked by Amarji, blogs that “[Syrian president] Asad Knows What He is Doing,” and argues strenuously that the U.S. should listen to Europe’s views on Syria. More below:

… I have argued consistently that Bashar’s regime has staying power and will be ruling Damascus in six years, long after President Bush has returned to Texas and Washington has forgotten Syria and “Reforming the Greater Middle East”. […]

[Joseph Braude, in the New Republic] wants to blame Europe for being stupid, naive, or invidious in its support for Bashar’s reformism and by going after Syrian contracts. […]

This time around [unlike Iraq] Washington must listen to Europe, and Europe is saying loud and clear: “Bashar is our best bet.”

{T]he Syrian opposition … is not ready to do any heavy lifting and is in complete disarray. … is written by Joshua Landis, an Asst. Prof. of History at the University of Oklahoma. Prof. Landis also provides a complete copy of the New Republic article he critiques.

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