Photo Nancy Pelosi and Syrian President Assad, 2007: Pelosi traveled to Syria where she sat down with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad to discuss the Iraq war. Assad's government was, at the time, actively supporting the insurgency in Iraq, funneling foreign fighters and equipment into the "Sunni Triangle" with the purpose of killing American men and women. "We came in friendship, hope, and determined that the road to Damascus is a road to peace," she told reporters as she toured the now war-torn streets of Damascus. (here)
Pelosi 2013: We must bomb Assad for being "outside the circle of civilized behavior"
Back in April of 2007, I interviewed prominent Egyptian blogger Sandmonkey on Middle Eastern affairs. It was a critical time - Bush had lost the Congress to the Democrats in the November 2006 election and Pelosi and co. were instituting their own foreign policy changes.
Regrettably, Sandmonkey and I stopped talking in 2011 when I warned that the "freedom revolution" in Egypt was a Muslim Brotherhood coup. He said that the Arab Spring in Egypt "had nothing to do with the Muslim Brotherhood." The left and the supremacists went after me with all that had for my correct assessment in January 2011. We know how that went. But that's not my point.
Sandmonkey's remarks about Syria were telling. He is an excerpt of that 2007 interview with Sandmonkey:
His words of premonitory warning gave me great pause. He has scorn for the "new Democrats" that sold out reformers and activists and destroyed fledging movements of democracy.
Listen to our conversation here: Download Sandmonkey43007.mp3
Here are some excerpts on reform in Egypt:
SANDMONKEY: "Any kind of democratic reform in the country [Egypt] for the past 3 years has been rolled back specifically because there is no more pressure coming from Washington anymore." [after the Democrats took over - Ed]
GELLER: Why? What happened to the pressure in Washington?
SANDMONKEY: You know what happened to the pressure in Washington. The Democrats won the Congress. There is no more pressure coming from Bush because he is not able to push people anymore to do those things. He is not able to push the Egyptian government anymore because the American public is suddenly not interested in reforming the Middle East because of what's going on in the Iraq. So suddenly the Egyptian government is not afraid of the American pressure. They are doing whatever they want to do. They are beating up demonstrators, they are cracking down on activists, they are changing the constitution, and eroding civil liberties once and for all and they are using proxies to take down bloggers.
On the Democrats embracing Muslim Brotherhood:
Atlas: Where you shocked when Hoyer met with the Muslim Brotherhood?
SANDMONKEY: Let me tell you something. I was in Turkey a couple of weeks ago and I met a couple of Syrian activists. They one thing they told me that was really funny about the Pelosi visit. After Pelosi came to Syria two things happened. People on Syrian TV were saying, "We forced the Americans to knock on the Damascus gate!" Sort of like an admission that we messed things up in Iraq so much that America had to come and beg for their help.
But the day after Pelosi's visits there were immediate arrests of Syrian activists. That was the fruit she yielded. "Oh the Americans came over and they said they have a different foreign policy and they're more interested in placating Bashar's ego." And he went out and got [arrested] everyone he wanted because he knew he had an ally in Washington that wouldn't pressure him as much.
ATLAS: Isn't that disgusting?
SANDMONKEY: Yeah, but what are you going to do?
ATLAS: We have to educate the American people. You think the American people know this?
SANDMONKEY: No, but do they even care at this point? I don't think they are interested in the discussion any more. There are people that have made up their mind, they think we need to placate the dictators because America is wrong and everyone else is always right. That's how they operate.
SANDMONKEY: What they are doing is completely irresponsible.
ATLAS: The world is watching.........
SANDMONKEY: Of course the world is watching and the world is gloating. Everyone wanted Bush to lose the 2004 elections. If he had lost 2004 we would not have had our push for democracy in 2005. The moment Bush won again that's when Mubarak said maybe we should have democracy because Bush didn't go away. And had Bush gone away there wouldn't be democracy right now ...... like there wouldn't be two years of freedom and fresh air that we were able to breathe and that' we've had. After 2006 [elections] the change went in the opposite agenda.
ATLAS: As an Egyptian who understands democracy, life, liberty the pursuit of happiness....and who admires America. Looking at America, I want to know what you see.
SANDMONKEY: I'm seeing a country in great danger. Simply speaking, I don't think the people get what's at stake anymore. I don't think they see where they are heading.
UPDATE: Check out WaPo's: NO RESULTS FROM DAMASCUS
UPDATE: More of Pelosi's fruit:
Repression getting worse in Syria: opposition figures AFP Six leading opposition figures jailed in Syria warned on Tuesday that the "repressive climate" in their country was worsening and called for the release of all political prisoners.