Condi Rice 298.88.
(photo credit: AP [file])
I think we're going to have to start looking at further sanctions on Syria if it is to continue on the path it's currently on, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Tuesday.
Rice, whose interview with The Wall Street Journal appeared on the State Department web site, said, "I think as Syria continues to show its stripes and isolate itself from its Arab friends, that may be somewhat easier to do. I think we're going to have to start looking at further sanctions on Syriaâ€¦ we're going to have to look at tougher measures if Syria continues to be on the path that it's on."
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"I think that the Syrians look as if they've made their choice and their choice is to associate with extremist forces in Iran, not with their traditional - calling it allies is not quite right - the traditional partners like the Arab states. But I think that that will cost Syria and I'm not certain how ultimately stable that configuration is to Syria.
"And it is isolated. The speech that Assad made accusing the Egyptians and the Saudis and the Jordanians of all kinds of things - has not helped them - but only helped him with his normal partners," she said.
Regarding the progress of democratization in the Arab world, Rice said, "In the Middle East, I think those trends are moving in the right direction but I think that we got a very big wakeup call in the summer with the war in Lebanon because in a way that it had not really been clarified before the Middle East with all of its historic animosities and so forth, I think had to confront its modern - its current environment, which is one in which extremism on one side and moderation on the other came into pretty sharp relief."
"And that has been very clearly recognized now, I believe, by the moderate Arab states - the Saudis, the Egyptians, the Jordanians - by moderates in the kind of fledgling democracies that are there, whether it be Iraq or Lebanon or even the Palestinian territories, and the supporter, the financier, the inspiration for those extremist forces like Hizbullah and Hamas, I think is now clearly in everybody's mind Teheran, and that has given a kind of clarity to what the challenge is from Iran, not just on the nuclear side, not just on the internal politics side, but literally on Iran's ambitions for the region as a whole," she said.
According to Rice, "In the next several months, leading probably into several years, will be trying to find a way to rally moderate forces on behalf of emerging democratic moderate forces in the region to withstand what I think is a now quite substantial push against them by extremists and by Iranian-led extremism."