Was in Damascus once many, many years ago. My recollection was that the road from Beirut went over some relatively steep mountains (there even used to be some sort of ski facility in those mountains). Update: Not just a "facility" - ski resorts. See here. One resort: "Cedars, Feb.14: roads cleared, 4m.of snow on the slopes.All lifts open." Webcam shot of the Cedars:
Update: Opposition to an attack on Syria: Paul Craig Roberts
The identical lies used to deceive Americans about Iraq are now being recycled to justify invading Syria and Iran.from "Neo-Jacobins Push For World War IV"
Before exploring this fact, first understand that there is nothing conservative about neoconservatives. Neocons hide behind "conservative" but they are in fact Jacobins.
Jacobins were the 18th century French revolutionaries whose intention to remake Europe in revolutionary France’s image launched the Napoleonic Wars.
Assad goes to up armor
Syrian President Bashar Assad has decided to acquire offensive and defensive weapons in 2005 as part of an effort to repel any U.S. or Israeli attack on Syria.(Jan 16,2005) U.S. warns Syria about letting weapons out here and the diplomatic squabble here.
Western intelligence sources said Assad plans to order at least $2 billion worth of Russian or Soviet-origin equipment during his meeting with President Vladimir Putin later this month. The sources said the Assad regime has assessed that U.S. forces based in Iraq would launch a major attack on Syria in 2005.
Syrian officials and government-aligned analysts acknowledge that Assad's visit was meant to acquire advanced Russian weapons to bolster deterrence against Israel and the United States, Middle East Newsline reported. They said they expect the two countries to press Moscow to suspend the SA-18 and other arms deals approved by Putin.
"He is clearly frightened of either an American or Israeli attack or a coup attempt by Washington," a Western intelligence analyst said. "Already, his regime is divided over how to respond to the U.S. threats."
"The chances of the United States invading Syria these days are extremely low," a Western intelligence source said. "But Assad doesn't believe that."
The sources said Assad has acquired funding commitments from Iran and Saudi Arabia to facilitate the Russian arms deal. They said Assad planned to demand immediate transfers of such systems as the SA-18 surface-to-air missile, Kornet-E anti-tank weapon and a Russian upgrade of Syrian artillery.