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US Mideast Policy Leads to Embassy Attacks
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The US Mideast policy has resulted in attacks against US missions abroad with the latest against the US Embassy in Damascus, some Syrian analysts said on Tuesday.

"I'm not astonished when I heard about the attack against the US embassy ... it happened after the United States undertakes a series of unfair moves," lawmaker Mohamed Habash told reporters.

Habash said that when "extremists" intended to take measures to "change the US policy in the Middle East, its embassies become the first prey."

His view was echoed by former Syrian Information Minister Mahdi Dakhlullah, who expressed hope that the United States "should understand its unfair policy has brought turbulences in the region."

"It also provides a pretext for terrorist groups to launch terrorist operations against US interests in Arab countries," said Dakhlullah, director of the Syrian Institution of Strategic Studies.

Four gunmen attempted on Tuesday to blow up two explosive-laden cars at the US Embassy in downtown Damascus, but such an attempt was foiled by Syrian security forces in a clash, in which three of the assailants were killed and the fourth injured. It was the latest attack against US missions abroad.

In March, the US consulate in the Pakistani city of Karachi was attacked and a US diplomat and four other people were killed. Washington, taking sides with the Jewish state in dealing with the Arab-Israeli conflicts, has aroused distrust and anger in Arab countries.

In the month-long Israel-Hezbollah conflict which ended in mid-August, the United States refused to call for an early ceasefire to end the conflict which killed over 1,200 people in Lebanon and some 160 Israelis.

The Syrian Embassy in Washington on Tuesday accused the United States of fueling extremism, terrorism and anti-US sentiment in the Middle East.

"What has happened recently in Lebanon, the Palestinian territories and Iraq is exacerbating the fight against global terrorism. The US should take this opportunity to review its policies in the Middle East and start looking at the root causes of terrorism and broker a comprehensive peace in the Middle East," a statement said.

Syrian anti-terror efforts expected to ease up tension with US

Meanwhile, some analysts said that Syria's efforts to thwart the Tuesday assault might lead to warming-up in its cold relations with Washington.

"What happened today may bring some positive factors to Syrian-US relations and will probably open the door for dialogue," Omeran Zaabi, a veteran political analyst, told Xinhua. US officials, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, expressed gratitude to Syria as the US Embassy in Damascus was unhurt in the attack.

Syrian-US relations have been tense for many years as the two countries are at odds on many issues, including Syria's role in Lebanon and its support of militant groups in the region.

Washington recalled its ambassador to Syria following the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in February last year, blaming Damascus for the murder, a charge denied by Syria.

"Damascus and Washington have common enemies -- terrorism and extremism, so the two sides should coordinate and unite their efforts to confront them," Zaabi said.

(Xinhua News Agency September 13, 2006)

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