Mr Powell was speaking to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee - the most powerful pro-Israel lobbying group in the United States.
This was a new and strongly worded warning from the Bush administration to two of Iraq’s neighbours.
Colin Powell called on Syria to stop supporting terrorist groups and the regime of Saddam Hussein.
“Syria has the responsibility for its choices and for the consequences,” he said.
Mr Powell also called on Iran to stop support for terrorists, and to stop producing weapons of mass destruction.
It was time, he said, for “the entire international community to insist that Iran end its support for terrorism”.
His comments come a matter of days after his colleague, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, warned both countries not to get involved in the conflict in Iraq.
In the same speech, Mr Powell also repeated Washington’s commitment to work for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
“Today we have reached a hopeful moment when progress may again be possible,” he said.
Is the plan to start a huge mess we can’t extract ourselves from? Rumsfeld is one thing but when Powell jumps on board (and in front of a pro-Israeli lobbying group - smooth PR chief) you have to think they’re planning to broaden things before public opinion can shift.
Look, I’ve got equal problems with how Palestinians and Israel have acted. That’s not the point. The point is that this is a real news story (unless the BBC is trolling us). If we’re trying to keep this conflict from spreading I don’t think this is the way you go about it. One public warning from Rumsfeld sent the message already and I assume back-channel diplomacy would be underway as well. Our Secretary of State, assuming the story is true and I have to assume it is, echoed another senior administration figure’s threatening statements in front of a political lobby that’s seen as suspect in the Muslim world. Powell’s statement alone would be cause for concern.
I saw this too and could only shake my head. I mean isnt the wise move here to at least WIN the first war before you go running your mouth off? These guys are really starting to scare me, especially Powell he was supposed to be the most reasonable of that bunch but more and more he sounds just like rumsfield and Cheney.
Unnerving at best. Maybe the administraion thought the message did not get through from Rumsfeld. I was hoping that was the last we would hear of it, but, I agree Powell bringing it up a second time is cause for concern.
Lets take them all on. As we have shown, no one can touch the American military. If anyone hasn’t noticed, we inflicted some serious damage to the Iraqi army, while we lost what? 40 men at best. And hell… half of those loses came from dirty play.
Not really. But if your worried about taking on the entire Arab world, all you have to do is look back at the Israel conflict in the late 60’s. Didn’t they take on 3 Arab countries at once, and they kicked all their asses? Of course we helped, but those middle eastern countries were humiliated.
And things have been much more Islamicized in the Arab world since then, a movement which is being accelerated now because an Arab state has been invaded. Israel took on secular states in wars of mostly Arab aggression. Vastly different scenarios.
Well, I hope this is the effect we were going for. Syria Choses to Back Iraq. I guess we see why Bush wanted a carte blanche permission to wage war in the middle east now. He’s getting quite a Christmas list from the neocons. It remains to be seen what this will in fact mean – verbiage or actual military intervention?
I haven’t heard anything about Iran’s response yet. If someone else has please post it.
Iran Remains Neutral. It seems they claim the Iraqi guerillas based there aren’t interested in fighting right now for either side and are staying clear. (These are the forces about 15,000 strong, equipped by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, and led by the Iraqi Ayatollah featured on Sunday’s 60 Minutes). They do caution against America sticking around after Hussein is removed and seem a little amused by the fact our pre-war rhetoric about an easy victory and warm welcome isn’t exactly bearing fruit yet.