Well, the Wall Street Journal reports today that after innumerable, fruitless trips to Damascus by our diplomatic and military officials, the Administration is trying something new: sending some of our top technology companies to Syria, "marking the latest bid by the Obama Administration to woo President Bashar al-Assad away from his strategic alliance with Iran."


The Administration's "logic" is that Assad’s expressed desire to improve his telecom infrastructure will help "drive a wedge between the two, in part by appealing to Mr. Assad’s desire to modernize his economy." Ultimately, U.S. sanctions on this state sponsor of terrorism would have to be waived. The Administration views this as a "test" of Assad’s interest in closer U.S. relations.


Professor Obama's tests aside, Assad has failed the real world test. How about the reports of Syria transferring Scud missiles to Hezbollah, or its support for other militants in the region, or the stonewalling on its nuclear program? Do top Microsoft, Dell, Cisco and Symantec execs really want to be in Damascus?
This potential tech transfer is troubling. The State Department will surely argue that it'd open-up Syria to the free flow of information. More likely, though, is that Assad would use this technology to better spy on Syrian opponents. That's what the Iranians did, employing European telecom technology. One Syrian dissident quoted suspected this motivation.


Unfortunately many are moving toward Iran. Turkey and Brazil are running interference for its rogue nuclear program, Russia wants to sell Iran missiles and China is developing its oil industry.


Peeling Syria away from Iran: now that's a dropped call.