The Syrian government on 15 April issued a strong statement in rebuttal of the allegations, describing them as ‘threats and falsifications’. ‘The cabinet rejected these accusations and allegations and saw them as a response to Israeli stimulus and a service to its [Israel’s] goals and expansive greed.’ Israel has been the only country so far to echo the American allegations. ‘Bashar Asad is dangerous, his judgement is flawed,’ Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said in an interview with the Yedioth Aharonoth newspaper. ‘He has shown that he is unable to draw obvious conclusions -Anyone with eyes in his head would have known that Iraq was on the losing side.’

The Arab League and the UN joined in the GCC’s criticism of the US. ‘I believe this is like throwing oil on a fire or salt in a wound, as you say, and it makes the situation even more tense and mysterious,’ said Arab League spokesman Hisham Youssef. ‘Israel being involved is going to inflame the whole region.’ A statement from the UN said: ‘The Secretary-General is concerned that recent statements directed at Syria should not contribute to a wider destabilisation in the region already affected heavily by the war in Iraq.’