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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Burnt Rice

London-based al-Hayat is reporting this morning that Syria has been promised that the Golan Heights will be on the agenda at Annapolis if Syria attends. That violates a commitment that US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice made to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert. As a result of the bone thrown to Syria to attend the Annapolis conference mugging, Syria canceled a 'Palestinian' rejectionist summit that was to be held in Damascus. Iran has offered to hold that summit in Tehran instead. There are two links above. The YNet story is from today - within the last hour in fact. The second link is from DEBKA and was published this past Tuesday. Given that part of DEBKA's story has now been confirmed, I am inclined to believe they were out in front of this one, and that the rest of their story is correct as well.
Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert and defense minister Ehud Barak made welcoming sounds about Syria’s possible presence at the conference, as though they had come up with the plan after careful consideration. In fact, DEBKAfile’s Middle East and intelligence sources report, US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice presented them with a fait accompli.

The invitation she handed to Syrian foreign minister Walid Mualem on Nov. 3 came from President George W. Bush, after he accepted Damascus’ condition that future negotiations on the Golan be mentioned in the conference’s final paper, as well as the Palestinian issue.

Rice and Mualem initially agreed that the Golan talks between Israel and Syria would be delayed for a while so as not to interfere with the Palestinian track. It will also be necessary to prepare Israeli opinion for the step. But Tuesday, after winning one point, Damascus raised the ante.

Syrian deputy prime minister Abdullah Dardari announced that if the restoration of the Golan to Syrian hands is not laid out at the peace conference, Syria will not attend. His statement aimed at pinning Rice down to making Israel go along with the deal, or risk being accused of derailing the conference.

The Syrians are demanding furthermore that their delegate, possibly vice president Farouk a-Shara, or Moualem, be given the floor for a speech calling for the handover of the Golan which Israel has controlled since Syria was defeated in the 1967 War. And if president Bashar Assad decides to attend, Damascus wants him to be formally received by his opposite number in rank, namely Vice President Dick Cheney.
I would not bet on Assad or Cheney attending, but the rest of this seems all too plausible. Once again, Israel is getting shafted....


At 6:16 PM, Blogger J. Lichty said...

Israel is not getting shafted, it is shafting itself. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

Until there are Israeli leaders with the honesty and courage to call the US on its complete lack of credibilty, it will continue to get pushed around.

History has shown that the more Israel resists US pressure the better it fares. Olmert will sell all of Israel to keep his leftist ass out of prison.

At 7:09 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


You're right that Israel is shafting itself and you're right that Olmert will sell all of Israel to keep himself out of prison and you're right that this will continue to happen until there are leaders with the courage to call the US on it.

But I don't think that the more Israel resists US pressure, the better it fares. Think Shamir and Bush Senior. Yes, Shamir managed not to concede, but Bush helped see to his defeat in the 1992 election and held up billions of dollars in loan guarantees that the country badly needed. I still think Shamir did the right thing, but the outcome of resisting US pressure isn't always a happy one.


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