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Monday, November 23, 2009

Resist the Syrian temptation

France has offered to replace Turkey as a go-between for Israel and Syria. Jonathan Spyer explains why it would be harmful to Israel to engage in diplomatic talks with Syria in the foreseeable future under French auspices.
The bigger picture of the Israeli and broader Western interest in the region requires the containment and ultimately the rolling back of the currently emboldened Iranian-led alliance. Reviving the prospect of Israeli territorial concessions to Syria, at a time when Damascus is engaged in sponsoring organizations engaged in proxy war with Israel and others would be to reward aggression.

It would furnish an additional argument in the armory of Iran and its supporters who maintain, not without reason, that the camp facing them is weak and responds to pressure by making concessions.

The Obama administration has so far held off from joining in the rush to make up with Syria. Washington has sent a series of visitors to Damascus and is preparing to appoint a new ambassador. But the sanctions remain in place, and the administration appears mindful of Syrian actions in Iraq, Lebanon and among the Palestinians.

The administration has failed, nevertheless, to articulate a clear understanding of the current strategic picture in the region. The building of clarity in this regard represents a core strategic interest for Israel. It would be mistaken to sacrifice this interest on the altar of any short-term alleviation of pressure resulting from a revival of virtual diplomacy with the Assad regime.
Read the whole thing.

Talks with Syria seem to be a non-starter in any event. The Syrians are demanding that Israel promise them the entire Golan in return for agreeing to sit down at the table. That's not going to happen with this Israeli government in power, regardless of the American and European belief that Israel has to be engaged in 'peace talks' with someone at all times.

The French may be trying to force Israel into reaching 'peace' with Syria in the hope that it will divert attention from Iran (with whom France would love to continue trading), although Paul Mirengoff chalks it up to the French pursuing their own self-interest in being seen as a 'player' in international relations.

And note who is completely out of the picture.

What could go wrong?


At 3:04 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Carl - the real question is why Netanyahu wants to make life easier for Tehran's proxy in the Levant. I don't get it.


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