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Friday, May 21, 2010

Why Israeli - Syrian peace is unattainable

Evelyn Gordon has it all figured out. Assad claims Shimon Peres offered him all of the Golan if Syria would sever its ties with Hamas, Hezbullah and Iran. Peres denies making any such offer, but that's irrelevant since Assad claims that he turned it down anyway. Assad doesn't want to give up the 'resistance option.'
Yet now, Assad claims that Peres offered precisely what Israeli peace advocates always wanted: the whole Golan. And he contemptuously refused to pay the desired quid pro quo.

Most noteworthy of all, however, was his reason: Abandoning “resistance” would be foolish, because it works. And as evidence, he cited Syria’s renewed ties with the West, especially Washington. In short, he views the Obama administration’s engagement drive as proof that supporting terror pays.

Moreover, when asked to identify Syria’s key regional interests, peace with Israel didn’t make the list — but “dialogue with the U.S.” did. Thus peace with Israel no longer offers any compensation that would justify abandoning “resistance”: The one benefit it was traditionally thought to offer — an opening to Washington — has now been achieved by “resistance” instead.

This also explains why Assad eagerly engaged in indirect talks with former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert just two years ago, but scorns the idea today. Then, he was being boycotted by the West, and especially by former President George W. Bush, so talks with Israel were needed to end the boycott. Today, he is courted by Europe and Washington alike. So who needs peace with Israel?

The conclusion is clear: As long as Assad can get everything he wants from the West without a peace deal, Israeli-Syrian peace will be unattainable. Only when the West starts punishing “resistance” rather than rewarding it will Assad’s strategic calculation change.
It's actually worse than that. What Assad claims is that Peres asked him to dissociate from Hamas, Hezbullah and Iran, but yet made no mention of peace, normalizing relations or an end of conflict. And still, Assad spurned the offer.

Smart diplomacy. Heh.


At 5:18 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Shimon Peres is the stupidest person ever to be elected Israel's President. And its not a credit to him that he keeps pushing a complete fantasy that has no chance of being realized in our lifetime.

Peace will not happen because the other side does not want it.


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