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Sunday, January 02, 2011

Why the 'fierce moral urgency' to appoint an ambassador to Syria

Well, now we know the 'fierce moral urgency' behind President Obama's recess appointment of Robert Ford as the first American ambassador to Syria since 2005. Obama has apparently despaired of bringing 'peace' between Israel and the 'Palestinians,' so, reports a Kuwaiti newspaper, he is conspiring with Syria to deliver the Golan to Bashar al-Assad.
A Kuwaiti newspaper reported that Washington is engaging in secret talks with Syrian officials regarding the attempts to pressure Israel to surrender the Golan Heights. According to the report, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moalem reached out to the United States two weeks ago, expressing a willingness to cooperate with Washington's agenda for the Middle East.

U.S. government official Dennis Ross announced that he has discerned unprecedented Syrian willingness to become distant from Iran, cool relations with Hezbollah and Hamas and cooperate with America in the "war on terror."
But of course. At least for a week or so.

Aaron Lerner adds:
As for the substantive concept behind the initiative: it is naïve and childish to think that retreating from the Golan will transform Syria into a stable, reliable, peace loving regime that won't exploit Israel's withdrawal from the strategic Golan Heights in ways that will significantly recue, rather than improve, Israel's security.


#1. Reliability: How long ago did the Syrians secretly build a nuclear site in violation of solemn promises? The Syrians can deny that they are involved with supplying weapons to Hezbollah (wink wink) and Hezbollah can even complain that they are having supply problems (wink wink) and the flow can continue unabated.

#2. Syrian relations with Iran: Take a look at the heavy Iranian investment of Iran in projects in Syria that don't make economic sense (automobile manufacturing, the largest flat glass plant in the Middle East, etc.) but support the regime. Investments that the West can't replace. But it isn't just the money. When the Syrians explain that they cannot "lose face" by turning their backs on Iran the very same experts who are saying Syria can be pulled away from Iran will explain with a smile that the Syrian excuse makes perfect sense.

#3. It isn't about the Golan Heights: When analyzing the motives of political actors who launch wars there are a host of reasons, both domestic and international, that they go to war that have absolutely nothing to do with the country that they are attacking. Why rule all of these out in the case of the minority Allawite lead regime?

#4. Under the Egyptian model, an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights will lead to the arming of Syria with the best American weapons U.S. aid money can supply - including mobile anti-aircraft systems that could be used in a move to invade an unnamed enemy located southwest of Syria (yes - Israel. The Egyptians train to use their American weapons to invade an unnamed enemy to the East of the Suez Canal).

So why do we still have this kind of talk from adults?

#1. Some are part of the withdrawal cult that genuinely believes that retreat will yield utopian peace for generations. This is a "belief" and as such does not have to be based on or subject to logic.

#2. Others really aren't particularly concerned about the long term ramifications. And let's not forget: what did Henry Kissinger get the Nobel Peace Prize for? [Hint - one of the parties to the agreement no longer exists after it was destroyed by another party to the agreement.]
Aaron has more plus a Google translation of the original article from the Kuwaiti newspaper. Read the whole thing.

Obama is desperate for a foreign policy breakthrough. He has accomplished nothing on the foreign policy front in his first two years in office, and he has 2011 to make something happen before the Americans get involved in Presidential elections again. He still figures he has a better chance of pressuring Israel than any other party. And since he can't get the 'Palestinians' to the table, he's now trying the Syrians. He 'needs' a breakthrough on one or the other front. That happens to dovetail nicely with the Labor party, which 'needs' a breakthrough on one or the other front - they announced on Sunday - in order to stay in the coalition. And that's why the recess appointment of Robert Ford as ambassador to Syria was a matter of 'fierce moral urgency.' It's much easier to run a 'peace process' when you have a representative on the ground.

Netanyahu doesn't have the fortitude to tell Obama to take his pressure and put it where the sun don't shine. He continues to fear Labor leaving his coalition despite the fact that Labor leaving would not cause his government to fall, despite the fact that Netanyahu is far more popular personally than Barak or Tzipi Livni, and despite the fact that polls show that Likud would gain in an election, while Labor would be decimated and Kadima would lose ground. Why can't Netanyahu see this? Or can he see it but still fear losing his historical legacy by acknowledging reality?

Five weeks ago, Caroline Glick tried to decipher why Netanyahu so fears Obama. Especially with a Republican House taking power, that fear appears more irrational than ever. Unless Netanyahu is not acting out of fear. I warned about that three and a half yeas ago.

What could go wrong?

By the way, unsurprisingly, Israel Radio reported on Sunday afternoon that Syria is denying the Kuwaiti newspaper story.

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At 7:53 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

An agreement may be more likely with Syria than with the Palestinians. But it would come with a high price tag. Maybe too high for Israeli public to accept it.

Let's see what happens in 2011.


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