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April 17, 2006



oh God, this whole thing just makes me sick...
Why is it that a country just can't settle down and do what is right for it's people?
Oh, er, I know... It is George Bush's fault...


Not only the Lions Ammar ... When Syria was very weak (or at least perceived to be that way) last year, Bahsar often proposed to the Israelis starting peace talks with no conditions. Israel refused because Syria was too weak and was not worth any compromises. And that was not only the official governmetn position, it was also evident from the majority of comments on Haaretz's question: "should Israel engage Syria in a peace process that might lead to some land compromise"

And don't foget the Lebanese / Syrian "brotherhood" and the different stages it passes through ... last year, Junblat felt so empowered that he was calling for nothing less than bringing down the Syrian regime, through an American invasion preferably...

Most of them (at least in the Middle East) mishandle power.

The problem is, they do not teach philosophy and wisdom in school.

As for the "mistakes" the regime makes, again it is a matter of perceptions... most of us were calling last year for them to kick Hamas out. This year...who knows what the Hamas "card" is worth.


Alex, Sorry I followed you to this blog!! :-)
I am sure the Israeli would loved to deal with the "too weak” ASSAD, since the Israeli would have dominate the table and all outstanding issues, with the possibility of extracting a favorable deal out of a weak and inexperienced leader willing to play any game to get him out of the deep hole, he him himself keep on digging. We all remember it was the current American administration that advised the Israeli not to even smile at the Syrian!! I don't know why, But sometime it occur to me that the American DO wanted to protect the Syrian peoples form a bad outcome!! It’s just a thought ... For all I know, the Israeli are the best in the real-estate business!! A good businessman would not let a deal a less risks and good visibility to slip through...



Ammar, my friend Atassi and I were having a discussion at Joshua's blog earlier, but the thread got too long there ...

Although we might think that an elected Israeli government, and a "strong dictator" can do any deal they feel like doing, Hafez Assad was right when he always reminded visiting American journalists that "my people will not let me sign a bad deal for Syria"

I don't think a "bad deal" can pass in Syria ... except if one day, the Syrian people do not see it as a bad deal (the way no one is asking Turkey to return Iskendurun) ... and that might explain why the Israelis did not go for the offer. In addition, the Israelis know how the process goes:

1) Peace talks start

2) The public pressure on Syria decreses (it always does when an Arab country is talking peace with the Israelis)

3) Syria feels empowered again

4) no big compromises.


Well, weak or strong, and despite the rumors that get floated every now and then, no talks are likely to start anytime soon between the Israelis and the Syrians.

The Israelis are more interested of keeping control of the Golan at this stage then in getting a deal that would normalize their relations with Syria.

Why is this so? Because they already control the land, and, after the experience they had with Assad Sr. it has become very clear to them that the best way to keep their control over water as well, that is, over lake Tiberius in its entirety, is to use whatever interim period they have in between talks to create more facts on the ground, facts that will make reaching a compromise on this matter a done deal.

In other words, no future talks will likely start unless the two sides understand that lake Tiberius is no longer part of the equation. This is the price for walking out on the talks in Geneva. And let's just hope that the price stops at that, and the Golan Heights will not go the way of Alexandretta, or should I say Hatay?


That's very true Ammar. But in this universe, every action has an equal and opposite reaction ... when the Israelis feel powerful enough to ignore Syria's calls for peace talks until they (the Israelis) unilateraly change the situation on the ground in the Golan, then they should not be surprised if the Syrians, with their combined Hamas/Iran/Hizbollah hardline alliance) try to convince them that starting peace talks with Syria NOW might afterall be in Israel's interest.

We might disagree with most of the hardline statements coming out of the region these days, but it is all about the overall power games, not about the details of those statements. Sharon used to send his troops to kill 20 civilians in one day, not becuase he needed those specific 20 people dead for the security of Israel, but to send a message saying: "I am so powerful that I can do bad things and no one can punish me for them" ... The other side has been eager to react to these displays of power for a long time. Now they feel they can (Iranian president's statements?) ... so they will continue to demonstrate their equal and opposite reaction.

It might sound too naive, but the ability to be graceful to your weaker enemy when you have the upper hand would eventually be in your best interest when your enemy becomes powerful and hopefully treats you the same way.

In the revenge-driven Middle East, they foolishly rely on intimidating their enemies when they can, but all it is bringing them, eventually, is reciprocal madness.... and the game goes on.

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