Monday, July 31, 2006

Dialogue better than war with Syria for long-term resolution.

This may very well be disinformation aimed at warning Syria not to attack Israel but if not, it is scary news:
[The Israeli] Defense officials told the Post last week that they were receiving indications from the US that America would be interested in seeing Israel attack Syria. (Jerusalem Post)
It is particularly bad because Syria is probably right now the key country that the US and Europe can engage a dialogue with. This is where I think Friedman (see our previous post) made the most sensible analysis.
Syria, unlike Iran, is a
secular Sunni country and it seems to make sense that their "marriage with Iran is a marriage of convenience.” As Friedman also pointed out, the Syrian regime feels very strong right now because, unlike the other pro-American leaders of Jordan and Egypt for instance, they have the street with them.
Iran is also clearly dependent on Syria for its support of Hezbollah (one just needs to look at a map to see why).
So attacking Syria right now would probably be the worst thing to do, which is why, I believe (and hope) that the news in the Jerusalem Post is just propaganda.
Yet the Bush administration has recently slapped them in the face when US envoy to the UN John Bolton dismissed Syria's offer for dialogue on Lebanon crisis. The lack of sensitivity of the Bush administration to the cultural particularities of the Arab world and culture is impressive but no doubt this will cause even more sense of humiliation and will only make matters worse.

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