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Ahmed Hany Hassanain

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Syrian-Israeli Dilemma
by Ahmed Hany Hassanain   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Posted: Monday, May 26, 2008

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While the US is reluctant about the secret negotiations between Syria and Israel , it gave Turkey, Israel and Syria a green light to go ahead. This negotiations serve the cause of all concerned parties but all wait for the new American Administration to go serious.

Secret contacts between Israel and Syria under the auspice the Turkish President, serves the causes of the three parties. It helps Olmart to maneuver the Syrian track to make people not talking about his corruption scandal. It helps Syria to have a role in the current peace process. It proves the importance of the Turkish role not only as a moderate country in the region but also in the peace process.

The Turkish president has internal, regional and international motives to moderate between Syria and Israel. Internally his party is threatened to be dissolved through the constitutional court rule as what happened several years ago with Arbakan’s Islamic party that won elections against Tanaso Chiller’s People’s party. He needs Washington and West’s support against secular forces in his country. The US and the EU see the regime in Turkey as a moderate Islamic regime that provides a good model for the Mideast about harmony between Islam and democracy.

Regionally, if Turkey could broker a peace deal between Israel and Syria, it would support Turkey as one of the leading countries in the Mideast. Beside its role in Iraq to prevent the birth of a Kurdish State that may push the region to another dark tunnel, this move will support the alliance between the Sunni Countries and the West against the Shiite Iran. This is what Washington sought since it has sent its troops to Iraq. Israel asked Syria to withdraw from the Syrian-Iranian alliance and to stop support of the Shiite Hezbo-Allah in Lebanon. In fact, what happened in Doha proved that Hezbo-Allah predicted that. After it had used its weapons against other rivals, it lost many of its supporters. It was clear that the new Lebanese president would try to integrate Hezbo-Allah forces with the Lebanese Army in what he called in his speech a Defensive Strategy for Lebanon.

Israel wanted Syria to expel Khalid Mashaal, the Hamas Supremo and to stop supporting Hamas. Khalid Mashaal doubted the Israeli intention to strike a deal with Syria in Tehran. Several years ago, President Al-Asad Sr. expelled Abd-Allah Auglan the Kurdish terrorist leader when Egypt mediated between his country and Turkey to prevent a war between them. Hamas and its leader are not very popular in the Arab moderate states.

If peace between Syria and Israel succeeded it would further support the Egyptian-Saudi-Turkish alliance, as Syria would return to the Arabic Camp on the Turkish horse. One of the main problems between Syria and Israel is water. Turkey may supply Syria with more water to solve this problem.

Internationally if Turkey succeeded, it would remove one of the main obstacles for EU-Mediterranean cooperation that is the war in the Mideast. It would help to establish the Mediterranean Union. This will show Turkey as a moderate stabilizing force and will weaken the French position against joining the EU. The Arab Foreign Ministers of the ten Arab Mediterranean Countries met in Egypt to discuss the union. Israel was the main obstacle as those who do not have relation with it, prefer waiting until the peace process reaches the end game.

Israel still maneuvers in the peace process on all tracks. While the Prime Minister told the Syrians through the Turkish President that he is willing to have peace and to return Golan, some of his ministers announced that Golan is part of Israel. One of his ministers said that if Israel returned Golan to Syria, the Iranian President would visit it next day. He forgot that the Iranian Foreign Minister visited Lebanon and went to the Southern Lebanese borders several times. The ex-Chief of Israeli Army announced that Israeli defence plans would not be affected if Golan returned to Syria.

The Syrian could not trust the Israelis, as their weak government is unlikely to sign any peace deal. Second, the American administration does not favor solving Golan Heights problem now to keep Syria under pressure until it could devise policies to isolate Iran. On the other hand, the US would support its alliance with moderate Arabs if Syria responded to the Israeli requirements if the present administration is serious about isolating Iran. Many think that the US needs Iran to press more on the Arabs of the Gulf during the oil crisis.

Syria maneuvered also by not showing an enthusiasm about the Israeli proposal. It told Turkey that negotiation might start next year under the auspice of the new American administration. It cannot refuse the proposal frankly or it would give reasons for Israel to appear that while it was proposing peace the others refused. It cannot dissolve its alliance with Iran now without a declared and frank American administration’s promise about Golan.

It is known that Syrian history tells about many coups. Many Syrian officers had training in Iran and it is unlikely that the Iranians will leave Syria go its way without making troubles for the regime. The dilemma of the Syrian regime is that some officials might see the Israeli proposal a good opportunity to retake Golan Heights while others may see that Syria may have them through a bigger US-Iranian deal about the region from Iraq to the Mediterranean. The Syrian Defence Minister went to Tehran to calm down its fears about the deal. He declared that the Syrian-Iranian relations are strategic. On the other hand, the region never witnessed permanent alliances. It is time for the Syrians to play their game before Iran plays the Syrian card like what it had done with the Lebanese one. One fact may drive all towards peace, which is that people in the region, Arabs and Israelis alike, just fed up of wars. They want to live like other people around the world. They want to invest and develop. To know more about what happened to people in this region during the last forty years try this link


Web Site: A Tale Of Two Wars

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