Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"Assad now has leverage over both the pragmatic camp and the radical axis ..."

JPOst/ here

" ... While Israeli eyes are on other fronts for now, there is always a calculation that Egypt may one day turn unfriendly again. The IDF performs exercises for that eventuality from time to time. So does Egypt. In the meantime, however, Egypt and Israel are cooperating on a range of issues, including the fight against arms smuggling into Gaza..... 

The IDF wants Syria taken out of the equation of potential violence, and is pushing the political echelon to pay the necessary diplomatic price.

Current Western assessments posit that, given the chance, Assad will go for peace with Israel if he is given back the Golan Heights to the 1967 lines. A Syrian-Israeli peace, while unlikely in the short term, could radically change the Middle East picture, leaving Iran isolated in the new alignment. In the meantime, Syria is pleased with the status quo.

In 2008, President Bashar Assad was a worried man. The UN probe into the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri pointed at direct involvement of senior members of the Assad regime. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was pursuing a probe of a nuclear facility, which according to foreign media, was bombed by the Israel Air Force. Assad was also nervously watching for any last-minute surprises by a departing George W. Bush......

.... Despite all these knocks, Assad maintains a strong hold on power in Syria, and in 2009 he can afford to smile. Bush has left the scene, and so has Jacques Chirac, who really loved Hariri. Whenever he feels threatened, he can allude that he's willing to conduct peace talks with Israel, and everybody smiles at him.

Assad now has leverage over both the pragmatic camp and the radical axis. Both sides want him to come over fully. Assad is being courted by an American president keen on dialogue, while Iran is making it even more difficult to break away. Europe sees him as part of the solution..........skillfully playing both sides against each other, but is not really moving in any direction. Assad still has to decide where along the East-West axis he wants to position his country...."

No comments: