Tag Archives: Assad

War Of Words Between Israel And Syria

At this point, there is a war of words between leaders of Syria and Israel which hopefully will not escalate into a war of fire and destruction. On one hand, the Israel Cabinet contains irrational demagogues such as Avigdor Lieberman who delight in bombast and hate while, on the other hand, President Bashar Assad insists there can be no retreat from his nation’s securing return of the Golan Heights. Syrian Minister of Information, Moshen Bilal told a seminar group his nation would stand up to any Israel threat to Lebanon, and insisted there must be return of the Golan Heights.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyau, who all too often, refuses to recognize the import of his words and actions on the West Bank as they impact Palestinians, tried to calm the situation. He noted “Israel aspires to reach peace with all its neighbors” and pointed out peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan. He openly stated, “we are open to new talks with Syrians as well.” Netanyahu still does not grasp the importance of an “action” on his part that can serve as a catalyst for negotiations. One such action would be a freeze on settlements in Jerusalem and on the West Bank. At this point, words simply are not enough to overcome distrust on the part of Palestinians and Syrians.

Israel Has Met The Enemy And He Is Them!

Throughout its history, leaders of Israel complained they were unable to engage in meaningful dialogue and negotiations with Arabs because none of these nations would acknowledge the existence of their country. A continual Israel problem was refusal on the part of Arab leaders to respect international law by resorting to violence against innocent civilians. Today, the exact same complaints made by Israel towards Arabs is being directed back to the Israel government. Ironically, the American government this week announced it was returning diplomats to Damascus in recognition of President Assad’s commitment to working for peace with Israel and fighting terrorism. He reportedly has agreed to clamp down on terrorists going through his nation on their way to Iraq.

President Assad’s comments this week could readily have been uttered by Golda Meier forty years ago. He said: “achieving peace requires an Israeli partner and commitment to international law. The Israeli partner does not currently exist.”

The Israel press contains right wingers who complain their government wants peace but they have no one to negotiate with for peace. Of course, the reason is simple– Netanyahu refuses to halt West Bank settlements and he imposes conditions that President Abbas must accept while insisting no one has the right to impose conditions on Israel.

David Ben-Gurion is turning over in his grave every time Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks.

Syria–Who Do We Talk With In Israel Government?

During the past half century a continual complaint on the part of Israel leaders was their inability to find anyone in an Arab government who was serious about engaging in discussions about future peace. Ironically, this complaint is now being uttered by Arab leaders about the nature of Israel’s government. Syrian leader, President Bashar Assad complained, “we cannot talk about a date (for resuming talks) because we don’t have a partner.” A major problem hindering the pursuit of peace in the Middle East is that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has filled his Cabinet with Arab haters like Avigdor Lieberman and this reduces opportunities for intelligent dialogue. On one hand, Israel complains that Hamas has publicly announced its determination to wipe out Israel. Of course, on the other hand, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has made similar remarks about wiping out Arabs.

President Gul of Turkey, who regards his nation as a mediator between Israel and Syria, has noted: “Israel has to show clearly it is a partner.” He pointed out Syria wants to talk, and “we in Turkey are also ready.” So, let’s get on with talks and replace Lieberman with someone who can gain trust of Arabs.

Syria Ready To Discuss With Israel Government

The emergence of Benjamin Netanyahu as the new head of a right wing dominated government despite the presence of Labor in the coalition does not deem well for peace with Syria. Bashar Assad, president of Syria, expressed a desire for peace but did not expect much from the Netanyahu government. “We don’t expect much in the forseeable future.. since (President Obama) has announced clear positions on Iran and Afghanistan, but we haven’t heard an announced clear position on the peace process.” He can only wonder whether a Netanyahu government will go much beyond saying they want peace but when it comes to specific issues of compromise there is little in the background of the new government to suggest it thinks anything other than Palestinians should agree with their ideas.

There is no force for compromise and peace in the new Israel government. Unless President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton exert pressure, the prospect for peace in the Middle East is rather dim.

Syria Ready To Negotiate With Israel- Is Israel Ready?

In the topsy turvy world of Israel politics it is doubtful that a new Israel government would be ready to respond to the new Syrian desire for negotiation about issues of concern between the nations. Over the past decades Israel government after government argued there was no desire on the part of Arab nations for peace, but today, the Arab League has come out for peace based on the 1967 borders and Syrian President Bashar Assad said he was ready to negotiate with any Israel government. “One is bad, the other is awful” and admitted his government would simply ignore the ideology of Israel politics and instead focus on how to reach peace with that nation. Assad said peace with Israel was very possible but normal relations would depend on establishing peaceful relations between Israel and a Palestinian government.

There is simply too much irony in the current situation in which Israel leaders now behave in the same manner they complained Arab leaders were acting twenty years ago. How ironic that Israel now has Arab nations prepared to negotiate for everything it wanted twenty years ago, but the entire process is hampered by decisions on the West Bank and in east Jerusalem. Is it possible for the people of Israel to regain their common sense and a realistic view of life in the Middle East?

Road To Peace Detours Through Damascus?

The majority of Americans still do not grasp the anger felt in many parts of the world by the arrogance of the Bush administration which pursued its version of spreading democracy regardless of the cost. President Bashar al-Assad, in an interview with the British Guardian, expressed his joy that Bush no longer occupies the presidency and that America can begin playing a role in fostering Middle Eastern peace. He believes Obama wants to bring Syria in from the cold and make it an important player in furthering peace in the region. Assad expressed his pleasure that Senator John Kerry and other American politicians are coming to Damascus to discuss issues of peace.

Assad was upset that a planned visit to Syria by General Petreaus was blocked by Bush.”We would like to have dialogue with the US administration. We would like to see him(Petraeus) here in Syria.” However, the Syrian leader was less than optimistic that any meaningful peace could arise from the incoming Israeli government. He also urged the EU and the United States to immediately engage in dialogue with the Iranian government.

Syrian President Now In Diplomatic Demand

Syria is enjoying a dramatic change in its place in the world since just a few years ago it was atop the Bush list of terrorist nations, but today its President Bashar Assad is courted and welcomed by many countries. Assad has been described by the American government as a prime supporter of terrorism, but Israel now seeks his cooperation in building bridges of peace. Assad is not a charismatic person nor does he pontificate as a populist leader of Arab masses, he is simply an ex ophthalmologist who for some strange reason is head of a nation that can play an important role in dealing with Middle Eastern concerns. Syria lies amidst Israel, Turkey, Iran and Iraq so it can either play a role assisting terrorists to function in other countries or it can clamp down on terrorism and help restore peace to the region.

During the past few months, Assad has been visited by French President Sarkozy, met with German Chancellor Merkel, joined in peace talks with Israel and visited Iran to discuss the nuclear weapon issue. Israel planes a few years ago destroyed what was described as the beginning of a nuclear plant, but today that is forgotten and world leaders work to persuade Assad to abandon the road of terrorism and pursue one of peace.

No one, as of yet, knows exactly which will be the road traveled by Assad.

Syria: Yes, No, Maybe On Peace With Israel

Syrian President Bashar Assad admitted there has been indirect negotiation with Israel that has enhanced possibility of peace between the two nations, but is still uncertain if the road to peace will succeed. “Today, there is a possibility of peace,” said Assad, “but nonetheless, we cannot sya that we are close to achieving peace. We are preparing for direct negotiations. When we reach that step, we will be able to say that we are approaching peace.” He emphasized that Turkey and French diplomats have been assisting the peace process. In an interesting aside, the Syrian president that while George Bush had dodged effort to achieve peace, “we have to wait for the new administration to know what its orientations are. Afterwards, we can speak of direct negotiations.”

A new American president will have a window of opportunity to initiate new initiatives to achieve peace in the Middle East. The question is whether domestic concerns will interfere with these efforts.

Syrian Key Leader Assassinated!

The murky waters of Syrian politics became ever more confusing with the assassination over the weekend of a key figures in the government of Bashar al- Assad. General Muhammad Seuleiman was killed by a sniper who was on a yacht off shore. Israel and Syrian opposition forces believe Suleiman worked closely with Hizbullah and may have opposed recent efforts to forge a peace agreement between Israel and Syria. Iran immediately accused Israel of being behind the murder, and Israeli sources refused to confirm or deny the accusations. Syria’s tightly controlled media did not event report the killing, but sources say he was killed while on beach.

Explanations for the murder range from internal Syrian conflicts over power and responsibility to Israel Mossad agents to a power struggle and so on. The main issue confronting Syria at this moment is: whether to pursue negotiations with Israel for a peace treaty, whether to continue working closely with Iran and Hizbullah, or simply to ignore the reality of power groups in the Middle East and remain isolated from the West.

Bashar Al Assad– Do Nothing Man Of Middle East

Several days ago there were reports in Israel newspapers that President Bashar al Assad of Syria had agreed to cooperate with Israel as part of an overall agreement that would end hostilities between the nations and would include Syria breaking its close ties to Iran. A few days after this report appeared, President Assad turned up in Iran where he was “to consult on the nuclear issue and the right of states to peaceful enrichment” and “exchange ideas aimed at clarifying Iran’s commitment to all international agreements.” Assad was assured by President Ahmadinejad that only discussions and diplomacy would be able to resolve the nuclear problem. President Assad informed President Sarkozy of France he asked Iran if it was working on a nuclear bomb and they replied in the negative.

Despite his discussions with Israel which undoubtedly included providing assurances Syria would not have close ties with Iran, the Syrian leader was having the best of all worlds — discussions with Israel, polite conversations with France, and warm embraces from Ahmadinejad. As of this point, Syria has yet to agree to anything but is being courted by everyone. Next on the agenda is an American decision to restore diplomatic relations with Syria.

In the tangled web that is the Middle East, perhaps, the best strategy is simply to sit tight and do nothing. Unfortunately, President Bush just never figured out the right way to succeed in the Middle East. He did something.