Tag Archives: Syria

Turkey Pushes For Israel-Syria Peace Agreement

The Turkish government is assuming a proactive role in seeking to create stability in the Middle East. Foreign Minister Ali Babacan is working with Israel and Syrian diplomats in an effort to resolve issues between those two countries in order to foster the creation of a Middle East that is not wracked by violence. Both Israel and Syria have agreed to allow Turkey to serve as mediator although Babacan is also drawing upon the expertise of Egyptian Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit to assist in ending the Syrian-Israel conflict. The mediation effort is currently hampered by political problems impacting Israel Prime Minister Olmert who will probably resign over corruption charges against him.

The Israel-Syria meetings reflect an important factor in the Middle East. It is important to remove the Bush-Rice tag to any mediation efforts because America has lost all credibility as an impartial nation. It is time to draw upon moderate Islamic nations such as Turkey and allow them to assume the role of working to create peace in the Middle East. The United States no longer has such a role to play as long as Bush is president of the country.

Israel Frustrated By Syrian Peace Moves

The Israel government increasingly is frustrated as Syria continues its diplomatic fight to gain support from nations such as France and Turkey in its efforts to secure the peace it desires from Israel. President Bashar Assad recently met with President Sarkozy of France and Turkey’s prime minister, Erdogan. As one Israel diplomat commented, “He(Assad) no longer needs to negotiate with us. he got out of his isolation, and now can put us on hold. He is now trying to blame us for the postponement.”(of negotiations). However, Turkish prime minister Erdogan insisted peace talks are continuing.

The lack of imagination on the part of Israel leaders over the past several years is among the key factors resulting in an impasse in resolving issues with Palestinians. Some Israelis believe time is on their side, it is not. Assad has gone from being an isolated dictator to an individual who attracts the attention of world leaders.

Syria Urges Peace With Iran

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said any attack on Iran would be a disaster not merely for the Middle East but for the entire world. “Nobody in the world will be able to bear the consequences of any action that is not peaceful because it would not result in a solution but in a disaster.” During his meeting with President Sarkozy, the Syrian leader emphasized the importance of relying on diplomatic approaches rather than resort to a military solution. In response, Sarkozy urged Assad to make clear to Iran the importance of working with the United Nations in resolving issues concerning its nuclear program.

Sarkozy has taken the lead in reaching out to Assad. He has promised economic aid if Syria will take steps to end imprisonment of political prisoners and restore the semblance of a democratic society. Assad and Sarkozy will join leaders of Turkey and Qatar in discussing possible solutions to the Israel-Palestinian problem and to the turmoil in Lebanon.

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.

Syria Moves Closer To Russia And An Arms Deal

Syrian leader Bashar Assad has been a strong supporter of Russia’s actions toward Georgia and expects to be rewarded for his friendship by receiving extensive shipment of arms, weapons and missile systems. He met with President Medvedev yesterday in Sochi and discussed the possibility of receiving anti-aircraft and anti-tank missile systems. At a time when Israel is now connected with the failed American effort to support Georgia in its ill fated invasion of South Ossetia, the Syrian government is giving unqualified friendship to its new found ally. “We understand the essence of the Russian position and it military response,” he told Medvedev. “We believe Russia was responding to the Georgian provocation…I want to express m y support for the Russian position in Abkhazia and South Ossetia…We oppose attempts to tarnish Russia’s position.”

Israel and many American Jewish supporters continually insist George Bush has been the best friend Israel ever had. Of course, Bush became the greatest recruiter of terrorists in human history by his ill founded Middle Eastern policies and the latest fiasco in Georgia has wound up with Israel’s enemies now receiving extensive military equipment from Russia. Perhaps, those who believe Bush is a great friend of Israel can explain exactly how his policies have improved peace in the Middle East. I certainly can not.

Israel Urges Russian Restraint On Arms To Arabs

There are still Israel and American Jewish leaders who believe the presidency of George Bush has helped Israel in its conflicts with Arab nations. However, last night, Prime Minister Olmert of Israel was on the phone to President Medvedev urging Russia not to increase sale of arms to Arab nations. Up to this point, the Russians have respected Israel pleas, but in the aftermath of the disastrous Bush encourage invasion of South Ossetia, the deck is now stacked in favor of more arms to Arab nations and groups. Syrian President Bashar Assad will be arriving in Moscow today to make certain Russian leaders know that Israel arms were supplied to the Georgian government. Assad wants more military and technical assistance from Russia which currently is furious at Israel for supplying military vehicles and explosives to Georgian military forces. “I think that in Russia and in the world everyone is now aware of Israel’s role and its military consultants in the Georgian crisis.”

The Omert argument to Medvedev is that any arms supplied to Georgia were done by private Israel companies and not by the government. Sorry, Prime Minister Olmert, that is not an argument that will sell anything in Moscow these days.

Israel has tied itself to the flag of George Bush and now it must pay the penalty for working with a warmonger who enjoys creating chaos where none existed.

Russia May Arm Arab Nations

One of the most common myths of Jewish supporters of George Bush is that his policies have somehow enhanced the safety of the Israel nation. Bush encouraged Israel to send military supplies to Georgia as part of his program of isolating Russia. Syrian President Bashar Assad recently concluded a visit to Russia which may set the stage for increased Russian military assistance not merely to Syria but to other Arab nations. Russia is furious at military aid provided by Israel to Georgia as well as that sent by the United States. Prime Minister Olmert warned Lebanon if it became a stronghold of armed resistance to Israel, his nation was prepared to take military action.

The full effects of the destabilizing consequences of Georgia invading South Ossetia have yet to play out their full potential. If Russia assumes a pro-active stance of supplying Hamas or Hizbullah, the entire Middle East will witness an Israel strike against militant groups which will further escalate violence in the region.

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.

Sectarian Fighting Rages In Lebanon

Lebanon is a nation blessed with natural beauty, but cursed by ongoing rivalry between opposing religious and sectarian factions which refuse to live in harmony with one another. Deadly gun battles between rival sectarian factions in the northern city of Tripoli have temporarily ended as the nation’s military entered the area in order to restore some semblance of peace and order. During the past few months dozens have people have been killed, and, as a resident in Bab Tibbaneh noted, “after the battles there is blood on the ground. Things will get worse. There is fear.”

In theory, the Doha agreement of last months created a national unity government in hope there could be an end to violence but there are so many groups and rivalries within Lebanon, the prospect of peace ever grows dimmer. The latest episode involved Alwaite gunmen who belong to a pro-Syrian party and Sunnis who oppose the Syrians. The Alawites are a small secretive sect of Islam who have close ties to fellow Alawites in Syria and fear being overwhelmed unless there is a Syrian presence.

Lebanon essentially has ceased to be a nation and is now reduced to rival groups vying for power.

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.