Bashar Assad, president of Syria claimed the recent Israeli air attack on his nation only resulted in damage to a deserted building. He argued Syria had he right to retaliate, but would not take advantage of that right because his nation seeks peace with Israel. Assad also noted Syria might attend the upcoming American sponsored Middle Eastern conference if there was a real possibility of dealing with substantive issues like the Golan Heights.
President Assad runs a right dictatorship in Syria, but he also may well have pragmatic needs for his nation. Return of the Golan Heights is a symbolic issue for his people and his willingness to discuss peace with Israel if he can secure its return is a healthy indication peace is possible. It is ironic that Assad, the dictator, is discussing issues of peace while a democratic Israel is discussing needs for war.