The Israel government is currently engaged in discussions with Syria due to the mediation efforts of Turkey. An initial stumbling block in resolving the Golan Heights issue is the insistence on the part of Israel that Syria cut its ties with Iran and cease funding terrorist groups. There is a strong likelihood had such discussions taken place two or three years ago, the Syrian response would have been more positive, but pressure by the Bush administration and right wing Israeli groups made it impossible to conduct such negotiations. The situation has changed. Hizbullah has now become a dominant force in Lebanon which means Syria has a chance to reassert its power in that nation. “Timing” is a vital factor in achieving a nation’s foreign policy goals and there are signs the current time may not be that beneficial for Israel.
Iranian and Syrian Defense ministers met over the weekend in Tehran where they pledged cooperation. Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mahommad Najjar said “Damascus is a vitaland strategc ally of Iran” and emphasized there was need for a regional alliance to maintain security in the region. The meeting came a day after Syria rejected Israel’s preconditions that Syria must cut off relations with Iran. The Syrian government bluntly stated: “Damascus rejects all preconditions concerning its relations with other countries and peoples.”
Perhaps, it is time to consider the possibility of a regional meeting at which all concerned parties discuss possible compromise solutions to the issues they are confronting.