Should Syria and Israel Start Peace Talks Now?

My latest contribution to the Creative Syria Think Tank is up and running, alongside those of my dear friend, Ibrahim Hamidi, Patrick Seale and Ghayth Armanazi. As usual, people can read and vote on the various contributions.

How should the two countries plan for the talks in order to enhance the chances of success? What other related issues should be dealt with as part of the final solution? Continue reading “Should Syria and Israel Start Peace Talks Now?”

Of Grand Visions & Miniscule Leaders!

Many Israelis seem to be interested in advocating talks with Syria these days, including my former colleague at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, Avi Dichter, not to mention my other former colleague, but always the friend, Flynt Leverett, who wrote quite an analysis of US foreign policy in the latest issue of the American Prospect calling for the adoption of a new vision and a new approach, especially to the Middle East. Continue reading “Of Grand Visions & Miniscule Leaders!”

Of Lions and Termites!

The debate in the comments section below perhaps got unnecessarily heated, but Alex did make some “sober” points that I simply need to respond to equally as soberly I hope.

Indeed, demanding anything like “simultaneous goodwill gestures between the Syrian government and its Lebanese opponents,” and advising that “[i]f the Americans wanted peace in the Middle East, they should make a deal with Bashar,” seem based on the erroneous assumption that Bashar and his henchmen are indeed capable of behaving like true statesmen and not like the sectarian thugs that they are. People who insist on looking at the Assads of Syria as statesmen are in an unfortunate state of denial. Bashar has been out of his depth from the moment he stepped into office, Maher is an unreliable hothead, and Assef is a man obsessed with his sectarian identity and with the necessity of keeping Alawites in control of Syria at all costs. Continue reading “Of Lions and Termites!”

Why ignoring Syria is misguided

Ammar Abdulhamid & Moshe Maoz / Special to The Daily Star

It is time for U.S. President George W. Bush, following his re-election victory and the death of Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, to reconsider his Middle East policy. The Palestinian-Israeli problem is not going to be settled soon, even under Arafat’s successors. That’s why the second Bush administration should start by encouraging Israel and Syria to resume peace negotiations. Continue reading “Why ignoring Syria is misguided”