January 20, 2007


Palestinian president in Damascus for crucial talks with Hamas chief (albawaba.com, 20-01-2007)

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas was in Damascus for talks with Syrian leaders and Palestinian factions aimed at ending a battle for power with the rival Hamas party. Abbas was greeted at the Damscus airport by Foreign Minister Walid Moallem and then went to the presidential palace for talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Abbas could also hold a meeting with the exiled political chief of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal. Asked about a possible meeting with Meshaal, Abbas told reporters on his arrival in Damascus Saturday: "All the parties are present here. Those who want to meet will be welcome to."

The front is in Damascus.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 20, 2007 10:39 AM

This is a time when Israel's interests diverge from America's. For Israel, Iran is more dangerous than Syria. America, meanwhile, could benefit from rapprochement with Iran, but could nail, or at the least put the screws to, Syria, for ideological reasons, to preserve Nixonian "credibility," to sharpen the Sunni-Shia divide, to avenge Rafik Hariri, and a number of other reasons. We stand to gain nothing by talking to Syria: we already have a few too many preudo-friends among Arab autocrats.

What I see here is a sort of two-step: Israel talks to Syria; the US talks to Iran. Afraid of rising Shia power, the Sunnis have a new incentive to de-escalate with Israel, and Syria (a Sunni country, and Arab, even if they're leaders are crypto-Shiites) leads the way here. Meanwhile, the US aligns with Iraq/Iran.

While still staying friends with Israel of course, since our friendship has a basis deeper than temporary alignments of interests. This is the democracies' long-run advantage: the mutual altruism of democratic peoples.

Posted by: Nathan Smith at January 20, 2007 5:23 PM

We need to wait until the Iranians dump Ahmedinejad and help the Syrians ditch Assad.

Posted by: oj at January 20, 2007 6:14 PM

Our interests are served by Israel's interests.

Our interests are to conquer, to rule, and to dominate. Israel is our hostage to empire, our pretext and our insurance against loss of nerve.

Posted by: Lou Gots at January 20, 2007 11:00 PM

They're the ones who've lost their nerve. Sharon just has them out ahead of the demographic curve for awhile.

Posted by: oj at January 20, 2007 11:46 PM

We need to wait until the Iranians dump Ahmedinejad and help the Syrians ditch Assad.

I am not holding my breath.

Posted by: Joseph Hertzlinger at January 21, 2007 3:40 AM

Mahmoud will be gone before W.

Posted by: oj at January 21, 2007 8:04 AM
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