Friday, November 13, 2009

Assad Pulls An Arafat On Peace Prospects With Israel (Updated)

Then again, maybe Bashar learned the trick from his father...

To know if Syria is serious about peace with Israel, all you have to do is check the news.
What could be simpler?

Today, according to Reuters, Syria is ready to roll:

Syria urges firm U.S. plan on Middle East peace

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that U.S. President Barack Obama should come up with a firm plan of action to renew peace talks between Syria and Israel.

In an interview with French daily Le Figaro published on Friday, Assad said the dialogue initiated by Obama's administration had not gone "beyond an exchange of views."

Ditto Israel:

PM tries to jump-start talks with Syria

Opening up hope for some sudden progress on the Syrian front, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sent a verbal message to Syria on Wednesday, when he told French President Nicolas Sarkozy he would be happy to resume peace talks with Syria anytime, anywhere and without preconditions, a government source said.

The two leaders spoke at the Elysée Palace in Paris, the day before Syrian President Bashar Assad is expected to hold his own meeting in Paris with Sarkozy.

What could go wrong?
How about checking out what Assad says to his own people

Mideast radicals fill space left by peace impasse

"It would be wrong to think that peace will come through negotiating. It will come through resistance," Syrian President Bashar Assad said in a speech Wednesday - a sharp shift in tone for a head of state who, just a year ago, was in indirect peace talks with neighboring Israel and who has tried to warm ties with the U.S.

Which version of Syria's readiness for peace will we hear from Obama and Clinton?

UPDATE: Michael Totten notes the difference between Netanyahu and Assad in the search for peace:

There's a difference, though, between what Israel and Syria are up to right now. Unlike Netanyahu, Assad can get himself into trouble by talking about peace with the "Zionist Entity." When it looked like the elder Hafez Assad might sign a peace treaty with Israel in the 1990s, a prominent military officer warned him of the consequences. "What are you doing?" he said, according to an account by Lebanon's Druze leader Walid Jumblatt. "We will be lost if you make peace. We will be accused of treason.'"

So in the very same statement where he announced unconditional peace talks, Assad reassured his regional and domestic audience: "Resistance forms the core of our policy," he said, "both in the past and in the future."

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