President Bashar Assad is ready for peace with Israel, US Senator Arlen Specter said Sunday after talks with the Syrian leader.We have to keep in mind that when Specter kvells over Israel's 'different atmosphere,' he is talking about what Olmert wants--Specter is not talking about what Israelis want:
Specter said Israel will have to return the Golan Heights for peace, adding that the United States has the potential to ''bridge the gap'' between Israel and Syria, who have not held peace talks since 2000.
Specter, a Republican from Pennsylvania, and Rep. Patrick Kennedy, a Rhode Island Democrat, held talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad on the last day of their two-day visit to Damascus.
Specter said he had the impression from the meeting that the time was very ''positive for productive talks between Israel and Syria.''
''There is a sense that he (Assad) is ready and the Syrian public opinion is ready (for peace),'' Specter said.
The atmosphere is ''very different in Damascus today and is very different in Jerusalem today'' in part because of last month's US-sponsored Middle East peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland, which Syria attended, Specter said.
Peace talks between the two countries collapsed in 2000 over the extent of an Israeli pullout from the plateau. In one poll this year, only 10% of Israelis supported a full withdrawal.No mention if Specter and Kennedy asked Assad if he would please stop assassinating Lebanese leaders, arming Hizbollah, and providing refuge for Khalid Meshaal. After all, no need to ruin a perfectly good photo op.
UPDATE: It would be a shame if Specter went to Syria to talk only about Israel, and not address Syria's share in the murder of US troops:
Syria's Baathist regime provides a base of operations for its Iraqi Baathist comrades involved in the Sunni insurgency. Suicide bombers from Saudi Arabia and North Africa arrive by plane in Damascus, and, with the help of facilitators, some 50 to 80 cross into Iraq each month. The Syrians say they lack the ability to stop them; what they lack is the intention.Just what was Specter doing in Syria anyway?
Crossposted at Soccer Dad