Monday, June 30, 2008


Washington Post A Surprise From Syria And Israel? By David Ignatius, What's going on between Syria and Israel?
Der Spiegel SYRIA TURNING TOWARD THE WEST? Assad's Risky Nuclear GameSyria and Iran may be better friends than many thought. Reports indicate that the two might have been cooperating on nuclear weapons research. Now, though, Damascus may be rethinking those ties and looking for friends in the West
Al Hayat Syria: Between the Brink of the Abyss and "Constructive" Ambiguity Abdullah Iskandar - While no one will risk offering a decisive interpretation of Syria relinquishing the brink-of-abyss policy, it is still difficult to predict how far the new Syrian approach will go.
CFR's Mohamad Bazzi says everyone gains if Syria returns to the center of the Arab world.
Al Ahram How strong is their alliance? The Syrian and Iranian regimes may have their differences, but their alliance is not going to end anytime soon, Basel Oudat reports from Damascus
French sources: Syria may 'rethink' ties with Iran
“What Syria stands for: The moral argument for US friendship with Syria,” by S. Farah
Al Awsat Syria: Between Tehran and Hezbollah
Watering the roots of peace Petra Marquardt-Bigman: An ambitious water project could help to bring reconciliation between Syria and Israel
IAEA Will Investigate Syrian Nuclear Mysteries By: Richard Weitz World Politics Review A delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency will visit Syria next week to assess recent American claims that the installation attacked by Israeli warplanes last year was indeed a nuclear reactor in the final stages of construction.
Yedioth Ahronoth 'Proof Syria built reactor' Le Monde reports IAEA has evidence proving Damascus was developing nuclear reactor
German Intelligence: Bombed Syrian Reactor Was for Iranian A-Bomb Development (AFP)
Syria Nuclear Allegations Fuel New Cold War
UN visits Syrian 'nuclear site' UN nuclear watchdog inspectors reportedly examine an alleged nuclear site in Syria which was bombed by Israel last year
Israel makes Syria nuclear claim
Strategic expert says idea was to share plutonium from site bombed by Israel last September
Can Syria avoid sanctions with a U.N. nuclear inspection? An IAEA team visits the site of an alleged nuclear weapons facility bombed by Israel in September.
'Syria planned to supply Iran nuclear fuel' Israel continues to defend its raid on Syrian site as speculations grow over possible attack on Iran
“Language Atlas of Syria” reviewed by Nikaolas van Dam
Israeli and Syrian leaders set for talks Sources say Olmert and Assad could hold face-to-face talks for first time in their countries' history next month
'Israel-Syria direct talks not far away' Olmert tells French paper negotiations could open once precise agenda, issues to discuss decided on
IDF Intelligence: Syria Benefits from Peace Talks with Israel
Sami Moubayed: Syria's Uninspired Youth

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Syrian Economy Requires a Peace Deal with Israel - Sami Moubayed (Gulf News-Dubai)
On the horns of dilemmaAbove all, the Syrian peace is characterized by periodicity. It breaks out, fades away and disappears until the next time around. As if there is no price to be paid for inexplicable delays.
Syrians Demand Golan Peace Offering -
Soner Çağaptay Turkey's Initiative for Syrian-Israeli PeaceEconomic and Political Isolation of Syria Crumbling FastDoes Syria consider itself Iran's Israel ?
Syria talks resume next week
Officials say negotiators to meet in Turkey, Arab media believes fate of Shebaa farms on agenda
Top Syrian plays down chances of direct talks with Israel
SyriaComment News Round Up (10 June 2008)

Lebanon's Dream Is Short-Lived By: Sami Moubayed Asia TimesEverything was going to be just fine after Lebanon's fractious politicians reached a landmark agreement last month. But beyond managing to elect a president, little else has been achieved, even the dream of a unity cabinet is fast receding
'Talks depend on withdrawal' Lebanon sends chilly response to PM's call for peace talks; says ceding Shebaa Farms a must
Israel Ready for Talks With Lebanon: PM
Skirmishes put Lebanon peace deal in doubt Security deals between warring factions have not taken hold, undermining the optimism that greeted a new peace accord. Most suspect the violence is politically motivated
Lebanon fault lines, MESH
A logic of power that threatens Lebanon by Michael Young
Israel fears Hezbollah may try to 'settle score' over Mughniyeh Lebanon rejects call for starting peace talks with Israel, citing demand for withdrawal from Shaba Farms

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Washington Post Editorial Israel's Syria Card Talks with Damascus about a peace deal are worth trying, but a breakthrough is probably a long way off.
Upbeat in Syria The Economist Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad, is reaping substantial benefits, both economic and political, from the Lebanese political deal agreed in Doha last month, for which he has modestly claimed much of the credit.
Ha’aretz Turkish, Israeli sources: Israel-Syria talks set to resume this week PM: Syria must be faced with a different alternative; Talks to start in Turkey, remain indirect
Israel-Syria talks to resume this week
Olmert's spokesman tells Post: "Moving to direct talks will be a sign of real progress."
'Israel-Syria talks to resume' Jerusalem, Damascus teams may meet as early as next week to resume direct peace talks
“An Israel-Syria deal is strategically vital for both,” by Shlomo Ben-Ami
Asia Times Iran fumes as Syria nods to Arab world Syria's rapprochement with "moderate" Arab states may be the rebirth of Syrian-Arab relations and a stepping stone for dialogue between Damascus and Washington. Considering Syria's indirect talks with Israel, it is also a step away from Tehran, which is not pleased, fearing a break between Syria and Iran on one front, and Syria and Hezbollah on another. - Sami Moubayed
Ha’aretz Turkey: U.S. backs mediation bid for Syrian-Israeli peace Turkish FM 'happy' over what he says is U.S. support for indirect peace talks between Jerusalem, Damascus
Syria Arming Hizbullah Despite Israel Talks
Assad Says Syria May Open Embassy in Lebanon
Justice Dept. Investigating Deportation to Syria
US presence blamed for Iraq woes Syrian Writer Says Peace Talks With Israel Threatened By "Incomplete Solutions"

Daily Star Hearing echoes of the 1970s in LebanonBy Rayyan al-Shawaf
Sarkozy's Shebaa Farms gambit has much to recommend it
Lebanon's Hezbollah Agrees to "Diplomatic" Solution to Shab'a Farms - Al-Arabiya
Iran on the Med? How Iran's influence in parts of Lebanon is growing

McClatchy U.S. seeking 58 bases in Iraq, Shiite lawmakers say The Iraqi government rejected the proposal during talks on a Status of Forces Agreement that would allow the U.S. to stay in Iraq after its U.N. mandate expires at the end of the year. Another U.S. demand the Iraqis say was rejected would let the U.S. decide when a hostile act had been committed against Iraq. Lawmakers said they feared it would trap them in a war between Iran and the U.S
Christian Science Monitor Talks to keep U.S. troops in Iraq provoke ire Proposal to extend America's military role years into the future meets lawmaker resistance, from Washington to Baghdad
Iran and Iraq agree defence pact
Iran and Iraq agreed to boost defence cooperation during a visit of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to Tehran, Iran’s official IRNA news agency said, giving few details on the content of the agreement

New York Times Editorial Threatening Iran Saber-rattling at Iran is not a strategy and an attack on it by either the United States or Israel would be disastrous
Cannot Be Ruled from Iran Dar Al-Hayat
Asia Times Iran shadow over US-Iraq security pact Ideally, the United States wants a long-term security agreement with Iraq that would allow US soldiers to remain indefinitely in the country and without restrictions. The Baghdad government's reluctance to sign onto such an accord reflects opposition at home as well as in Iran. But Tehran is prepared to deal, provided it gets a slice of the Iraqi security pie. - Kaveh L Afrasiabi
Pentagon blocked Cheney's attack on Iran United States Vice President Dick Cheney's plan in August 2007 to launch airstrikes against the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps was blocked by the Pentagon over concerns about Iran's retaliation capabilities. But Cheney's close alliance with Centcom chief General David Petraeus gives him the option of ignoring his opponents in Washington during the final months of the George W Bush administration. - Gareth Porter
Mother Jones The Cocktail Napkin Plan for Regime Change in Iran by Dave Wagner and Laura Rozen

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Syria: Between Negotiations with Israel and the Iranian Axis - David Schenker (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/ Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
Israelis reluctant to leave the Golan A peace deal with Syria will require Israel to relinquish the strategic annexed territory, but settlers say they will resist any move to end their cherished way of life
Oren The black channel and the White House As long as there are no Americans in the Israeli-Syrian story, there will never be any real progress in the negotiations between the two sides
Al Hayat Does the Hero Die?! Jameel Theyabi - For decades, Syria played to the tune of Arab nationalism, casting itself as the state of resistance and defiance. Some even raved that it was the Arab country that cemented Arab solidarity and resisted Israel
Analysis: Will Israel & Syria get serious? By CLAUDE SALHANI (UPI) -- Now that the "engagement announcement" has been made public, it remains to be seen if Israel and Syria will have the courage to go through with their rapprochement and if Damascus and Jerusalem will say "yes" to end the state of war that exists between their two countries and proceed to consummate the peace treaty
PM says Olmert requested Turkish mediation with Syria
SETA Turkey between Syria and Israel : Turkey ’s Rising Soft Power by Bülent Aras
Syrian Minister on Istanbul Talks With Israel, Lebanese Doha Agreement
BESA Why Time Is on Israel's Side - Efraim Inbar
NY Post Behind the Israel-Syria Talks - Amir Taheri Everyone had been dancing around the idea of Israel-Syria peace talks for at least a year. Why are they happening now? Will they get anywhere?
Joshua Landis Can a Syrian-Israeli Peace Agreement Be Reached? - Council on Foreign Relations
Wall Street Journal How to Have Successful NegotiationsBy Dennis Ross Nonstate actors should not be given something (recognition) for nothing
The Golan Heights and the Syrian-Israeli Negotiations - Dore Gold (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
Ma’ariv Israeli Army Intelligence Gives Slim Chances to Peace Agreement With Syria
Ha’aretz Israel-Syria talks 'put the Iranians in shock' Olmert says Israel made no promises to Syria, pledges renewed negotiations won't harm Palestinian front
Analysts: Syria-Israel Peace Deal Requires Shift in U.S. Policy
Ha’aretz Iran reportedly irate over Israel-Syria peace talks Sources: Ahmadinejad 'unable to conceal disappointment'; Olmert: Talks won't harm Palestinian front
Sami Moubayed: Syria's Misguided Optimism
NY Sun The Syrian Mirage – Editorial
IDF: Substantial Peace With Syria Comes With Substantial Price for Israel
Arab Writer Says Syria's Allies Concerned Over Syrian-Israeli Talks
Trusting Syria on the Golan Heights - Yossi Klein Halevi
The Syrian Talks Aren't Serious - Barry Rubin
Hamas "Very Disturbed" over Syrian-Israeli Peace Talks
Israel Serious about Peace with Syria
ANALYSIS / Can Syria break its Iranian bear hug?
Jerusalem Post'Assad has priorities other than peace' Barak agrees with Syria talks; PM says negotiations "won't be made through papers' headlines."
What's driving Syria? [ DAVID KIMCHE
Syria Won't Trade Iran Ties for Israeli Peace
Los Angeles Times Who gets the Golan? By Yossi Klein Halevi Israel has no reason to trust Syria in talks over that strategic area. The Israeli mainstream, so the truism here goes, is so desperate for peace that, in the end, it will overcome misgivings over relinquishing territory and mistrust of Arab intentions and endorse any diplomatic initiative aimed at solving the Middle East conflict.
SYRIA: Israeli hopes for a Tehran-Damascus rift collapse
Syria's Assad Dismisses Israeli Demand on Iran
Syrian talks offer more than hot air Reaction to the tentative peace talks between Syria and Israel ranges from high optimism that an accord will be signed this year to skepticism that no deal can ever be brokered as long as the George W Bush administration remains cool to the idea. Beyond any tangible deal, though, the talks send a message from the Syrians to the Iranians, as well as to the wider world, that they want to move forward. - Sami Moubayed
Ha’aretz Peres: If Assad wants peace, he should come to Jerusalem
Syrian Mufti Says Damascus Wants Dialogue With West, Peace With Israel
Syria to Increase Military Cooperation with Iran
CRS “Syria: Background and U.S. Relations,” updated May 1, 2008.

National Review THE EDITORS: Hezbollah is proving to be a very capable and determined force in Lebanon, and a great danger to the wider world as well. “Cedar Losing
A look at Lebanon's new leader Did the Hezbollah-led opposition succeed in translating this month's military victory in Beirut into political gains? (By Firas Maksad, Boston Globe)
Lebanese Crisis Ends: Hizballah Victory or Temporary Truce?
Time A New Man for Lebanon's Old Puzzle
The Times Eastern Promises
Will the peace accord in Lebanon last longer than its predecessors?
ANALYSIS / Lebanon political quiet comes with heavy price Suleiman's election is not the product of a democratic compromise, but of Hezbollah's threats and violence
The Lebanese election / Hezbollah's victories
Profile: General Michel Suleiman
Having ensured the unity of the army during Lebanon’s political stand-off, the army commander was the only candidate acceptable to the country’s rival factions
Meet Michel Suleiman, Lebanon's Next President (Ya Libnan-Lebanon)
The Doha Agreement: Hezbollah's Second Rescue Raghida Dergham - Sharm El Sheikh -- The Doha Agreement between the Lebanese parties is a breakthrough that may be transformed into a decisive achievement if Qatar manages to build a relationship between the state and the organized groups, a relationship that rests on the following self-evident concept: there can be no multiplicity of security in any stable country
The Economist Lebanon The prospect of a wider peace If Lebanon's latest deal holds, why not bring in Syria and Israel?
Washingto Times New president rises on army's neutrality Military commanders often ride to power atop a tank. But in Lebanon, the key to army chief Michel Suleiman's rise to the nation's presidency has been keeping his men out of the fight
Barry Rubin / The Fall of Lebanon — “If you have tears, prepare to shed them now....
Hizbullah Employs Shock and Awe in Beirut - Borzou Daragahi (Los Angeles Times)
Hizbullah Awaits the Next Round in Lebanon
America should help Lebanon (By Gary Anderson)
Lebanon Peace for a while An agreement stops the fighting but has by no means settled things for good
Will the International Community Abandon Lebanon?
That's for the Lebanese people to decide. Shmuel Rosner
Al Awsat Nasrallah Does Not Represent Lebanon : Tariq Alhomayed
Militancy, hedonism coexist in duality of Lebanon
Hassan Nasrallah is trapping himself By Michael Young
Daily Star Lebanon needs a Cabinet, not a new forum for reckless rhetoric
Alive or dead Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has remained in hiding for two years, for fear of ending up like his operations chief.
Deal Imminent between Israel and Hezbollah By: Ulrike Putz Der SpiegelIsrael and Hezbollah are once again close to a deal that would bring two kidnapped Israeli soldiers back home. Details of the agreement, negotiated by a German middleman, indicate that the two might not still be alive
Lebanon’s Christians boosted by Doha deal A new electoral law agreed at the talks could give the Christians a pivotal role after next year’s parliamentary elections

New York Times DAVID BROOKS The Reality Situation We don’t understand the Iranians because the Iranians don’t understand themselves. Until they resolve their internal ambiguity, they won’t be able to make a strategic shift
Asia Times Now it's a blockade against Iran The call this week in a US media report for the George W Bush administration to drop its diplomatic efforts to get Tehran to freeze its uranium-enrichment program and instead mount a "month-long naval blockade of Iran's imports of refined gasoline" is as much a threat to Iran as it is to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. - Jim Lobe
Christian Science Monitor US-Iran regional power plays shift Iran's 'axis of resistance' may seem ascendant, but new chances for peace could redefine game in US's favor.
Asia Times A giant backward step on Iran The International Atomic Energy Agency's latest report on Iran - like previous ones - gives no evidence of safeguard breaches by Tehran in its nuclear program, that is, there is no move towards it making nuclear weapons. Yet the uncharacteristic - and sudden - negative tone of the report has played right into the hands of those who thirst in their desire to accuse Iran of nuclear proliferation. - Kaveh L Afrasiabi (
Guardian The road to peace in Iraq runs directly through Tehran
Jonathan Steele: Hysteria over this week's arms report is misplaced, and US attempts to cast Iran as the villain of the region can only backfire