2009 Syria: An Assessment at Year’s End

Lebanon: Qifa Nabki provides an assessment of Syrian relations with Lebanon and the region for 2009 [We will add more as they come in.... Please add your contribution to the comment section of this post. We will review relations with each of Syria’s neighbors and with the states that have a large impact on it. Comments should be directed toward one particular section so that they will fit into the overall structure of the post without lots of repetition.]

I think that the Syrian government had a good year, as far as its relations with Lebanon were concerned. The parliamentary elections ended with a pretty ideal result: a win for March 14, followed by the self-destruction of March 14.  This meant that Syria did not have figure out how to run pass coverage for what would have surely been portrayed in the Western media as a “Hizbullah government”. At the same time, though, the defection of Jumblatt and the general fractiousness of the remaining coalition partners meant that M14 no longer posed a credible threat to Syrian interests.

The formation of a national unity government — enfranchising the Doha Accord as the new powersharing mechanism in Lebanon, at least for the time being — formalized the stop-gap mechanism that Syria has sought, with regard to the weapons of Hizbullah.

The rapprochement with Saudi Arabia seems to have inaugurated a new agreement over Lebanon. It’s not quite a condominium like the one that existed from 1990-2004, but the two countries seem to have agreed to stop making life difficult for each other in Beirut, in exchange for cooperating on matters like Iraq.

It’s not clear what Syria’s long-term aim is for the Lebanese file. Some believe that it wants nothing less than to re-establish control over Lebanon, albeit without having the expense of keeping its army posted there. Others say that its interests in Lebanon are purely instrumental: using Hizbullah as a card in its effort to regain the Golan, and in its bid for greater regional clout.

What’s clear to me is that Syria is trying to diversify its relationships in the region, distributing its eggs from the “axis of resistance” basket (Iran, Hizbullah, Hamas) to other players. This does not amount to a potential “flip”, as the State Department is hoping for, unrealistically. Those allies remain too valuable to Damascus. But as Tehran looks increasingly vulnerable and the credibility of the regime there is challenged, Syria’s cache as an interlocutor diminishes. This is where its relations with Turkey make much more sense, as does its rapprochement with Saudi Arabia.

Comments (159)


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151. Shai said:

Norman, Yossi,

There is no such thing as too late. One courageous leader with foresight can change everything.

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January 13th, 2010, 9:36 am

 

152. Akbar Palace said:

“The point is, no sane people would allow unrandom Occupation, Suffocation, and Subjugation of their people, mainly due to the inabilities of the Occupying Power to find ample reasons to leave the Territories and People it rules over (which occurs nonstop, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, and decade after decade).”

Shai,

Thanks for editing my response to the paragraph above. You may think this is a way to show some sort of “moral equivalence”, it doesn’t.

First of all, the occupation isn’t “random”. Whereas the border between Gaza and Israel is no longer disputed, the West Bank border is. Yet, nearly all the violence is concentrated along the Gaza border. The ample reason is a border dispute. Israel could unilaterally withdraw to the 1967 border, but without a peace treaty, violence will continue as the Lebanon, Gaza, and pre-’67 data points show. I find these to be “ample reasons”. The braindead will not find these to be ample reasons. The braindead created the Oslo Accords. The braindead do not learn from their mistakes.

I give Ehud Barak very little credit for anything since his “ascension” to politics, but even this of Israel’s highest-decorated officers wisely remarked once: “I too, if I were a Palestinian, would belong to a “terrorist group”…” He was being honest, he wasn’t advocating violence or the killing of innocent Jews and non-Jews. He, for a split second, understood the other side. He, for a second, became a non-braindead-Leftist.

I give Barak more credit than the Israeli-left. At least he made a real effort. The Israeli Left fill Israeli blogs, websites, universities and write books. Other than that, they just don’t do much to make peace.

a. Hamas isn’t just “an organization” – it’s part of the Palestinian people, it IS the Palestinian people.

I admit there is a Palestinian people. That much has been established over the decades as the Palestinians fought and created a leadership and a formula for living with the State of Israel. However, Hamas is not recognized as the voice of the Palestinians, the Palestinian Authority is. If the PA is officially controlled by Hamas, then, I suppose, line of communication between the GOI and the PA would shut down.

A people, you can’t finish.

Correct. You can’t “finish” the Palestinian people and you can’t “finish” the Jewish people.

Good job.

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January 13th, 2010, 2:16 pm

 

153. Ghat Albird said:

AP confesses:=

“I admit there is a Palestinian people. That much has been established over the decades as the Palestinians fought and created a leadership and a formula for living with the State of Israel.”

So does Rabbi Yaacov Perrin admits to the existance of the Palesteinian people when he was quoted as saying, “One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail.” —

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January 13th, 2010, 3:15 pm

 

154. Shai said:

“However, Hamas is not recognized as the voice of the Palestinians, the Palestinian Authority is.”

Come again? Who doesn’t recognize Hamas as the voice of the Palestinians, besides Israel and the U.S., those same two parties that pushed the Palestinian people to free and democratic elections so hard, that when they finally delivered, neither accepted the results!

You may consider again linking “Braindead” to Oslo. To remind you, if you conveniently forgot, our very own Netanyahu supported Oslo! It wasn’t just “The Left” that created and followed it to its unfortunate deathbed. Please don’t pretend it’s The Left that makes things so difficult. Last time The Left was in power was a decade ago!

And please don’t pretend The Left carries on a liberal policy, any more than The Right. Since you support the Occupation of Palestine, you should be far more of a Leftist than I – who do you think built more settlements during that miserable 42 year history, the Right or the Left?

Lastly, you may wish to check up on how the world views any of the territories under Israeli Occupation since 1967. I have yet to see a single nation on the face of this planet that recognizes either the Golan, the West Bank, or Gaza, as “territory under dispute”. But you know, small details…

(p.s. Yes, the Occupation is certainly NOT “random”. That was the point.)

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January 13th, 2010, 3:55 pm

 

155. Akbar Palace said:

So does Rabbi Yaacov Perrin admits to the existance of the Palesteinian people when he was quoted as saying, “One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail.”

Ghat Albird,

Thanks for changing the subject. Your previous post about the “poor girl” didn’t garner much relevance; I could post pictures of poor people all over the world.

As for this rabbi, I don’t know who he is. Was/is he an Israeli MK? Kahane used to utter such nonsense, however, because of his racism, he was kicked out of the Knesset. Lokk it up Ghat.

I am more interested in government representatives, government policy, and comments made by people currently in positions of power. In this case, the current Likud (aka “hardline”) Israeli government recognizes a Palestinian people and a Palestinian state. Strangely, the Palestinians do not.

Surprised again?

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January 13th, 2010, 4:00 pm

 
 

157. Ghat Albird said:

AP’s challenge:-

“Your previous post about the “poor girl” didn’t garner much relevance; I could post pictures of poor people all over the world.

Why not prove your challenge an post pictures of “poor little Israeli girls” like the one shown on SC?

That or those photos one can guarantee ” garners ” of mucho relevance.

Que pensez vous Grand Palais?

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January 13th, 2010, 4:59 pm

 

158. Akbar Palace said:

Que pensez vous Grand Palais?

Ghat,

Grand Palais thinks you rely too much on myth, the Arab and Western medias.

http://www.jewishjournal.com/articles/item/poverty_in_israel_the_divide_deepens_between_the_haves_and_havenots_2007030/

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/954320.html

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January 13th, 2010, 6:48 pm

 

159. Samir S. Halabi said:

My family fled Aleppo, Syria in 1947 just after the anti-Jewish riots took place, killing many Jews, destroying Synagogues, homes and businesses. Some of our family members were killed in that ‘Pogrom’ I can tell you this we are still tracking some of those perpertrators and their descendants down, we will have our justice which is an eye for an eye. There was almost 1,000,000 Jewish refugees from the arab world in 1948, we outnumbered the arabs of the Post British Mandate of Palestine by almost two to one. We lost far more, the real-estate that we the jews of the arab world owned was five times greater than the whole of Israel today. There will be no peace between israel and the rest of the arab-world until you recognize our plight, the parallel problem of the jewish refugees of the arab-world.

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September 22nd, 2011, 6:31 am

 

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