Economic and Political Isolation of Syria Crumbling Fast

A French firm is to build two big cement factories in Syria worth $1.2 billion. It breaks the western embargo on doing big deals in Syria, imposed since the extension of Lahoud's presidency in 2004. Assad is to travel to Paris once the new cabinet is settled in Lebanon, perhaps for Bastille day in Paris. This should bring down what barriers remain in Europe to doing business with Syria. It will be interesting to see what effect this will have on international banks, which are reluctant to participate in Syrian deals because of the various layers of US sanctions.

Syrie: Lafarge remporte deux contrats de 1,2 md USD pour deux cimenteries
08/06/2008-[16:57] – AFP

DAMAS, 8 juin 2008 (AFP) – La Syrie a signé avec le géant français Lafarge deux contrats de près de 1,2 milliard de dollars pour la construction de deux cimenteries en Syrie, a indiqué dimanche le quotidien officiel As-Saoura.

“La Syrie a signé deux importants contrats avec le géant français Lafarge pour la construction de deux cimenteries à Damas et à Alep (nord-ouest) d’un coût atteignant près de 1,2 md de dollars”, a affirmé le journal citant un responsable du gouvernement français. Ces deux usines, dont la construction doit commencer en 2008, “sont parmi les investissements étrangers les plus importants en Syrie”, selon le journal. En 2007, les exportations de la Syrie vers la France se sont élevées à 700 millions de dollars, alors que les exportations de la France vers la Syrie ont atteint 500 millions de dollars, selon as-Saoura. As-Saoura évoque aussi un projet français pour “agrandir et exploiter le port de Lattaquié”, dans le nord-ouest de la Syrie, ainsi que des projets du groupe de distribution français Carrefour pour ouvrir ses premiers supermarchés en Syrie. Une usine de fromage Bel-Syrie, construite par le groupe français Bel et inaugurée en septembre 2005, avait constitué le premier investissement français direct en Syrie, hors domaine pétrolier.

Tough Words From This Cheney on U.S. Mideast Policy
By Michael Abramowitz
Monday, June 9, 2008; Page A15
Wash Post

Looks as though another former Bush administration official is off the reservation. But don't expect the kind of fierce counterattack the White House and its friends waged recently against former press secretary Scott McClellan after the release of his tell-all book.

On a panel at last week's American Israel Political Affairs Committee convention, former State Department official Elizabeth Cheney described the Annapolis peace process as "misguided," said the United States had been "fundamentally mistaken" to push for elections in Gaza and suggested that the Bush administration has not been tough enough with Syria.

"In my view, this administration has gotten it right when we have been bold, when we have been decisive, when we have been focused, when we have used our military force when necessary," Cheney said at the conference, according to a recording posted on the AIPAC Web site. "Where we have been less effective and less successful is when we have been unfortunately not so bold, when we have not held [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad to account for the assassination of Rafiq Hariri, for the killing of American soldiers inside Iraq, for his support to Hezbollah."

Cheney is, of course, a private citizen who until early 2006 worked as a principal deputy assistant secretary of state in the Near East Bureau before leaving to have her fifth child. She is also close to her father, Vice President Cheney — so much so that when she was at State, people assumed her views reflected his perspective.

Whether they do now is unknown. But judging from her remarks at AIPAC, Liz is one Cheney unhappy with key elements of U.S. Mideast policy, from Lebanon and the peace process to how the White House dealt with elections in the Palestinian territories. She was also critical of Israel's performance in the 2006 war in Lebanon, citing "Israel's inability, unwillingness to do what was necessary . . . to fundamentally deal a blow to Hezbollah."

"I think that getting back to a situation where our enemies in the region understand that America will stand up for its friends, that America will stand up for its principles and that we have red lines is critically important," Cheney told the friendly audience at AIPAC. "When those red lines aren't there, when our enemies like Iran and Syria begin to believe that they can act with impunity, you see situations like you have got in Lebanon today — where Hezbollah now has a veto over that government, where Hezbollah will be able, I fear, to significantly continue its efforts to rearm in southern Lebanon, continue to threaten Israel and allow Iran a real chokehold on the region."

Cheney offered critiques in a number of key areas. One was the decision, which went all the way up to President Bush, to push Israel to allow elections in the Palestinian territories, which ultimately led to Hamas taking power in Gaza.

"The United States was fundamentally mistaken to push for those Palestinian elections in Gaza," Cheney said, drawing applause. "I think that at the time there wasn't anybody that I spoke to in the Palestinian government . . . or the Israeli government who thought those elections were a good idea."

At another point, Cheney appeared to suggest that it was a mistake for the United States to invite Syria to participate in last November's Annapolis conference: "It makes it much easier for the Europeans, for example, to say, 'Well, look, if you're not isolating Syria, if you are inviting the Syrians to Annapolis for a peace conference, why should we isolate the Syrians?' "

The Syrian Press (All4Syria.org) translated Saturday's SC post in which a high Israeli intelligence source is quote claiming that Bashar al-Asad is in control and supported by the Syrian street for not selling out the interests of his country.

مصادر استخباراتية إسرائيلية: الأسد يتمتع بدعم الشارع
08/06/2008

خاص – (كلنا شركاء)

نشر موقع سيريا كومنت على الانترنت الذي يديره الصحفي الأميركي جوشوا لانديز، (مدير مركز دراسات السلام في جامعة أوكلاهوما) رسالة نسبها إلى مقربين من "مصادر مخابراتية إسرائيلية رفيعة المستوى" تناولت تقييما لآصف شوكت، رئيس شعبة المخابرات العسكرية السورية، وزوج أخت الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد.
ونقلت الرسالة عن المصادر الإسرائيلية تأكيدها أن الأسد هو من يمتلك السيطرة الكاملة على الوضع في دمشق، ونفيها وجود أي تهديد له الآن على ما يبدو. وأضافت الرسالة أن الرئيس الأسد هو صاحب القرار في ما الذي يقال ولمن يقال وفي أي موضوع….
ثم نقلت الرسالة المقتضبة، عن المصادر ذاتها، أن شوكت لا يعرف شيئاً عما يجري وأن فاروق الشرق تم تحييده جانباً وأن وليد المعلم هو المسيطر اليوم على السياسة السورية الخارجية.
وختمت الرسالة بإظهار قناعة الأوساط الاستخباراتية الإسرائيلية بأن الأسد يتمتع بدعم الشارع السوري، لأنه بحسب المصادر، أثبت أنه لن "يبيع" مصالح بلاده.

Upbeat in Syria
Jun 6th 2008
From the Economist Intelligence Unit ViewsWire
Why President Bashar Assad is feeling cock-a-hoop

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. The ruler of Qatar visited him in Damascus to thank him for his role in the Doha agreement, and Mr Assad followed this up with visits to the UAE and Kuwait, from which he obtained generous promises of aid, including 500,000 tonnes of wheat to be purchased on Syria’s behalf by Abu Dhabi. The rehabilitation of his political reputation—which had been tarnished by association with brutal events in Lebanon and repression at home—is set to be completed by an appearance at the Mediterranean summit to be hosted by France’s president Nicolas Sarkozy on July 13th.

Assad to the rescue

What has Mr Assad done to deserve this unaccustomed adulation? By his own account, he has done no more than to remain consistent, waiting patiently for others to see sense. At a forum in Dubai Mr Assad said that when the Doha talks seemed to be on the brink of collapse, the ruler of Qatar called on Syria to provide some suggestions. “The ideas we provided were the exact same ideas we provided the French last year when they were mediating”, Mr Assad said, according to a transcript provided on the Syria Comment blog. “However, the French then did not comprehend or did not implement the ideas correctly.” He attributed this failing on the part of the French government to the mistaken assumption that Syria could speak and act on behalf of its allies in Lebanon, whereas in fact Syria was merely interested in furnishing practical solutions.

Mr Sarkozy had declared at the end of December that he would have no further dealing with the Syrian government until he was convinced that Mr Assad was prepared to allow Lebanon to have a consensus president. Following the election of Michel Suleiman as president of Lebanon, Mr Sarkozy has been true to his word, and has been in contact with Mr Assad once more, calling him on the telephone and dispatching two of his senior advisers to Damascus, presumably with an invitation to the Paris summit.

Sarkozy’s prize

If Syria is to be reclassified as a force for stability in the Middle East, France clearly wants to derive some credit. The benefits for Mr Sarkozy include both securing a potentially valuable new recruit to his Mediterranean union project and the prospect of major commercial deals—a French consultant is working on engineering designs for the Damascus metro, a project that would appear to be tailor-made for French contractors, and the Toulouse-based Airbus Industrie could be in line for a contract to re-equip Syria’s national airline, whose fleet is now down to just six serviceable aircraft, according to the transport minister, Yarob Badr.

Economic considerations are likely to have played an important part in Syria’s recent push for international respectability—which has included embarking on peace talks with Israel and inviting the International Atomic Energy Agency (somewhat belatedly) to visit Syria and examine US claims that the building bombed by Israel last September was intended to house a covert nuclear reactor. The Syrian economy performed relatively well in 2005 and 2006 thanks to the beneficial effects of the Gulf boom, good harvests and capital inflows from Iraqi refugees. However, the picture does not look so bright now following two poor harvests, further depletion in oil production and a drop-off in Iraqi funds, as refugees have by now largely used up their savings….. (Read the rest)

Economic and Political Isolation of Syria is Crumbling very Fast

India's Ex-import bank extends first loan to Syria, whose imports from India expanded 45% last year.  

Syria, Interpol To Co-Host Damascus Counterterrorism Conference; MEMRI translation: Source: Teshreen, Syria, June 8, 2008


On June 18-19, Damascus will host a conference on fighting terror in the Middle East and North Africa.

The conference, a joint venture of the Syrian Interior Ministry and the Interpol general secretariat, will be attended by Interpol Director-General Ronald K. Nobel. Invitees include representatives of countries dealing with counterterrorism in the Middle East and North Africa.

LA Times New forces fraying US-Saudi oil ties

Surging prices, along with a weak dollar and an oil-thirsty Asia, have blunted America's leverage with the key oil producer and helped sour the two nations' relationship

Surging prices, along with a weak dollar and an oil-thirsty Asia, have blunted America's leverage with the key oil producer and helped sour the two nations' relationship

David Kaiser, History Unfolding: A must read on President Bush's speech in Israel.

A Presidential speech

Paging through the New York Times, I found that a certain Michael Vlock of Orange, Connecticut had purchased not one, but two full pages of the first section to reprint President Bush's entire speech to the Knesset. He argued that despite the controversy provoked by the speech in the United States, almost no Americans had had the opportunity to read it all. I did. …

President Bush is noted for his ability to speak in code, particularly to religious supporters. His use of words that will be understood by Christian Evangelicals has often been remarked upon, but before the Knesset, he did the same with respect to religious Zionists. The founding of Israel in 1948, he said, was "more than the establishment of a new country. It was the redemption of an ancient promise given to Abraham and Moses and David–a homeland for the chosen people Eretz Israel. [sic]" In short, he invoked the Old Testament as the authority for redrawing the map of the Middle East. Although he may not know it, a minority of religious Zionists in Israel (including, in the 1950s, Menachem Begin) have long argued that the Israelis must settle all the lands that the Lord promised Abraham, including not only the West but the East Bank of the Jordan River. (In his book on peace with Egypt, Ezer Weizmann, a more secular Zionist, reported that Begin in the 1950s wrote articles with titles like "Amman Too Shall be Ours.") Certainly they will draw comfort from the President's speech.
 .
That, however, was not all. In the very next sentence the President linked the Zionist enterprise to the settling of North America by Europeans in the 17th century. "The alliance between our governments is unbreakable, yet the source of our friendship runs deeper than any treaty." [That in itself is a fascinating sentence–does the President actually know that there is in fact no treaty of alliance between the United States and Israel?] "It is grounded in the shared spirit of our people, the bonds of the Book, the ties of the soul. When William Bradford stepped off the Mayflower in 1620, he quoted the words of Jeremiah: 'Come let us declare in Zion the word of God.' The founders of my country saw a promised new land and bestowed upon their towns names like Bethlehem and New Canaan."
Now the President has history on his side here: that was indeed how those original settlers saw themselves. But in succeeding centuries, as more and more people of different religions (and of no religion at all) settled in the United States, we obviously abandoned such a vision in favor of a nation and a world based upon impartial laws, in which religion became a private, though protected, matter. To link the United States and Israel as two nations acting out God's will on earth strikes me as the perfect mirror image of Osama Bin Laden's call for Jihad against the Zionist-Crusader alliance–as well as the perfect confirmation of Bin Laden's propaganda.
Iranian Leader: U.S. Military Is Iraq's Top Problem: AP

"Occupiers who interfere in Iraq's affairs through their military and security might … are the main problems," Iran's state television quoted Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as saying Monday.

Khamenei said Iraqis have to "think of a solution to free" themselves from the U.S. military. Though he did not explicitly mention the security agreement, he said Iraqis _ not Americans _ must decide the fate of their country.

Sarkozy highlights push to reconciliation, support for LAF during visit to Beirut 

Comments (34)


1. Observer said:

If Iran vetoes the SOFA agreement in Iraq or is blamed for the Iraqis rejecting it or if Maliki falls due to the fact that his coalition is crumbling then the current administration will find it very hard NOT to attack Iran either directly or through a provocative Israeli move.

The question is whether the markets will be able to sustain such a turmoil even for the short term.

In the face of the decline of the leverage of many a former power, there is on the one hand some panick and extreme nervousness in many a leader such as Sarko and Brown and Berlusconi, but also Cheney father and daughter. On the other hand there is a desire to use force to intimidate a host of emerging powers and this is where the attack with tactical nuclear weapons on Iran will serve a dual purpose.

Edouard Baladur wrote a 120 page essay wanting to have the US the EU and the Japanese create a common currency to face off the ever precarious state of instability that comes from speculation and declining purchasing power of the greenback.

My friends and colleagues are extremely worried as the recession is truly hitting home with many people reducing their expenses and limiting their traverls. It is going to be extremely difficult to handle both foreign and economic policy at the same time.

The speech by the head of the administration at the Knesset clearly shows that there is significant disconnect not only with reality but also with actual history. It reminds me of the last days of Begin when he no longer was able to differentiate between the war he was waging in Lebanon with the ancient Biblical battles between the Israelites and their enemies. This is when the political establishment quietly removed him from office and confined him to a home psychiatric treatment plan.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

June 9th, 2008, 6:35 pm

 

2. Qifa Nabki said:

Observer

How do you interpret Syria’s position in all of this (showdown over SOFA in Iraq, Maliki’s visit, etc.)?

Even if it’s not a military attack, there seems little doubt that there is some kind of confrontation on the horizon. Syria could well be caught in the middle, now that Bashar has started to sidle towards the Arabs (not to mention the Israelis, Europeans, and yes even the Americans).

What’s your impression?

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

June 9th, 2008, 7:14 pm

 

3. Observer said:

Syria is to be pealed away from Teheran that is the reason the Golan is being offered. The true test of the seriousness of the intentions of the Israelis is if they are willing to go back to the line of June 4 1976 that is on the shores of Lake Tiberias which is the major water source of the country and whether they are willing to allow Syria to have access to the water resources of the Golan heights as well.

If you want to hit Iran, you have to be sure that Syria is out of the equation and that you will not have the thousands and thousands of missiles pointed at you ready to go off the minute you attack.

Syria now can play it both ways remaining true to its declared pan arab identity and mission while at the same time keeping its strategic alliance with Iran intact as the later has moved to become the maker and breaker or the binder and looser of issues in both Iraq and Afghanistan and has moved towards complete technological independence.

Now it is interesting that Michael Ledeen in the WSJ over the WE and Thomas Friedman in the NYT have both written opinion articles villifying Iran and casting it in the same light as that of the menace of Fascist ideology pre WWII.

This is the same rethoric that was used to prepare the ever so gullible US population for another war and this time, people are going to be told that the price of gaz is exhorbitant because Iran is responsible for the tension and your life and your lifestyie are being decided in Tehran.

Now many of you commentators are of an educational level that makes you think that this is truly fantasy land, but I work daily with people that are blue collar in the operation room and I can assure you that they will believe anything the administration and Fox news tells them.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

June 9th, 2008, 8:34 pm

 

4. ausamaa said:

Come on guys, what “Syria is pealed off Iran” stuff are you talking about? and what merits a question like:”If Iran vetoes the SOFA agreement in Iraq or is blamed for the Iraqis rejecting it or..”?

Of course Iran will reject it and will actively “assist” Iraqies in rejecting that agreement. What kind of signal did you think yesterday”s shooting at the Brits in Basra was? And where and how do you see Syria Pealed Off from anybody? And where do you see a Syria-Israeli talks affecting Syria’s relations with Iran?

As in: Syria, help us sign up the Iraqies now, and then take care of the Iranians if need be, and meanwhile, you are negotiating peace with Israel, aint you?!

More like wishfull thinking necon style!

Everyone is right where they are… same positions.. except good ol’ Dubbya who seems innocently lost amidst all this. With Chenny nagging at him: Man, I told you, we should have “done” them all long ago!!

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

June 9th, 2008, 9:00 pm

 

5. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

I think Landis is jumping to conclusions based on very little data. By the way, cement factories are notrious environmental hazards.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

June 9th, 2008, 10:28 pm

 

6. ausamaa said:

Not as notorious as the hazards caused by the Israelli nuclear reactor at Dimona.

You seeing a shrink kid? If not, please contact one ASAP.

Look who is talking!!!! Cant you just keep quite for even a little while????

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

June 9th, 2008, 11:06 pm

 

7. why-discuss said:

Aussama, I agree. I just can’t believe Israelis could be so naive to think that Syria will dump its rewarding relation with the only powerful regional actor to regain the Golan! Bashar is not Saddam , he is not after an ego trip, he is patient and quiet and he seems to know where to put his priorities, the proof is that Syria is at the center of intensive courting from Europe and Asia.
The Israelis are grinding their teeth but I doubt they will go ahead with an attack on Iran. They would rather cowardly intimidate the Gaza Strip and make noisy declarations threatening Iran with words.
Israel may be an economic success but politically it is and will remain a vulnerable and US dependent state until it finds its away to peace with its neighbours.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

June 9th, 2008, 11:08 pm

 

8. Qifa Nabki said:

Sarkozy’s Shebaa Farms gambit has much to recommend it
By The Daily Star

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Editorial

New comments from French President Nicolas Sarkozy offer hope for a resolution of one of the most complicated issues facing Lebanon today, that of Israel’s continuing occupation of the Shebaa Farms. The implications of a solution are nothing less than startling. First and foremost, the matter of Hizbullah’s arms would take on a whole new light, presumably making it easier to integrate them and the men who have wielded them into the arsenal of the state – which would then become far more formidable. In addition, such a development would also make it possible at last to demarcate the entirety of Lebanon’s border with Syria, a key sticking point in efforts to establish diplomatic relations between Beirut and Damascus.

Perhaps the best part of Sarkozy’s approach is that it has resurrected one of slain Prime Minister Rafik Hariri’s tenets, namely that Shebaa should not be decoupled from other regional issues. He had his critics for holding that view, of course. Some Lebanese were (and are) too enamored of defeatism and/or of denigrating Hizbullah to acknowledge it, but the farms are Lebanese – a fact confirmed most clearly several years ago by an Israeli academic named Asher Kaufman. There was (and is) no talking to them. Others have taken a more subtle view, arguing that Hariri’s approach risked tethering Shebaa to the adjacent Golan Heights, also occupied by Israel, and therefore preventing Lebanon from ever achieving a separate peace.

There are many problems with the latter argument, but two stand out. First, there is every reason to expect that a small country like Lebanon would get the wrong end of the stick if it were ever to negotiate a bilateral peace with Israel; that is how things work in conflict resolution, especially when the Israelis are involved. Second, Israel has had plenty of time to carry out a withdrawal from Shebaa or seek negotiations, and it has done neither. In fact, it was just a few years ago that US President George W. Bush promised to raise the issue with the Israelis and the response that came back was, basically, “what’s in it for us?”

Actually, they might have avoided a war with Lebanon in which Hizbullah exposed their much-ballyhooed military as having little stomach for a fight with people who are neither women nor children. A similar option is still available for Israel, one that both would help it save face and grease the wheels of its own indirect negotiations with Syria. As a first step, progress on Shebaa would almost have to include Damascus’ officially communicating to the United Nations what it has already effectively conceded, namely that the farms are Lebanese and not Syrian. The formula most commonly bandied about would then see Shebaa fall under UN supervision until the Golan was evacuated. Instead of several interlocking issues preventing movement on any of them, then, a phased and internationalized transfer of Shebaa might allow leverage to start working the other way.

What’s in it for Lebanon? Sarkozy’s having picked up this particular ball means this country has an opportunity to simultaneously regain occupied land and defuse internal tensions. These advantages mean a great deal to average Lebanese who live in fear of how the next crisis – foreign or domestic – will affect their livelihoods, endanger their children and interrupt their education. Any Lebanese government, of any composition, that fails to see – and avidly pursue – the value in this will hear about it.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

June 9th, 2008, 11:11 pm

 

9. David said:

Jim Lobe’s column, reprinted in Asia Times today

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/JF10Ak02.html

makes the case that Cheney and super-hawks still in the administration are intent on an air war against Iran, and have support from officials in Olmert’s cabinet and possibly Olmert himself for such military strike. Observer’s point “If you want to hit Iran, you have to be sure that Syria is out of the equation…” has been my thought for the rationale behind Israeli-Syrian peace negotiation from the moment it was leaked. Rather a cynical idea – make peace so you can make war – but certainly one that resonates true with what we know about the cynics of diplomacy in the Israeli and US leadership.

If Cheney truly has Gen’l Petraeus’ ear, now that Gen’l P is CentCom Commander, as Lobe suggests, the right players are in place to attack Iran. If this is indeed “the plan”, only a threat by China to cash their US Bonds and Treasuries if the US attacks, might jerk the US chain enough to stop it. That is precisely what Eisenhower did in 1956 to stop GB, France, and Israel when they were about to take the Suez Canal.

Syria’s chance to come in from the cold, is itself a bad prospect for Iran whle the neo-cons are still in-charge in Washington. There is an opportunity for a comprehensive peace deal on the table for the entire ME as we speak, but it has to remain on the table until there is a new US president to have a chance to become reality.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

June 9th, 2008, 11:38 pm

 

10. Akbar Palace said:

I think Landis is jumping to conclusions based on very little data.

AIG –

This is what pro-Syrian professors and propagandists rely on. Certainly not fact.

Here’s the rest of the story:

“Everything depends on how things develop, whether at the level of a Syrian embassy being opened in Beirut or respect for civil peace in Lebanon,” the source said.

France is the former colonial power in Lebanon and neighbouring Syria, which for almost three decades was the powerbroker in Beirut.

In an interview published on Friday by Beirut dailies, Sarkozy said France “would resume contacts with Syria only when positive, concrete developments occurred in Lebanon with a view to getting out of the crisis.

“One has to concede that the Doha accord, the election of President (Michel) Sleiman and the return of Fuad Siniora as prime minister are such developments,” said the French president.

“I have drawn the conclusions and I have called (Syrian President Bashar al-) Assad to tell him of my desire to see the implementation of the accord continue,” he said.

After sectarian violence left 65 people dead [who cares, Arabs killing Arabs is fine] last month, rival factions clinched a deal in Qatar on May 21 that led to the election of then army chief and consensus candidate Sleiman after a six-month vacuum in the presidency.

http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5iapCVBqelZxP7zTgFy2nIViu9wIQ

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

June 9th, 2008, 11:40 pm

 

11. ausamaa said:

AIG,

And please take Akbar Palace to see the same shrink when you go there. Try a two-for-the-price-of-one thing and we can all be winners.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

June 10th, 2008, 12:00 am

 

12. norman said:

Report: Israel, Syria talks set to resume

Jerusalem sources report that Israeli, Syrian negotiating teams may meet as early as next week to resume peace talks on direct channels. PM’s Office says no timeline has been set

Reuters Latest Update: 06.09.08, 16:14 / Israel News

Indirect peace talks between Israel and Syria are scheduled to resume this week in Turkey, an Israeli official said on Monday.

The official further said Israel favored moving to direct talks but it was unclear when that would happen. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert faces a growing corruption investigation that could force him from office.

Instability

German report: Assad’s brother-in-law attempted coup / Ynet

Die Welt reports Syrian military intelligence chief Shawkat attempted to seize power by force in February, but was arrested after Hizbullah leader Imad Mugniyah informed Assad of plot
Full story

“We expect the Israeli team to be in Turkey shortly,” said Mark Regev, a spokesman for Olmert. Regev declined to give a specific date, but senior Israeli officials said the talks were scheduled to resume this week.

Regev declined to comment on any timeline for starting direct talks between the Israeli and Syrian delegations, but he said: “When talks move to direct talks that would be a sign of significant progress.”

Syrian and Turkish officials had no immediate comment.

Israel and Syria said last month they had launched indirect peace talks mediated by Turkish officials, the first negotiations between the two sides in eight years.

The indirect talks between Jerusalem and Damascus, it was later revealed, began as early as February 2007, while Olmert was visiting Ankara.

During the initial talks, the Syrian reportedly demanded the US sponsor the talks; that they be conducted via public avenues and that Israel agree to cede the Golan Heights as a prerequisite to conducting the talks as all.

Syria wants the full return of the Golan Heights, which Israel seized from Syria in the 1967 war. Israel says any peace deal depends on Syria distancing itself from Iran and severing ties with Lebanon’s Hizbullah and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which seized control of the Gaza Strip last June.

Advertisement

The indirect talks sponsored by Turkey, was the compromised said reached between the sides. The American were to be kept abreast of the talks at all times, and no prerequisites were made on either party’s part.

Roni Sofer contributed to this report

First Published: 06.09.08, 15:48

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

June 10th, 2008, 2:10 am

 

13. norman said:

العراقيون في صدارة المستثمرين العرب في سورية يليهم اللبنانيون الاخبار الاقتصادية

بين تقرير لهيئة الاستثمار السورية أن المستثمرين العراقيين احتلوا الصدارة بين الدول العربية المستثمرة في سورية عام 2007 يليهم اللبنانيون.

وأشار تقرير الاستثمار الثاني إلى أن عدد الدول المشاركة باستثمارات في سورية بلغ 35 دولة تتصدرها تركيا بـ 30 مشروعاً بين الدور العربية والأجنبية, فيما أتى المستثمرون العراقيون على رأس المستثمرين العرب بـ28 مشروعا واللبنانيون ثانيا بـ26 مشروعا يليهم السعوديون بـ 22 مشروعا فالكويتيون بـ 21 والأردنيون بـ 16 مشروعا.

وبين التقرير حصة سورية من الاستثمارات الأجنبية خلال الأعوام الثلاثة الأخيرة والتي قدرت فيها الاستثمارات الإيرانية بحدود 60 مليون دولار فيما تجاوزت الاستثمارات التركية 50 مليون دولار في القطاعات المختلفة.
وتأمل الحكومة السورية بجذب نحو 340 مليار ليرة من الاستثمارات الخارجية لتمويل الإصلاحات الاقتصادية التي تتضمنها الخطة الخمسية العاشرة.

وتقول المصادر الرسمية السورية إن الاستثمارات الوافدة إلى سورية عام 2007 تجاوزت 400 مليار ليرة سورية, فيما يشير اقتصاديون إلى أهمية التمييز بين تشميل المشاريع بقوانين الاستثمار وتنفيذ المشاريع.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

June 10th, 2008, 2:47 am

 

14. ausamaa said:

UNPOLITICAL NEWS: Syria Drama Serials from Al Saffir paper

http://www.assafir.com/Article.aspx?EditionId=960&articleId=914&ChannelId=21805&Author=ماهر%20منصور

سياسة إنتاجية تسابقية أم مجرد مصادفة
هل تتصارع «دبي» و «إم بي سي» على كعكة الدراما السورية؟

وفاء عامر وتيم حسن في «الملك فاروق»

ماهر منصور

دمشق :
لا يمكن الجزم بنشوب صراع بين قناتي «دبي» و«إم بي سي» على نيل الحصة الأبرز من كعكة الدراما السورية لهذا العام. إلا أن ظاهر الأمور يشي بأن نوعية الأعمال الدرامية السورية التي تتبناها القناتان، وسياستهما الإنتاجية تجاه هذه الأعمال، تسير وفق مسارات تسابقية حسب مبدأ «الند للند» في محاولة من كليهما لشد جمهور الدراما السورية نحوها.
الحديث عن الصورة النهائية لحصيلة كل من «دبي» و«إم بي سي» من المسلسلات السورية يبدو مبكراً. فحتى الساعة لم يبدأ سوق بيع الأعمال الدرامية للعرض الرمضاني، إلا إننا نستطيع ربما أن نتلمس ملامح هذه الصورة، اعتماداً على ما قامت كل من القناتين بتبني إنتاجه من أعمال درامية سورية حتى الآن.
البداية كانت مع إعلان قناة دبي إنتاجها عملا بدويا ضخما هو «صراع على الرمال» من بطولة تيم حسن الذي سطع نجمه على «إم بي سي» اثناء عرض مسلسل «الملك فاروق» السنة الفائتة. «صراع على الرمال» بإدارة المخرج حاتم علي الذي حشد في المسلسل أشهر نجوم الدراما السورية، بعد أن ضمن ميزانية ضخمة للعمل، سيعرض حصريا على «دبي». في هذا الوقت كانت «إم بي سي» تقود أكبر حملة ترويج لإنتاجها الجديد مسلسل «باب الحارة 3» للمخرج بسام الملا، متكئة على نجاح الجزءين الأولين، ليكون الجزء الثالث حجر رهان المنافسة في رمضان .2008 إلا أن «إم بي سي» سرعان ما تبنت إنتاجياً المسلسل البدوي «فنجان الدم» للمخرج الليث حجو وبطولة الفنان جمال سليمان، ليكون حجر رهانها البدوي، على ما يبدو، في مواجهة «صراع على الرمال».
عاد تلفزيون «دبي» ليخلق توازنا بنوعية الأعمال المنتجة مع «إم بي سي». حين أعلن في مؤتمر صحافي بدمشق تبنيه إنتاجياً لمسلسل «الحوت» للمخرج رضوان شاهين، وهو دراما اجتماعية تنتمي إلى دراما البيئة التي ينتمي إليها مسلسل «باب الحارة» مع فارق بسيط أن الأول يرصد عشرينيات الساحل السوري، بينما يرصد الثاني، كما بات معروفاً، اليوميات الدمشقية.
كما يذكر من دون شك ان قناتي «دبي» و« إم بي سي» كسرتا هذه السنة ما بات يعرف بحاجز العرض الرمضاني، اي عرض المسلسلات الجديدة للمرة الأولى في خلال شهر رمضان، فبدأتا بعرض مسلسلاتهما الجديدة قبل الموسم وخارجه.
قصب السبق كان لـ«إم بي سي» في عرض الجزء الأول من مسلسل «أهل الغرام»، ومسلسل «ندى الأيام»، فضلاً عما ينتظر عرضه من مسلسلات خارج رمضان وهي كثيرة منها: الجزء الثاني من «أهل الغرام» للمخرج الليث حجو، ومسلسل «جمال الروح» للمخرج مروان بركات، أما قناة «دبي» فبدأت منذ أيام بعرض مسلسل «يوم ممطر آخر» وهو من أهم إنتاجات هذا العام، وقبلها كانت قد بدأت بعرض مسلسل «بنت النور» للمخرج سامر برقاوي.
ولا يشارك القناتين كسر حاجز العرض الدرامي الرمضاني من الفضائيات العربية إلا قناة «أبو ظبي» التي عرضت المسلسلين السوريين «ضيعة ضايعة»، و«إسأل روحك».
وهنا من الجدير الإشارة الى أن كسر هذا الحاجز من قبل القنوات الثلاث لم يتم إلا بأعمال درامية سورية، وفي هذا سبب إضافي لتسابقها في عرض هذه الأعمال.
المطلع على عمل قناتي «دبي» و«إم بي سي» يدرك أن كلتيهما، خلال السنوات السابقة، اعتمدتا على أسلوب العرض الحصري لعدد من الأعمال الدرامية، معظمها من إنتاجهما الخاص. ولعله ما من مبالغة في القول إن تجارب القناتين كانت الأكثر نجاحاً مع تبني الأعمال السورية، ويعرف الجميع أن أعمالاً سورية مثل «باب الحارة» أو تلك التي تمت بتوقيع سوري مثل «الملك فاروق» ، قد استحوذت جميعها على جوائز الدراما العربية للعام الماضي. وقبلها حازت جماهيرية ونسب مشاهدة عالية، وفي كل ذلك أسباب محفزة للقناتين للتفكير بالدراما السورية كحصان رهان في سباقهما الرمضاني.
مما لا شك فيه أن فارق الزمن والخبرة كان في كل مرة يرجح كفة «إم بي سي». إلا أنه من الواضح أن «دبي» هذا العام، تتحرك وعينها على النجاح الذي حققته «إم بي سي» العام الماضي، واضعة في حساباتها ألا تكون القناة الثانية جماهيرياً، وهو الأمر الذي على ما يبدو لن تسمح «إم بي سي» بتحقيقه، ولا سيما أن في جعبتها لهذا العام… «أسمهان» وهو مسلسل السيرة الأهم، وفق القراءات الأولى.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

June 10th, 2008, 8:24 am

 

15. norman said:

Italian cement maker Italcementi takes stake in Syrian cement plant

The Associated Press
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
MILAN, Italy: Italian cement producer Italcementi announced Tuesday that it is taking a stake in a new cement plant in Syria through its French unit Ciments Francais.

Ciments Francais will hold a 12.5 percent stake in the new plant managed by the Syrian company Al Badia Cement JSC, which is owned by the Muhaidib Group of Saudi Arabia. It will have an annual capacity of 3.2 million tons and begin operating by 2010.

Bergamo-based Italcementi, the world’s No. 5 cement maker, already has partnerships with Muhaidib in the Gulf Region.

Italcementi was trading down 0.82 percent at €12.10 on the Milan Stock Exchange.

——————————————————————————–
Notes:

——————————————————————————–
Copyright © 2008 The International Herald Tribune | http://www.iht.com

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

June 10th, 2008, 12:40 pm

 

16. Qifa Nabki said:

It looks like SOFA is in the tank. But the Americans are looking for alternatives…

It should be recognized that a “status of forces agreement” should not be a problem, per se. Actually, it is preferable to no agreement whatsoever. The U.S. has status of forces agreements with 80 countries. The issue is the details.

The U.S. is trying for its typical boiler plate: permanent military bases, immunity from prosecution for all U.S. military personnel, etc.

Note that such an agreement (with NATO) was what facilitated the acquital of the Marine pilot who clipped the cable car in Aviano back in 98.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

June 10th, 2008, 2:03 pm

 

17. EHSANI2 said:

It is worth noting that since the peace talks between Syria and Israel became public, no sellers of land in Syria can be found.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

June 10th, 2008, 3:28 pm

 

18. norman said:

QN,

what will happen if they do not reach an agreement?,

Lebanese minister says Doha deal in difficulties

CAIRO, June 10 (Xinhua) — Lebanese Minister of Youth and Sports Ahmed Fatfat on Tuesday said the Doha deal, which ended Lebanese presidential crisis, is facing great challenges due to differences in forming the Lebanese government, the Egyptian MENA news agency reported.

The Lebanese minister is in Cairo to attend a meeting on Arab youth and sports affairs.

Fatfat said the opposition has no intention to stick to the Doha deal if the government is not formed within few days.

Meanwhile, he called on all Lebanese factions to implement the Doha deal reached in Doha on May 21, and urged for efforts from Arab countries for the implementation of the agreement.

Fatfat also blamed the opposition for having lifted the ceiling of its demands to ask for a sovereign ministry, the report said.

As for Syrian-Lebanese relations, he said Syria has expressed readiness to establish diplomatic ties with Lebanon, calling on the latter to accept that Lebanon is a sovereign state and approve the international court to investigate into the assassination of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri.

The Doha deal resulted in the election of consensus president Michel Suleiman. The second phase of the deal is the formation of a national unity government.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

June 10th, 2008, 3:31 pm

 

19. Observer said:

Ehsani are there buyers? I heard the same thing is happening since the election of Suleiman in Lebanon, there are no land or apartment sellers in Lebanon either.

Sofa in Iraq is different in that it would allow the US to go after anyone in or around Iraq it deems a threat to the US or the region. This means that the Quds force can be targeted with immunity from Iraqi law.

This is pure and simple colonialism and no PM in Iraq today can get away with it. This is why it is not debated in parliament, and this is where the bribes of up to $11 million per vote is being proposed and this is why neither the NYT nor the WP nor the WSJ are mentioning it in the news.

It seems that the axis of “moderates” has recovered a bit after the debacle in Lebanon and are now playing stalling tacttics in both Lebanon and the Gaza/West Bank. The effort to break the alliances between Syria/HA/Hamas/Iran are still being pursued but no longer with blunt force.

CNN arabic yesterday had a piece about Fatah Al Islam exhorting the Sunnis to rally around it as the true counter balance to the anti Sunni forces, which tells me that the paid thugs that melted away in Beirut will be replaced by hard core but uncontrollable Salafi militants. This is another indication of the desperation of the KSA policies.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

June 10th, 2008, 4:13 pm

 

20. EHSANI2 said:

There are buyers of course. No one wants ot sell anymore. I know this from a personal experience. It became more acute past week or so.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

June 10th, 2008, 4:21 pm

 

21. Qifa Nabki said:

Family contacts in Beirut say that real estate is off the charts. Prices going up and up. Apartments are going for 2-3 times their blueprint costs.

Ammo Norman,

I think Fatfat is not a reliable source. He has basically been ruled out as a possibility for a ministerial seat, by the opposition, so there’s a good chance that he won’t even be in the next cabinet.

Other sources say that they are nearing a deal. The sticking point is Aoun’s demand for the finance ministry. He knows Saniora won’t let it go to anyone but Jihad Azour, so he is asking for it, so that he gets something out of the deal instead…. maybe 5 service ministries, which positions the FPM to potentially make some gains in the 2009 elections, if they can throw some high-profile bones to the electorate.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

June 10th, 2008, 4:51 pm

 

22. Qifa Nabki said:

Olmert calls for Israel-Lebanon talks

JERUSALEM (AFP) — Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Tuesday suggested holding peace talks with Lebanon, following last month’s announcement of Israel’s indirect Turkish-mediated negotiations with Syria.

“I would have been glad if after the announcement of the talks with Syria the Lebanese government would announce its willingness to open direct bilateral talks with Israel,” a senior official quoted Olmert as saying in a cabinet meeting.

“I see many advantages in this,” he said.

Israel and Syria last month announced they were holding indirect negotiations brokered by Turkey, eight years after their last attempt at peacemaking broke down.

Israel went to war in Lebanon in July 2006 after the Lebanese Hezbollah militia captured two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border attack. The war lasted 34 days.

In 1982 Israel launched a full-scale invasion of Lebanon, where its forces remained until 2000.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

June 10th, 2008, 4:53 pm

 

23. why-discuss said:

SOFA is surely to make sure Iraq does not turn against Israel, that would be a total disaster for the US policy in the region.
The subject of Israel is tabou in Iraq. Yet, if Iranian influences prevail, it could be the worse threat to Israel if it has to face Iran-Iraq military joined forces.
The US will try all they can to ensure this will not happen. Iran will try all it can for the opposite and I don’t think they will budge, they own too many cards in Iraq, while the US, without the military presence has not much popular support. The withdrawal of the US troups without a solid and accepted (democratically) agreement on US bases, may mean the end of US influence in Iraq. Next US president’s dilemma.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

June 10th, 2008, 5:35 pm

 

24. Seeking the Truth said:

When discussing the possibility of an attack on Iran, I think it has to be seen in light of the associated risk of a major setback, even irreversible, in the effort to secure Iraq.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

June 10th, 2008, 5:56 pm

 

25. norman said:

Print | Close this window

Syria plays down chances of direct talks with Israel
Tue Jun 10, 2008 1:38pm EDT
By Khaled Yacoub Oweis

DAMASCUS (Reuters) – A senior Syrian official said on Tuesday no direct negotiations will be held with Israel until it recognizes what Damascus regards as requirements for a deal.

Indirect peace talks between Syria and Israel are expected to resume soon in Turkey, which has been mediating between the two sides since last year.

The Damascus government and Israel have kept secret the details of the talks. Syria seeks full return of the occupied Golan Heights and Israel has linked a peace agreement to Syria distancing itself from Iran and severing ties with Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the Palestinian group Hamas.

Israel occupied the Golan Heights, a water-rich plateau, in the Middle East war four decades ago. It annexed the territory in the 1980s in a move declared null and void by the United Nations Security Council.

“I think it is too early to resume direct talks. There are conditions,” Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal al-Mekdad told reporters.

“I hope Israel responds to the requirements of peace, which are the end of the occupation of Palestine and the establishment of a Palestinian state, restoration of the Syrian Golan and pull out of remaining occupied Lebanese territory,” he added.

Israel and Syria said last month they had launched indirect peace talks in Turkey. Previous talks under U.S. auspices collapsed in 2000 over the scope of a proposed Israeli withdrawal from the Golan, which Syria considered as not covering the whole territory.

Mekdad declined to confirm whether the talks will resume next week. He said the talks in Turkey “were in their infancy” and Syria hoped that Israel was serious about reaching an agreement that would help stabilize the Middle East.

Syrian officials are wary that Israel’s interest in deal may be short-lived, with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert facing a corruption investigation that could force him out of office.

“Our goal is an Israeli withdrawal from all the lands of the Syrian Republic. This is the basis for launching direct talks,” said Mekdad, a main player in Syrian foreign policy.

Olmert said last month that Israel had made no commitment to Syria to pull out of the Golan Heights in the indirect talks that started in 2007. Israeli officials have said Israel favored moving to direct talks but it was unknown when that would happen.

“When talks move to direct talks that would be a sign of significant progress,” said Olmert’s spokesman Mark Regev.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad recently dismissed Israeli demands that Syria abandon its alliance with Iran as a requirement for a peace deal. Assad said Syria intended to maintain “normal relations” with Iran while it conducts the indirect talks.

(Editing by Dominic Evans)

© Thomson Reuters 2008. All rights reserved. Users may download and print extracts of content from this website for their own personal and non-commercial use only. Republication or redistribution of Thomson Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters and its logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of the Thomson Reuters group of companies around the world. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.

Reuters journalists are subject to the Reuters Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

June 10th, 2008, 6:00 pm

 

26. Shai said:

Norman,

People here in Israel are not quite sure how to “swallow” all the latest news coming out of Olmert, regarding his renewed efforts towards peace. Most still suspect the timing had everything to do with the Talansky investigation. Many are skeptical, recognizing that Olmert’s days as PM are numbered. Inner battles have begun in Kadima, as well as in Labour, over who and what should dictate the near future.

If most we’ll hear in the coming weeks out of the talks in Turkey will be guarded, reserved comments, with little excitement or optimism, public opinion in Israel will not change for the better. And if we go on a Gaza-adventure anytime soon, then of course that will place a very dark cloud over everything. I’m really hoping someone, either on Syria’s side, or ours, will come up with a good CBM. We will need it sooner or later.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

June 10th, 2008, 6:45 pm

 

27. offended said:

I think that sending Riyad Na’san Agha (Syrian Minister of culture) in particular to France was quite appropriate…

I wonder what kind of grimace Chiraque has on his face right now as he sees Syria and France make amends and reconcile. But I am not worried about him, Khaddam is always there to console him. (they live close by anyway, dont they?)

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

June 10th, 2008, 7:29 pm

 

28. Seeking the Truth said:

Peace between Israel and Syria or the Palestinians, I can only say, I’ll believe it when I see it.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

June 10th, 2008, 7:30 pm

 

29. offended said:

btw guys, sorry for not being communicative recently. laptop is in intensive care.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

June 10th, 2008, 7:32 pm

 

30. Nur al-Cubicle said:

It’s so easy just to “Call for Talks” …another last refuge for scoundrels.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

June 10th, 2008, 9:45 pm

 

31. Alex said:

Madonna’s next project: documentary about the Israeli-Arab conflict

By Nathan Burstein, The Forward

She’s busy promoting her first documentary and her seventh No. 1 album, but the world’s most famous kabbalah devotee already has her sights set on a new project: a documentary about the Arab-Israeli impasse.

Pop diva Madonna has said that her film would focus on children and would provide a second chance for her to collaborate with director Nathan Rissman, who once served as the singer’s gardener and as her children’s nanny.

At the Cannes Film Festival, the pair spoke about and promoted “I Am Because We Are,” a documentary that Madonna wrote and Rissman directed. The film is about the more than 1 million children orphaned in Malawi because of AIDS. The singer adopted an infant from the country in 2006.

That’s all well and good, but Israelis who are certainly accustomed to hearing foreign celebrities’ vague proposals for projects involving their country have other pressing concerns, such as whether the singer will stop in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem on her upcoming concert tour.

The 49-year-old visited Israel last year as part of a High Holy Days pilgrimage with The Kabbalah Center.

The singer, who also visited Israel in 2004, last performed a concert in the country in 1993.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

June 10th, 2008, 11:03 pm

 

32. Alex said:

Syria: First the Golan Heights, then direct talks
By Reuters
Tags: Syria, Israel

A senior Syrian official said on Tuesday that no direct peace negotiations would be held with Israel until it recognizes what Damascus regards as requirements for a deal, the full return of the Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War.

Indirect talks between Syria and Israel are expected to resume soon in Turkey, which has been mediating between the two sides since last year.

The Damascus government and Israel have kept secret the details of the talks. Israel has linked a peace agreement to Syria distancing itself from Iran and severing ties with Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the Palestinian group Hamas.

“I think it is too early to resume direct talks. There are conditions,” Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal al-Mekdad told reporters.

“I hope Israel responds to the requirements of peace, which are the end of the occupation of Palestine and the establishment of a Palestinian state, restoration of the Syrian Golan and pull out of remaining occupied Lebanese territory,” he added.

Israel and Syria said last month they had launched indirect peace talks in Turkey. Previous talks under U.S. auspices collapsed in 2000 over the scope of a proposed Israeli withdrawal from the Golan, which Syria considered as not covering the whole territory.

Mekdad declined to confirm whether the talks would resume next week. He said the talks in Turkey “were in their infancy” and Syria hoped that Israel was serious about reaching an agreement that would help stabilize the Middle East.

Syrian officials are wary that Israel’s interest in a deal may be short-lived, with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert facing a corruption investigation that could force him out of office.

“Our goal is an Israeli withdrawal from all the lands of the Syrian Republic. This is the basis for launching direct talks,” said Mekdad, a main player in Syrian foreign policy.

Olmert said last month that Israel had made no commitment to Syria to pull out of the Golan Heights in the indirect talks that started in 2007. Israeli officials have said Israel favoured moving to direct talks but it was unknown when that would happen.

“When talks move to direct talks that would be a sign of significant progress,” said Olmert’s spokesman Mark Regev.

Syrian President Bashar Assad recently dismissed Israeli demands that Syria abandon its alliance with Iran as a requirement for a peace deal. Assad said Syria intended to maintain “normal relations” with Iran while it conducts the indirect talks.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

June 10th, 2008, 11:25 pm

 

33. norman said:

Shai,

Don’t you think that Israel keep changing tracks and getting their PM in trouble to call for new election and delay the peace process indefinitely?.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

June 10th, 2008, 11:55 pm

 

34. Qifa Nabki said:

Smart move by the Syrians to delay direct talks. Olmert can’t deliver, so Bashar should tread water until Bibi or Livni or whoever takes over.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

June 11th, 2008, 12:32 am

 

Post a comment