Landis at CFR in NYC

I will be in NYC from Wednesday to Saturday for a conference at the Council on Foreign Relations, discussing Lebanon and Syria.

I have been asked to answer three questions:

1. Can renewed Civil War in Lebanon be averted?

2. Is an independent Lebanon possible?

3. Can Syria be "flipped."

Let me know what you think before Friday?

Comments (161)


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151. Alex said:

Israeliguy,

I really don’t know what to say … I answered you twice already, but you do not want to read what I am saying: Halevy used the word flip, and I have no problem with that word coming from him because the rest of what he said in the interview reflects his mentality … which is: we should not fight Iran, we should find out how we can gain Iran back as a friend of Israel through helping them.

I have a problem with your version of “Flip” … which is: let’s get Syria on our side so that we can finish Hamas and Iran and Hizbollah.

Halevy’s flipping of Syria meant “limit Hamas’ activities in Damascus” .. not destroy Hamas.

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November 11th, 2007, 11:16 pm

 

152. IsraeliGuy said:

Alex, let’s forget Iran for a second and concentrate on what Halevy says about a peace deal between Israel and Syria.

Here’s that specific quote again:

“The Syrian track might be a breakthrough, he argues, because an accommodation with Damascus might bring along the rest of the Arab world, lead to a settlement in Lebanon and undermine Syria’s current alliance with Iran.”

Here are 3 question which relate directly to the above Halevy’s quote:

1. Assuming we’ll have peace with Syria, will the Arab world follow, as Halevy says? And I mean WITHOUT resolving the Palestinian issue that Halevy doesn’t even mention with one word in his suggested formula.

2. Assuming we’ll have peace with Syria, will it automatically lead to a settlement in Lebanon, as Halevy says?

3. Assuming we’ll have peace with Syria, will it undermine Syria’s current alliance with Iran, as Halevy says?

I’ll be glad to get direct answers to each question that leans on Halevy’s analysis.

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November 11th, 2007, 11:49 pm

 

153. Shual said:

Observer,

Merkel did not point out anything. Fearing critical words at home, she acted indifferent on everything. On Iran she said ambigous “die nächsten Schritte im Visier haben” [next steps are in sigth -or visor?-, german is a fascinating language] and she avoided to mention strategic concepts. The reason? She has no concepts. She is respected because of her personal history in Washington and thats all. Everybody is pleased with her in Washington cause she is a special appeaser of a necessary discussion: The future role of Germany in the world. She wants to sit out the Bush-era and hopes that she will not get into any trouble. She gave Bush a “proposals” and he said he received “nice ideas”. He needs her vote and thats all she is receiving: The honour to vote for Bush.

Two days before the visit she talked in front of the jewish community of germany, receiving a high price. [“Heute und in Zukunft für die Sicherheit des Staates Israel und für unsere gemeinsamen Werte von Demokratie und Rechtsstaatlichkeit einzutreten.” … “Zum Beispiel indem wir in der Auseinandersetzung um das Nuklearprogramm des Iran nicht auf das Prinzip Hoffnung setzen, sondern auf Entschlossenheit und Geschlossenheit.”] Everybody can read anything he/she wants out of her words. She is famous to be resistant in case of decisions. Clear words about military force beyond a red line, or the other side, the rejection can not be found. “Germany has a special responsibility”-blabla. Germany today is not a poodle that does what Washington wants. Worser. Its like the german soldiers that cross the lebanese coast and want to find some weapon smuggling Hezbollahs and wonder why they never ever catched one: Totally misplaced x00€s. Even the Israels have lost the deligth to fly over the german ships and “attack” them. They had mercy with those misled germans far from home.

The german “NearEastpolicy” once filled hundreds of books with intresting [or shameless] theories. The Merkel-era will only need one clause: The ligths are on, but nobody is home.

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November 12th, 2007, 12:16 am

 

154. Shual said:

This is a very nice update, cause Abdullah visited Merkel last week and informed her about …. “Saudi Arabia has proposed that countries in the Middle East establish a consortium for enriching uranium as a possible way to defuse the nuclear crisis with Iran. The proposal calls for peaceful nuclear projects by a consortium of Middle Eastern countries including Iran but excluding nuclear enrichment. The actual processing of the material, according to the Saudi proposal, would take place in a neutral country such as Switzerland. The enrichment process would be carried out at an installation to be built by the consortium, and its activities would be monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency.” [Haaretz]

“Nice ideas, Angela”, said Bush.

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November 12th, 2007, 12:26 am

 

155. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,
You are as usual being too optimistic in your reading of what Halevy says. There are two main attitudes towards Syria in Israel and people fall into one of these categories:
1) The realist that believe that Syria can become like Egypt (pro-western etc.) and therefore the dictator should be dealt with (this is Halevy’s position). They recognize that this will not buy long term peace but accept a short term one based on the relative success of the peace with Egypt.
2) People like Netanyahu that believe that only when there is democracy in the Arab world there will be peace and that short term solutions are useless since they postpone the democratic process and degrade it. People in the middle east rightly ask: If you are for democracy, why are you dealing with tyrants? Yes, this strategy may be more costly for Israel short term, but it will pay huge long term dividends.

There are also fringe opinion but the aboved are shared by 90% of the Jews. So when you interpret any interview, you should keep the above in mind.

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November 12th, 2007, 1:19 am

 

156. Akbar Palace said:

Norman said,

Israel does not want peace , i just wonder how long the Arabs are going to ignore that fact and prepare for a long term war…

Norman,

If Israel didn’t want peace, she wouldn’t have returned the Sinai to Eygpt, return land to Jordan, and negotiate with the Palestinians.

That the real “fact” in case you’re wondering;)

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November 12th, 2007, 1:57 am

 

157. majedkhaldoun said:

tommorrow, the dow jones will start the day with major drop,( hold on to your hat Ehsani), this will scare Bush a lot, he will start talking about taking diplomatic solution with Iran.

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November 12th, 2007, 2:50 am

 

158. norman said:

Israel made peace with Egypt to get it out of the Palestinian camp , it did the same with Jordon , about talking to the Palestinians it did that only to buy time and increase the settlements in the occupied west Bank and Gaza .

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November 12th, 2007, 2:52 am

 

159. why-discuss said:

AKABAR

Stop hammering that arabs are antisemite

I think you need psychological assistance!You keep making anyone who is anti-israel an anti-jew. You are really brainwashed to feel threatened as a jew when someone express dislike of Israel. Aroun 70 % of the jews live outside Israel, and a lots of people dislike Israel’s zionist regime and have no problem with jews. Wake up and see the reality, or consult a psychotherapist!!

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November 12th, 2007, 2:54 am

 

160. Alex said:

Israeliguy,

Here’s that specific quote again:

“The Syrian track might be a breakthrough, he argues, because an accommodation with Damascus might bring along the rest of the Arab world, lead to a settlement in Lebanon and undermine Syria’s current alliance with Iran.”

Here are 3 question which relate directly to the above Halevy’s quote:

1. Assuming we’ll have peace with Syria, will the Arab world follow, as Halevy says? And I mean WITHOUT resolving the Palestinian issue that Halevy doesn’t even mention with one word in his suggested formula.

2. Assuming we’ll have peace with Syria, will it automatically lead to a settlement in Lebanon, as Halevy says?

3. Assuming we’ll have peace with Syria, will it undermine Syria’s current alliance with Iran, as Halevy says?

I’ll be glad to get direct answers to each question that leans on Halevy’s analysis.

Answers:

My rough answer is that peace with Syria will facilitate finding solutions for the remaining conflicts…. the Israel/Syria disagreements are behind many of the problems we have today … if not directly, then indirectly.

more specifically

1) The Arab world will follow if you show a more serious will to settle the more complicated and time consuming Palestinian track … The question of right of return can wait … otherwise there will be no solution. But you will need to materialize your leaders’ frequent hints that they are ready for Land for Peace with the Palestinians.

2) In addition to discussing the Golan, they will discuss Lebanon as well (they already did in the past). Lebanon will not be too difficult when Syria,Israel, the United States, France and Saudi Arabia all agree.

3) What do you think Syria will do with its current alliance with Iran after it gets its Golan back? .. try to liberate Palestine??

Syrian relations will remain friendly with Iran … just like Syria’s relations with Turkey. This is good for everyone. The only thing you should worry about is Iran’s influence on Syria and Lebanon (both of which are on your borders) … the short answer is: Syria understands what Israel needs. It will accommodate all your needs … not all your demands.

Iran’s role in Lebanon is not at the expense of the Syrian role. If you do not want Iran to sabotage the Lebanese Israeli part of the comprehensive solution, then try to give my suggestion another chance .. you should not make Syria an enemy of Iran.

Syria will not drop Iran, and they will not drop the Lebanese Shiites (including Hizbollah) .. Hizbollah will turn into a purely political party… maybe they will change their name at that point … who knows.

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November 12th, 2007, 6:33 am

 

161. IsraeliGuy said:

Alex, you just proved that Halevy’s formula is wrong.

It’s just what I was saying: Halevy is marketing a package that exists nowhere but in his own mind and that’s exactly what I was saying all along.

1. Halevy claims that after signing a deal with Syria, the Arab world follow.

WRONG!

You say that it also depends on the Palestinian track.
Without it, the Arab world will not follow (but that minor issue slipped away from Halevy’s formula).

2. Halevy claims that after signing a deal with Syria will it automatically lead to a settlement in Lebanon.

WRONG!

You say that “Lebanon will not be too difficult”, but you refrain from approving his claim.

3. Halevy claims that after signing a deal with Syria it will undermine Syria’s current alliance with Iran.

WRONG!

You say that even after a peace deal will be signed, Syria and Iran will keep enjoying friendly relationship – so it will not undermine the alliance.

Bottom line: you proved that Halevy’s formula is 100% wrong.
He’s spreading his fantasies, doesn’t back them with anything substantial and tries to inflate the value of a bad deal with substance that doesn’t really exist.

He’s a bad marketer of a bad deal.

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November 12th, 2007, 1:52 pm

 

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