Posted by Joshua on Wednesday, January 21st, 2009
Sami Moubayed parses Assad’s Der Spiegel interview:’Peace without Syria Is Unthinkable,‘ on 01/19/2009 in his Gulf News article: US and Syria should meet halfway. His main points are:
- The Bush team wrongly believed that the Syrians were more interested in returning to Lebanon, than in restoring the Golan. That was untrue and unfair to Syria.
- The only chances for resuming Syrian-Israeli talks would be for an international conference to be held to discuss the Middle East peace process, similar to the one that took place in Annapolis, only with a more serious US Administration.
- Since Syria and Qatar announced that the Abdullah Initiative, agreed upon at the Beirut Summit of 2002, was now dead, a new formula would have to be reached, by consensus in the Arab League that is acceptable to the Syrians.
- When confronted with the old saying, “no war without Egypt, no peace without Syria” the Syrian leader said that more than ever, that argument still stands.
- What is required today is a series of confidence building measures – and symbolic gestures between Damascus and Washington DC. One gesture would be sending a US ambassador to Damascus. Syria would reciprocate by opening the American school and the American culture centre. Progress would logically end there, however, … until the Golan Heights are returned to their rightful owners. In this respect, Syria has a major role to play in bringing about regional peace.
- Need for a de facto recognition of Hamas, similar to how Israel and the United States recognized Hezbollah through the April Understanding of 2006.
- Egypt, however, is currently trying to take credit for the ceasefire in Gaza, while noticeably; Hamas announced its acceptance of the ceasefire, neither from Gaza, nor from Cairo, but from Damascus.