Why Syria Will Keep Saying "No" to Washington

(Christian Science Monitor) Bilal Y. Saab - Washington's strategy of selective engagement with Syria has not produced any tangible results. Washington still lacks real leverage in its talks with Damascus, and Syria is not interested in what Washington is currently selling. The chief U.S. goal of selective engagement is to try to take away from Syria a number of cards it holds in the region, be it Hamas, Hizbullah, or its link to militants in Iraq. But Syria's aggregate power and influence in the Middle East is defined by these very cards. Syria will not let go of any of these, primarily because these are what keep its regime going. Syria will not lift a finger on any of the issues that touch U.S. interests unless Washington recognizes first Syria's hegemonic position in Lebanon and possibly its military return. The writer is a senior Middle East consultant with Oxford Analytica and Centra Technology Inc.

2010-05-12 08:40:37

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