U.S.-Syria Relations Mired in Mistrust

[BBC News] Natalia Antelava - In his Beirut office, pro-Syrian Lebanese politician Weam Wahab explained why it would be hard for the U.S. and Syria to find a common language. The main problem, he said, is that Damascus is never in a hurry, while Washington always is. This fundamental difference in approach is the reason why Wahab is skeptical about President Obama's new attempt to engage with the Middle East. The U.S. wants Damascus to stop its support for the two anti-Israeli militant groups - Hamas and Hizbullah, play a more constructive role in Lebanon, and distance itself from Iran. Martin Indyk, the former U.S. ambassador to Israel, believes that the plan is realistic. But Wahab laughs at this assumption. "Iran is the only country that stood with Syria through the hard times. It's an illusion to think that you can distance Syria from Iran," he says. Some say the U.S. could win over Syria with the prospect of Israel returning the Golan Heights. However, Karim Makdisi, professor of international relations at the American University of Beirut, says it is not in Syria's interest to give up Hizbullah or Iran for the sake of the Golan Heights.

2009-03-19 06:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive