A Surprise from Syria and Israel?

[Washington Post ] David Ignatius - What's going on between Syria and Israel? Are the indirect peace negotiations through Turkish mediators that were announced last month for real? Syrian President Bashar al-Assad favored an opening to Israel to counter attempts by the U.S., France and Saudi Arabia to isolate his country. Oddly enough, the attack on Syria's secret nuclear reactor, which was destroyed by the Israelis on Sept. 6, 2007, may have helped the peace talks. The Israelis felt that their decisive action helped restore the credibility of their deterrence policy. The Syrians appreciated that Israeli and American silence allowed them time to cover their tracks. Finally, the fact that Assad kept the nuclear effort a secret, and that he managed the post-attack pressures, showed Israelis that he was truly master of his own house, and thus a plausible negotiating partner.

2008-06-25 01:00:00

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