U.S.-Syrian Talks Won't Affect Golan

[Jerusalem Post] Herb Keinon - Israel is not overly concerned U.S.-Syrian talks will result in its being asked to give up the Golan Heights in return for Syrian aid to the U.S. in Iraq, diplomatic sources in Jerusalem said Sunday. The Sunday Times in London quoted Ayman Abdel Nour, an official of the ruling Syrian Ba'ath party, as saying that President Assad's "top demand" would be the Golan issue, but diplomatic officials in Jerusalem said this was largely rhetoric. One Israeli official said that the top issue for Syria was not the Golan, but rather to get the international tribunal investigating the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri called off, and to allow Syrian influence and involvement in Lebanon. "Assad's regime is a small Alawite clique, with some Sunni allies," the official explained. "If some of the cornerstones of this very small and tight clique are taken out to be tried, judged and convicted, then the whole building may collapse and this is what Assad is worried about."

2006-11-20 01:00:00

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