The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Israeli-Syrian Agreement?

Stratfor (paid subscription required) reports that the on-going talks between Israel and Syria may be about to lead to an agreement:
Stratfor has received an unconfirmed report that the U.S. administration is currently reviewing a peace agreement drafted by Syria and Israel. Some of the terms of the alleged deal involve Syria regaining its military, political and economic influence in Lebanon in exchange for suppressing its militant proxies — Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Syria and Israel also reportedly came up with a system to create a demilitarized zone along the Israeli-Syrian border in which Syria would pull back four miles for every one mile that Israel pulls back its forces. The Golan Heights would be returned to Syria, though Israel would likely retain full rights to the key water source in the territory.

If this information is true, it would indicate the ongoing peace negotiations between Israel have reached a critical phase. Our first clue that these were not simply talks for the sake of talks came when the negotiations broke into the public sphere a little more than a week ago. The lack of denials followed by a public acknowledgment by both the Israeli and Syrian leaderships demonstrated that something serious was going on. The deal could just as well evaporate given the complexities surrounding the issue, but if the two sides have actually crafted together a peace agreement that is now being debated among U.S. officials in Washington, then the political map of the Middle East could undergo some major changes in the near future.

Both sides have something to gain from this agreement. For Syria, it’s access to Lebanon and some measure of security for the country's thuggish regime. The MSM would have you believe that all Lebanese are against this. In fact, Christian Lebanese view Syria as a moderating influence in a country ravaged by internal warfare. It’s only Hezballah and related Islamist groups that are threatened (their power base would be weakened), and that’s nothing to shed tears over. For Israel, an agreement would least to some measure of security and would also provide a flanking move against Hezballah.

I wouldn’t be surprised in Hezballah (with encouragement from Iran) tries to precipitate an incident to submarine the deal. We’ll see.