Sami Moubayed, one of the most important Syrian commentators, is proposing a last chance for the White House to come to the table of Syrian/Israeli peacemaking. Sami writes:
Everybody is worried about progress on the indirect Syrian-Israeli talks, currently underway in Turkey. According to Syria commentator, Joshua Landis, they have either reached a breakthrough, or a dead end.
Contrary to what some media sources are saying, however, the talks are going well. Already 85 per cent of critical issues had been solved since the 1990s. The talks are going too well in fact and there is worry on both sides that an agreement can be reached within what remains of 2008.
The radical contrast between Washington’s attitude, and that of Iran, is striking. The Americans still refuse to endorse these talks, writing them off as a hoax by the Syrians to end the US-imposed isolation that started in 2003.
Excellent progress has been made in the Middle East due to the clever replacement of the United States as a third party. First Turkey, which helped engineer the official channel of a rapprochement between Syria and Israel, and now France in terms of a rapprochement of Syria and Lebanon. They have both played pivotal roles in dramatically changing the possibilities on the ground. I heard through the grapevine that Syrian officials had said over a year ago, “If you see us moving toward Iran it means war, if we move toward Turkey it is peace.” This does not mean that Syria does not maintain a deep relationship with Iran, but all its major public moves of late are moving Syria toward Turkey and France.
Most significant is that for the first time in modern history there is a real chance that Syria and Lebanon will engage in an amicable separation…