Each has to achieve a three-way balance; aside from ensuring their personal survival and guaranteeing their country’s piece of the regional pie, they also have to contend with the interests of their respective patrons.
Each leader’s personal survival is at stake here.
Bashar’s succession of Hafez is not yet fully secure. In the immediate, he is helped by “delays” in the setup of the Hariri tribunal, but the pressure at home is not abating, considering the in-laws...
Olmert’s own future does not look too rosy either. As the corruption scandal grows, his many challengers are eager for a fight. They may find allies “inside” his fast-disintegrating Kadima party; with most MK’s are worried about their own future, some of his ministers are ready to ditch him; those “فخاض” killed before, you know.
...What a way to go
For all their bravado, both
Over the past 50 years, the Syrians have tried hard to punch above their weight, but the days of the Omeyyads are far behind us. As the bills have piled up,
In contrast, Israel has been able to punch far above its weight for the past 50 years, but it is fast reaching the limits of this success, and it cannot grow further without the the Palestinians. Rather than settling the deserted
For better or worse,
Right of Return.
They can redefine it. They can fudge it. But they cannot, ever, avoid it.
Finally, both Israelis and Syrians have to contend with their respective patrons; the Americans and the Iranians.
There has been much talk that, under the current administration, no peace deal is possible. In that view, the best the two sides can achieve is very careful foreplay until a more accommodating new guy is in place in the White House.
However, that talk misses the point; the disagreement between
So, if Syria cannot wean itself from Iranian petrodollars, Israel will find that the keys to its “carte du tendre" with Damascus’ now lays at the entrance of the Persian Gulf, in a couple of small rock outcrops fought over by Persians and Arabs…
One wonders why the Turks decided to drag themselves in the midst of this fun fest; the current AK leadership maybe among the most adept and thoughtful this country had for a long time…
Turkish involvement could well reflect the internal politics of a country split between the “secular” establishment and their supporters in the army, and the “islamists” parvenus and its support among
In either case, it’s a high stakes gamble for