Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Peace In Our Time?

Stratfor is reporting that peace negotiations between Syria and Israel have matured to the point where a draft treaty has been crafted:

Geopolitical Diary: Syrian-Israeli Peace Deal In Perspective
April 30, 2008
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...

A peace deal makes complete sense for both sides, it would benefit both Israel and Syria and it possibly explains the very, very odd behavior of both sides after the Israeli bombing of an apparent nuclear reactor under construction on Syrian soil.

I'm still skeptical that they can get it done - too many outside players would be happy to see such a deal scuttled, namely Hezbollah, Iran, the various Palestinian groups and the United States.

Plus, it is the perfect setup for an attack. Lull your opponent into complacency, then strike. Now, I strongly doubt Israel wants to decapitate the Assads, but perhaps using these talks is a way to calm down the Syrians in a run-up to an attack on Hezbollah.

We shall see.

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