Ha’aretz reports today on the latest leaks about the potential for Syrian-Israeli talks, and then hoses down the sparks of hopes with these paragraphs:
Following contacts between Israel and Syria, officials say significant U.S. involvement will probably be necessary for negotiations to move ahead, and that Syria is still demanding such involvement.
Both Israeli and foreign experts on Syria told Haaretz on Wednesday that a change in the American position was not on the horizon…
In short, Olmert may be ready to make the grand trade; Assad wants to dicker; and Washington refuses to remove its veto.
According to Alon Liel, the former director-general of the Foreign Ministry, who conducted back channel negotiations with Syria, Damascus understands that the price of a deal is dropping its alliance with Iran and Hizballah and realigning with the West. Cutting such a deal, it appears, will have to wait for a new US president – one who is willing to take an entirely new approach to the Mideast. Here’s a clue: It won’t help if his initials are JM.